LOS ANGELES - In front of a roaring crowd of 6,143 boxing fans at Los Angeles' "Fabulous" Forum, Jorge "El Nino de Oro" Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) successfully defended his WBA and Ring Magazine World Lightweight Titles with a shutout 12-round unanimous decision win against lightweight contender Mercito "No Mercy" Gesta (31-2-2, 17 KOs). Linares had trouble early as Gesta provided an awkward southpaw style. Photos by Ed Mulholland/HBO, Tom Hogan/Hoganphotos.
But eventually Linares found his rhythm, landing right hands, uppercuts and left hooks en route to a comfortable though competitive win. Linares won with scores of 118-110, 118-110 and 117-111.
"I didn't really feel his [Gesta's] power, though I hurt my hand in the fourth or fifth round," said Jorge Linares.
"I threw my right hand without really putting too much power into it. I was just touching him. There wasn't a knockout because he was well prepared. Like I said to Oscar De La Hoya, I don't want to mention names for my next opponent. You know what's nice? That people mention my name [as a possible opponent]. That's fine that they mention my name, but let's get them in the ring. Let them get in the ring with me."
"I fought against a world champion, and that was a great privilege," said Mercito Gesta.
"He [Linares] adjusted well to my style after the first couple of rounds. Overall, I am proud of myself for taking this tough fight, and I know me and coach Freddie Roach came in with the best game plan. We just fell a little short."
Power punching Filipino prospect Romero Duno (16-1, 14 KOs) scored a first-round knockout victory against Yardley Armento (21-10, 12 KOs) of Sacramento, Calif. in a lightweight battle that was initially scheduled for eight rounds. Duno dropped and stopped Armento with two consecutive right hands to the temple.
"I wasn't expecting to knock him out in the first round," said Romero Duno. "I can't even remember if I actually hurt him. My coach told me to go in there and use my jab and to keep calm, but I just got really excited and the next thing I knew I won."