Carlos Morales has carved out a reputation for causing all sorts of hell for rising prospects. So it was only right that the favor was returned on the rare occasion where he enjoyed the A-side of the promotion.
The veteran lightweight spoiler was forced to settle for a technical decision draw versus former two-time title challenger Mercito Gesta in their DAZN-streamed main event Thursday evening at Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, California.
One card of 58-56 in favor of Morales was overruled by matching scores of 57-57 even in the truncated affair was which was stopped due to a cut caused by an accidental headbutt.
The bout was fun prior to that point, with Morales mixing boxing and banging, while Gesta—a San Diego-based Filipino southpaw—offering a no-nonsense attack. Style points came down to Morales’ use of the ring versus Gesta’s come-forward style. Gesta scored with straight left hands early, his speed proving difficult for Morales to contend more so than his power shots.
Morales turned the tide in round three, landing a right hand shot which briefly stunned Gesta. It proved to be an isolated moment, and not as consequential as a headbutt in round four which left Morales with a cut that proved too much to overcome.
“We were both coming in, and our heads collided,” noted Morales (19-4-4, 8KOs). “There was medicine getting in my eye when they were treating it and I couldn’t see.”
The resurgent California-based Mexican boxer soldiered on, engaging with Gesta in rounds five and six, Action picked up considerably, primarily due to Gesta fighting with a greater sense of urgency. Morales kept his composure enough to make his foe miss and at times pay, though not without getting clipped with left hands in return.
After six rounds, it was determined that Morales was no longer in any condition to continue, thus prompting the stoppage prior to the start of round seven.
“It was a draw, it is what it is,” notes Gesta (32-4-2, 17KOs). “We can do this again. The fans want to see it again.”
A two-fight win streak—both by knockout—preceded Morales' latest ring adventure, though to date he remains best known for his tough losses. The Highland Park-based Mexican slugger gave highly touted Ryan Garcia all that he could handle in a hard-fought 10-round loss to the rising prospect last September, and also came up just short two months later in a 12-round defeat to Rene Alvarado who will fight for a 130-pound title in a rematch with Andrew Cancio later this month.
Gesta has just one win to his name in his last four starts, although his stock goes up with the even verdict. A ninth round upset stoppage at the hands of Juan Antonio Rodriguez this past March in Hollywood, California seemed to mark his last days as even a serviceable gatekeeper, although Thursday’s performance perhaps breathes new life into the career of the 32-year old southpaw.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox