By Chris Robinson
Earlier this month, undefeated lightweight contender Mercito ‘No Mercy’ Gesta continued his path towards a world-title shot with a hard-fought decision victory over tough journeyman Manuel Perez in Parker, Arizona. A native of Mandaue City in the Philippines and now residing in San Diego, Calif., Gesta has been generating some serious buzz in the sport and the southpaw is next slated for a November 11th appearance in Las Vegas one night before the third encounter between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Gesta had scored stoppage victories in his previous five fights and the fighter’s trainer and co-manager Vince Parra admits that his charge was a little slow coming out of the gates this time around.
“The last fight, there was a lot more that could have been done but we realized going in that we didn’t want to force anything,” Parra stated of Gesta's ten-round verdict. “He started off a little slower than he would have liked to. He started a little sluggish.
Adding to the equation, Parra feels that once Perez got a taste of the heat coming back from Gesta, it changed the makeup of the fight completely.
“You know Manuel Perez is a pretty aggressive guy, and once he got his timing, he was trying to come in and he was getting hit, he really turned into a defensive boxer and we were a little surprised,” Parra continued. “Mercito had to adjust a little bit. We thought that he did whatever he wanted to do, he just waited a little longer to get going but it was good because he needed the rounds. It gave us something to look at and something to peak at.”
For this fight, as has been the custom with him as of late, Gesta trained at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles and was able to put in solid work with some world-class fighters. There’s always a wealth of talent inside of the gym and Parra can see Gesta stepping up his game in the process during his sparring.
“The benefits are you get to work with really good fighters. You get to work with Shane Mosley and Jose [Benavidez Jr.] was in there; he’s a young, strong buck. And then Jorge Linares was in there and you get to gauge yourself. It really forces a guy, especially an up and coming guy like Mercito, to really use his head and think about what he’s doing. When he gets up to the highest level, it’s just going to be about being a little bit smarter and you get that at the Wild Card so it’s a great advantage,” Parra continued.
As reported by my colleague Ryan Maquinana, Gesta is next in line for a crack at former title challenger Ricardo Dominguez, known best for his losing efforts against the likes of IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez, WBA boss Brandon Rios and Humberto Soto. The atmosphere in Las Vegas will be unlike any other because of the Pacquiao fight on the following night and Parra loves the opportunity.
“He’s excited and I’m excited for him. Because after this last fight I think he got a little too much criticism. He took the bar pretty high for himself. All the praise and he’s under the microscope. He’s being compared to Manny, but he’s so much different of a fighter, and if he doesn’t just demolish everybody he’s going to get a lot of criticism. It’s good because you are going to a situation where the fans are there, Manny is going to be there, it’s [going to be] crazy.”
[Reader's note: Anyone looking for images of Gesta's intense sparring sessions with Jose Benavidez Jr. at the Wild Card and other actions shots from
ringside can check out the Mercito 'No Mercy' Gesta Gallery ]
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com