This past Saturday night, Jorge Linares retained his World Boxing Association lightweight world title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Filipino fighter Mercito Gesta.
The 32-year-old Linares, of Venezuela, made the third defense of his title and extended his win streak to 14 straight fights, with his victory at the Los Angeles Forum.
Linares improved to 44-3 with 27 KOs. He landed the harder and cleaner punches throughout, winning almost every round on the judges' scorecards. Two judges scored it 118-110 and the other at 117-111.
Linares chipped away at Gesta's defense in the first five rounds before taking his attack up a notch in the middle rounds.
By the seventh he was landing some four- and five-punch combinations, showing off his superior hand speed and ring experience.
He suffered a cut around his right eye in the eighth round when Gesta hit him with a left hand and then used a shoulder jab in close to open up the wound.
Linares fought with blood flowing from the cut for the rest of the round but his corner was able to stop it from bothering him for the remainder of the fight.
Linares is hoping this victory puts him in line for a unification fight against Mikey Garcia or a battle with Ukrainian champion and 2017 fighter of the year Vasyl Lomachenko.
Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who worked the corner of Gesta, believes Linares is capable of beating Garcia or Lomachenko.
"He can beat any of those guys on a good night. He's a very, very good boxer. I would say it's about dead even. He's a very, very good boxer and he always has been. From the first day he came in my gym to box Manny Pacquiao until now. He's a very good technician, he has really good footwork and he puts his combinations together well. He's a very clever fighter," Roach said.
Regarding the fight with Gesta, Roach says Linares was simply too skilled for his boxer to overcome.
"He's a lot more experienced, he's a lot more clever. He fought a really good fight, he fought very well. I thought that my guy did very well, he tried really hard. We tried to press him a little more, but he's a really good counter-puncher and it didn't work out very well," Roach said.