By Chris Robinson
I came across some interesting news when I read that former three division champion ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley made a surprise visit to the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles and put in some work with rising lightweight contender Mercito Gesta. With Mosley was his son Shane Jr., as aspiring amateur, and he too was said to have gone some rounds Gesta, who himself is getting ready for a September 17th assignment in Parker, Arizona.
There was some internet chatter on Monday night after some clips of Gesta sparring with 19-year old junior welterweight prospect Jose Benavidez Jr. were found. Benavidez, promoted by Top Rank as is Gesta, is co-headlining the September 17th card and there appeared to be nothing but respect after he went six rounds with the Filipino southpaw.
Gesta’s trainer and manger Vince Parra informed me that the Gesta-Mosley sessions actually came out of nowhere. Team Gesta had showed up the Wild Card a bit early, around 10:30 AM, to again engage with Benavidez but Jose had an unexpected press conference in his native Arizona to attend to in order to hype his fight so they had to improvise.
Parra remembers being in camp with Mosley over ten years ago and he was pleasantly surprised to see Shane upon walking through the doors.
“When we got there, Shane was already there with his son,” Parra said. “His son was getting warmed up and was going to spar. We were just floating around looking for work and Shane walked up and I introduced him to Mercito. And he said that he had brought Shane Jr. to get some work and he also was looking for some work. I asked if he would work with Mercito and he said he’d love to. So that’s how it ended up going down. They go in there, went four rounds, and then Shane Jr. went in there with Mercito and went two rounds. It was great.”
There has been little said about Mosley since his clear points loss to Manny Pacquiao inside of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas this past May and many didn’t know if boxing would be his top priority in the wake of that defeat. Still, Parra insists that his work with Mercito was very lively.
“No, they traded,” Parra continued. “Shane actually rushed him a little bit. He wanted to test him. You could see the veteran moves but I think Mercito surprised him a little bit. He was impressed and afterwards we kind of laughed about it. Shane said ‘Man, he reminds me of Manny and I could have used him in my last camp’. But it was all good and it was a lot of respect. It was fun to see.”
I asked Parra if he felt like Mosley would end up making a ring return sometime in the future.
“According to him, when I asked him, he said he was. He said he’s going to fight again, that he’s going to fight at 154. He just said he was relaxing and what not. He didn’t really seem put off by the last fight and Shane is the same guy I knew back in 2000. It was funny because we’ve known each other for a long time. He’s a good cat,” Parra stated.
Gesta’s upcoming opponent is Hawaiian-born Manuel Perez, who sports a modest 16-6-1 record with 4 knockouts and has losses to the likes of Diego Magdaleno, Matt Remillard, and Brandon Rios, who he also fought to a majority draw in October of 2008. It may not be the high-profile fight that will raise Gesta’s stock but Parra understands the importance of the matchup.
“Every fight is important until he gets to that world championship. He’s under the microscope. There are as many people who want to see him fall as want to see him succeed. So every fight is important and he’s treating every fight like it’s his signature fight,” Parra said of his fighter convincingly.
“This fight right here with Manuel Perez, he doesn’t have a great record and everybody’s bashing the matchup but in my eyes it’s a good litmus test. He gave Brandon Rios a hard time when they first went at it and Mercito is going to go in there and make a statement with every fight.”
If successful against Perez, Gesta is tentatively scheduled for a quick return on November 11th in Las Vegas on the eve of Pacquiao’s third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.