Ernesto Mercado believes boxing has not seen the best in him. Mercado wants to prove, in each outing, he is the best prospect in the lightweight division.

The unbeaten Mercado will face Jose Angulo tonight at the LumColor Events Center in Ontario, California, not far from his hometown of Pomona. The eight-round bout will take place on a RED Promotions card. 

Mercado (8-0, 8 knockouts) was originally scheduled to fight former contender and former world title challenger Henry ‘Hank’ Lundy, but Lundy dropped out of the fight, reportedly due to a cut suffered in training camp, to then sign a contract to fight Adrien Broner for a fight later this month. That move brought an immediate suspension by the California State Athletic Commission, which affected Lundy’s ability to fight Broner or fighters in other states under the jurisdiction of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC). 

The 21-year-old was glad a fight was able to be finalized against the Ecuador-born Angulo (14-4, 7 KOs), who has lost to Alejandro Guerrero, Jousce Gonzalez, and, most recently, Alberto Machado.

“I made the move to fight Lundy for a reason,” Mercado told BoxingScene earlier this week. “The fight is still there for me. Lundy acted unprofessionally. We stayed professional the whole time this was going on.

“We’re glad Angulo took the fight. He’s a slick fighter. He has that type of style. He’s right-handed and slick.”

Mercado, a 2020 Olympic Trials Silver medalist, last fought on October 22, stopping former contender Jayson Velez after the Puerto Rican fighter did not answer the bell to start the seventh round. 

Though he was victorious and dictated much of the fight, Mercado felt he was not at his best and did not fight to his potential.

“I didn’t learn so much in that fight,” said Mercado, who made his pro debut in July 2021 and fought five times last year. “It was one of my worst performances. I went for the knockout when I should’ve boxed more. I learn from my mistakes. I want those types of tough fights with top fighters. I want to show I’m the best fighter out there.”

Mercado has sparred against the likes of prospects Duke Ragen, Gabriel Muratalla, Adam Lopez, and Bruce Carrington. When he has sparred against contenders or top unbeaten fighters, Mercado believes he wishes he gets the most out of sparring against those fighters. Instead, he believes the likes of those fighters that few hardcore boxing fans have heard of give him the best work in the gym.

“When I spar those fighters who are well known and who boxing fans know or have heard of, I don’t think they’re as competitive,” said Mercado. “I feel they hold back a bit. I get the best work from fighters who are not known. Even those fighters who start out. They give me the work and they push me. I have to step up my game against them.”

Mercado hopes to fight the top contenders of the lightweight division later this year. He believes as long as he develops his skill-set, he is on the right track to face those fighters. 

First he must get by Angulo, and there is the possibility of facing Lundy in the next couple of months. Mercado believes he is in the right position compared to other lightweights. 

“I feel that my development as of now is top level. I was willing to fight Lundy when other prospects don’t. I feel like guys like Floyd Schofield are not on my level. 

“I know that everyone develops differently but I believe that I’m nowhere near where I could end up at my peak. I have a lot of confidence in myself and I’m going to go off on February 4.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing