By Ryan Maquiñana
Unbeaten lightweight contender Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta might not be facing Luis Arceo on April 14 after all, according to his manager/trainer Vincent Parra.
“Arceo’s tough as nails, and he’d be a good opponent, but from my understanding there’s a couple other names that are in the mix now. He’ll still be on the card, but Mercito might be fighting someone else at the end of the day,” he told BoxingScene.com Wednesday morning.
Gesta (24-0-1, 12 KOs), a 24-year-old Filipino southpaw based out of San Diego, Calif., was slated to see action in Las Vegas before the Brandon Rios-Yuriorkis Gamboa main event, which fell apart. Rios is now scheduled to fight Richard Abril.
Arceo, a 33-year-old from Aguascalientes, Mexico, who now resides a stone’s throw away from Gesta in San Ysidro, Calif., is coming off an eighth-round knockout of Misael Castillo last month. A year ago, he battled Ricardo Dominguez—who dropped a lopsided decision to Gesta back in November—to a split decision loss.
Gesta, who will be fighting under the Top Rank banner for the fourth time, has seen his name pop up in discussions to fight Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez on July 14 in Arlington, Texas, at the gargantuan Cowboys Stadium.
By that time, Marquez might be in possession of the WBO interim junior welterweight belt, which in all likelihood will become the full-fledged title if current holder Timothy Bradley continues to campaign at welterweight following his June 9 fight with Manny Pacquiao.
The Mexican legend meets Argentine Rene Cuenca for the vacant strap, also on April 14, but in Mexico City.
Whether or not Gesta is on a collision course to meet Marquez, it is becoming readily apparent that his next fight will serve as a de facto audition for the major networks on his viability in such a role. Parra outlined his fighter’s plans for the summer.
“We think we’re ready for a title shot now, and this fight is going to show that,” he said. “As far as July 14, it doesn’t matter if it’s a title shot at 135 pounds against a Miguel Vazquez or at 140 against Marquez. He’s hungry to show what he can do.”
Gesta is currently in camp, which is taking place in San Diego and has involved several local fighters, including featherweight Aaron Garcia (10-3-2, 2 KOs), junior welterweight Adrian Vargas, and Tijuana-based junior lightweight Emilio Bojorquez (19-1, 13 KOs). Highly regarded 140-pound prospect Antonio Orozco (13-0, 9 KOs) has pledged to coming in for sparring next week.
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly column for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (CSNBayArea.com). He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Panel. E-mail him at email@example.com , check out his blog at norcalboxing.net or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.