By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Undefeated Filipino lightweight Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta made a sensational Top Rank debut by battering Mexican Jorge "El Tigre" Pimentel to win by a 3rd round TKO.
Gesta's fight was on a delayed telecast over ABS-CBN'S Studio 23 at 9:30 p.m. on the undercard of the Brandon “ Bam Bam” Rios – Urbano Antillon WBA lightweight world title fight. Rios also won by a 3rd round TKO in an action-packed classic at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
The southpaw Gesta lived up to his nickname, showing no mercy as he was on fire from the opening bell, picking Pimentel apart and dropping him once in each of the three rounds of the scheduled ten round bout.
A devastating right uppercut that dropped Pimentel for the third time forced referee Raul Caiz Jr to step in and end the massacre at 2:33 of the 3rd round. With the win Gesta improved to 22-0-1 with 11 knockouts while Pimentel fell to 22-12-1 with 15 knockouts.
Gesta’s trainer and co-manager Vince Parra told the Daily Inquirer that while his six month absence from the ring showed occasionally the right uppercut that dropped Pimentel and ended the fight was “something he’s been really working on. The more and more I watch his style he can do whatever he wants.”
He said Gesta told him after the fight that he didn’t have to “move around and dance on my toes. I’m comfortable walking into my opponent.' Parra said " It was a good fight and we are looking forward to getting back into the ring. Right now Mercito is really focused, he’s thankful and he’s humble and he’s ready to get right back to work.”
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum who had predicted that Gesta would be the next big name in Philippine boxing after pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao told the Daily Inquirer in a post-fight interview that Gesta “is going to be a superstar.”
Arum said the 23 year old Gesta “is strong and he’s always in a position to punch.”
The astute promoter said he plans to feature Gesta on a Top Rank “live” show on Fox TV in about six weeks and added “we are looking to put him on the December 3 card headlined by the Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto showdown.
Arum said that “if he’s ready we are going to put him in with Miguel Vasquez, the IBF champion.” The 24 year old Vasquez has a record of 29-3 with 13 knockouts. Three inches taller than Gesta at 5’10” the Mexican won the title with a unanimous twelve round decision over Korea’s Ji Hoon Kim on August 14, 2010 and successfully defended the crown against Ricardo Dominguez and Australian Lenny Zappavigna before scoring a 2nd round KO of Marlon Aquilar last June 18.
Aguilar is the same fighter who won a unanimous eight round decision over former two division world champion Gerry Penalosa’s protégé Michael Farenas on May 8, 2010 in Mexico.