By Chris Robinson
Two weeks ago, I paid a visit to Mercito Gesta’s latest training camp, this one being staged inside of Abel Sanchez’s Summit Gym in the mountains of Big Bear, Calif.
The 25-year old Gesta is eyeing the most daunting challenge of his nine-year professional career, as he will be looking to wrestle the IBF lightweight belt away from Miguel Vazquez when he meets the reigning champion inside of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on the undercard of the Dec. 8 Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV pay per view event.
And while young and ambitious Joel Diaz Jr. (11-0, 10 KO’s), a junior lightweight prospect with plenty of aggression and upside, had the duty of going seven fast-paced rounds with Gesta on Nov. 12, Monday afternoon saw Rances Barthelemy in the spotlight, as the rangy Cuban put in six rounds of work.
Towering a bit at 5’11” with a lean physique and awkward stance, Barthelemy (17-0, 11 KO’s) fits the stereotype of Vazquez far better than Diaz, yet the work was just as spirited despite being a little more tactical and less bruising than two weeks back. Prior to going rounds with Barthelemy, Gesta sized up former US Amateur featherweight champion Aaron Garcia (10-3-2, 2 KO’s) for two heats.
All the while, Gesta’s trainer and co-manager Vince Parra, as well as his father Anecito, mother Mercy, and younger brother ‘Dondon’, watched on.
‘Dondon’ himself, an aspiring junior lightweight hopeful, later stepped in to test himself with Garcia for a pair of rounds.
Originally from Mandaue City, Philippines, Gesta had seen his adopted hometown of San Diego host his previous training camps before the move to Big Bear.
Judging by his demeanor today, Gesta has adapted well and there is a great sense of camaraderie coming from his team as he creeps closer to his dream opportunity.
Expect more from Camp Gesta in the coming days.