By Chris Robinson
A new week is nearly upon us and still no word on who Manny Pacquiao will be fighting if he chooses to step inside the squared circle this year.
Pacquiao was originally scheduled for a November 10th assignment at the MGM Grand but the date would eventually shift to December 8th after a suitable opponent wasn’t selected from the list of Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley, and Miguel Cotto.
With Cotto having announced that he will be returning to face WBA junior middleweight champion Austin Trout at Madison Square Garden on December 1st, that leaves Marquez and Bradley, Pacquiao’s last two opponents, left to choose from.
While a fight with Bradley appears to be of little interest to promoter Bob Arum because of its lack of appeal to the general public, Pacquiao is reportedly less than enthused about facing Marquez for a fourth time, as each of their first three affairs were life and death thrillers that could have gone either way.
And as Pacquiao mulls over his options, so too have several fighters seen their plans altered.
Budding lightweight contender Mercito Gesta from Mandaue City in the Philippines, a month removed from a rousing 9th round stoppage over Washington, D.C. fighter Ty Barnett, was originally looking at an undercard appearance on the proposed November 10th card with hopes of seeing IBF champion Miguel Vazquez in the opposite corner.
Catching up with Gesta’s trainer and co-manager Vince Parra on Sunday evening, I got a better of understanding of why those plans have changed.
“After the [Barnett] fight, Bob [Arum] has wanted to put us in with Vazquez,” Parra said. “It’s something we accepted and I think even Vazquez accepted. The only thing is, he has a mandatory, [Marvin] Quintero. He hasn’t defended his title in almost a year and he can’t get out of it.”
Parra added that Gary Shaw was looking to stage Vazquez-Quintero on September 29th but that the fight may now be pushed back to the end of October or sometime else.
Despite the disappointment of seeing a title shot slip away, Parra was initially optimistic about Gesta’s next ring outing, but now that enthusiasm has been dampened slightly as Gesta and his team wait for Pacquiao’s next move.
A Vazquez-Gesta match would have worked well on a Pacquiao-Marquez IV card, as Arum was interested in lining up a show featuring Filipino vs. Mexican fighters. But with rumors circulating that Pacquiao might prefer sitting out 2012 in order to secure a spring date with Floyd Mayweather Jr., nothing seems certain at this point.
“I don’t want to say we’re in limbo,” Parra added. “We’re just going with the flow.”
If anything, Parra did add that Gesta is still in great spirits, especially after seeing his mother and little brother arrive to his adopted hometown of San Diego as he continues to wait for word on his next move.
Expect more on Gesta in the coming days.
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com