By Phil D. Jay
Lightweight contender Mercito Gesta aims to score his 26th career victory on August 3 when the Filipino battles Washington’s Ty Barnett at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 24 year-old, who started his career at 110lbs, has steadily built up his reputation and now stands on the cusp of a world title challenge, knowing that he can ill-afford any slips ups at this stage of his career.
“I don’t really know too much about Barnett, I’ve watched some footage but I leave that to Vince (Parra, manager) and my dad,” Gesta told World Boxing News.
“They watch the tapes and we make a plan. I know he doesn’t respect me and that’s enough for me. I'll be ready come August 3.”
Last time out, Gesta stopped Oscar Cuero in eight rounds to record his 13th career knockout and ‘No Mercy’ is just one or two more victories away from gaining the world title chance he has craved his whole career.
“I would like to win a title at 135, then move up to 140,” said Gesta.
“It’s been hard to get at 135, but If opportunity came at 140 first then I'll fight a light-welterweight. Right now it’s up to my promoter. I will fight whoever they put in front of me, but the plan has always 135 first, then go for 140.
“I want the best lightweights in the world, Burns, Demarco whoever. There are a lot of good fighters at my weight, but I’m focused on Ty Barnett right now.
“I have always called for the best in my weight and I’ll be ready when they except my challenge.
“I have stopped worrying about when the title shot will come. It’s been close a couple of times, but didn’t work out. Vince has pushed Top Rank to get me a shot, but you can’t force a guy with a title to fight you.
“They say my name is not big enough yet to risk fighting me, so I’m building my name and fan base and it will happen when it happens.”
The Cebu-born southpaw has raised obvious comparisons with former pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao after beginning his career at the flyweight limit and has no problem with being labelled after one of his idols.
“I take it as a compliment,” he explained. “Manny open the door for me and put my country on top of boxing. He’s a legend and I’m just trying to be me, make my own name to make my family and country proud.
“I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all my the fans. I will give you great fights,” added Gesta.
Manager Vince Parra is slowly guiding Gesta to the top of the boxing tree and believes that the early career harships and sacrifices made by the likeable contender have only made him into a better and more rounded fighter.
“We've been taking a long road to get to the top without a big name manager or lots of money,” stated Parra.
“Running out of money in camp and cars breaking down, you name it! But we're still here showing that it can be done with faith and knowledge.
"I couldn't do it myself without the help of my dad (Bumpy Parra) or Mercito’s dad Anecito Gesta and our great team. Here’s to a successful future for Team Gesta.”
Phil D. Jay covers boxing for worldboxingnews.net