Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Unbeaten junior welterweight Mike Alvarado once again showed that he is fast-emerging as one of the most entertaining boxers regardless of division as he and opponent Mauricio Herrera engaged in a hit-and-get-hit spectacle at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, April 14. Alvarado trumped Herrera by way of unanimous decision, while Mercito Gesta shut out and knocked out Oscar Cuero on an undercard segment.
Official verdict: Alvarado wins unanimous decision (99-91, 97-93, 96-94).
Herrera did his best to dictate the early tempo of the bout, marching out for the first round and forcing Alvarado to follow his orders as he crouched low and, with good leverage, slammed hook shots to the side of the body followed by crisp lefts to the temple. Herrera, who had a strong victory over Mike Dallas Jr combined with the fame of having taken away Ruslan Provodnikov’s zero prior to the Alvarado duel, fought with unrelenting pressure into the second as he bravely duked it out with a fighter renowned for his punching ability.
In the third round, Mile High Mike – a Denver native – found his range and enjoyed good success when he had his opponent trapped, mainly against the ropes, which allowed him to peel off power punch after power punch, however, he did not have it all his own way as he had to keep his gloves up to protect himself at all times… Herrera fought like he had Duracell batteries in his rotator cuffs as he put together four and five punch combinations.
There were seldom breaks in the all action slobberknocker and, in the fourth, Alvarado trapped Herrera back onto the ropes like he had done in the third. This time, though, whenever Herrera attempted to fight his way out of trouble, Alvarado would clobber him with heavy hands. For Herrera, the hook was his amigo while American 140lber Alvarado’s bestie was the uppercut.
As the contest reached it’s midway point, it became clear that the competitive fight would be won on what the three ringside judges preferred in a prizefighter… Herrera had the activity, the punch-output, the work-rate, but it was Alvarado who had the effective aggression, the power and the obvious physical advantages. It was Alvarado, though, who had the edge during the final straight as it was his conditioning and Herrera’s waning that was the primary difference-maker.
Herrera’s speed of hand slowed, his body movement lost intuition and he was unable to see what Alvarado was throwing and where it was coming from as his eye closed from considerable swelling. For any judge who was in doubt as to where the decision should be heading, rounds eight and nine were – in particular – telling, as Alvarado was dominant. The best, though, was saved for last as in the tenth round both pugs traded slugs in the centre of the ring. The decision was, rightly, unanimous as Alvarado had his arm raised upon completion of the contest while Herrera’s face looked painfully swollen and markedly different from the victor.
In triumph, Alvarado rose to 33-0-0, 23ko while Herrera dropped down to 18-2-0, 7ko.
Elsewhere on the Brandon Rios versus Richard Abril undercard, was a further appearance from Filipino hotshot Mercito Gesta, who boxed maturely and near flawlessly as he recorded a shut-out teekayo win in the eighth.
Official verdict: Gesta wins by way of eighth round technical knockout.
Despite a slow start, Gesta boxed like the boss, flurrying with body shots late in round one to nab the ten score and edge Oscar Cuero. A fighter with little amateur experience to speak of as he was primarily consumed with the muay thai discipline, Gesta had shown good technique in the opener but got complacent in round two, allowed Cuero to gain an upper hand, but beat the advantage out of Gesta by finishing well, throwing bombing left hands straight through the middle and rocketing uppercuts toward the chin.
Even though Gesta was not perturbed nor troubled by any aspect of Cuero’s game, his head cornerman – Vincent Parra – implored his trainer to make a greater impression on the Las Vegas bill broadcast by broadcasting behemoth HBO. Mandalay Bay crowds and pay-per-view purchasing fans relish one type of victory; the knockout, and Gesta sought to soften Cuero up for a stoppage by bombarding him with blows to the barrel.
Gesta landed the uppercut again in the fifth, but his guard had holes in as it leaked punches with Cuero punching through it. The aggressor and ring general, Gesta was awarded a further point advantage as Cuero had one deducted due to repeated holding and turning Gesta. When Cuero looked his best, he was fighting with sustained pressure, forcing his opponents to either retreat or wilt, however, Oscar – the 26-year-old opponent from Colombia – was too depleted of energy to fight this way for the majority of a round, let alone the entirety of a fight.
Cuero was down in the seventh, taking a count of nine having been dropped following an accumulation of shots to the body. When he returned to his feet, he clinched, wrestled both himself and Gesta to the floor and bought some vital time. At the round’s end, Gesta engaged in kidology after Cuero landed a hat-trick of power shots. Down again in the eighth, Cuero was deemed to be in no fit state to continue and the Filipino prospect secured an eighth round technical knockout.
With the convincing win, Gesta jumped to 25-0-1, 13ko. Cuerro fell to 15-8-0, 12ko.
On The Beak – Admin
Displaying a good speed of hand and foot whilst also producing a varied fistic arsenal, undefeated Filipino prospect Mercito Gesta (24-0-1, 12ko) fortified his reputation as a fighter on the cusp of contender status with a dominant decision victory over Ricardo Dominguez in a ten round non-title bout at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Friday, November 11. The official scorecards were: 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93.
(Embedded video below credit – Youtube, Bennyfifty)
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Having spotted something special after just one round of pad-work with Manny Pacquiao 12 years ago, Freddie Roach is respected for his eye for talent as well as his boxing nous. However, when assessing other Filipino fighters, the owner of the Wildcard Boxing Club in Hollywood believes Nonito Donaire requires further polishing, cannot fathom the hype surrounding Mercito Gesta and was critical of Rodel Mayol and Bernabe Concepcion.
Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38ko) and Roach have, when it comes to their work, been largely inseparable for over a decade. Roach has, in the past, described his first encounter with Manny as “life-changing“.
And, since their debut session, they have accumulated multiple honours and Roach, with the latter aid of famed strength coach and nutritionist Alex Ariza, has guided Pacquiao’s professional career from a super bantamweight to a solid and fearless welterweight campaigner who has also got his feet wet in the super welterweight pool.
”There won’t be a greater fighter than Manny,” Roach recently said of his star pupil and boxing’s premier attraction.
The Philippines is one of boxing’s hotbeds yet the quality of fighters – aside from Donnie Nietes (29-1-3, 16ko) – has not impressed Roach, a 51-year-old from Massachusetts. On Nietes, who recently became a two-weight world champion after adding the WBO light flyweight world title to his reign as minimum weight ruler, Roach told The Manila Times that he sees a “technically excellent fighter”.
One Filipino boxer who acts as a magnet for commendation due to his finesse is Nonito Donaire, the WBO/WBC unified champion at bantamweight. Donaire – who defends his belts against Omar Narvaez on October 22 – secured a front-running candidate for knockout of the year when he slayed Fernando Montiel with a devastating left hand at the beginning of the year.
For Roach, though, Donaire (26-1-0, 18ko) is too predictable, has become over-reliant on a finishing punch and needs to develop his fistic variety and shot selection. While acknowledging Donaire is on the cusp of superstar status, he also noted: “He is either damn lucky or the cornermen of his last four opponents are just plain dumb. He used that same left hook to knockout [Vic] Darchinyan, [Wladimir] Sidorenko, [Hector] Marquez and Montiel.”
Donaire’s bout against Narvaez will likely be his last within the confines of the 118lb weight limit. The Bohal-born Californian will then move up to super bantamweight but will ultimately campaign as a featherweight, where lucrative showdowns with fighters such as the durable Orlando Salido, Puerto Rican headhunter Juan Manuel Lopez and, as has been speculated, Yuriorkis Gamboa – all await him.
“He does not stand a chance against [Yuriorkis] Gamboa,” Roach said without hesitation. ‘That Cuban will kill him.”
A Top Rank stablemate of Pacquiao, Mercito Gesta (23-0-1, 12ko), has also partaken in training and sparring sessions at the Wildcard. Roach stated that the hype surrounding No Mercy does not justify his current talents: “There’s just too much hype about the boy. He does not have the power and there’s a lot of improvement to be done on his fighting style.”
He continued: “I don’t know how they could come up with a story about Gesta ‘holding his own’ in sparring against Amir Khan. He was badly punished in that sparring but he is young and maybe if finds a good trainer, he could improve his punching power.”
Two fighters Roach is unimpressed with are Bernabe Concepcion (28-5-1, 15ko) due to ego destroying what has become unrealised potential and Rodel Mayol (29-5-2, 21ko) for fundamental physical flaws: “I really thought [Concepcion] would be the next Pacquiao. The problem is he thought he was Pacquiao. [Mayol] has no power and no chin.”
One Filipino whom Roach believes to have exciting potential is Lorenzo Villanueva (21-0-0, 20ko), the latest addition to his stable of fighters and a boxer whom he discovered during his latest excursion in Baguio City whilst he was coaching Pacquiao: “He has the power, he is disciplined and respectful but the boy is raw and inexperienced,” he said, before indicating he was loathe to make predictions on the levels he could reach.
“It’s too early to say how far he will go.”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
In order to continue progressing as a 140lb campaigner and stay on course for a world title challenge at super lightweight in 2012, Mercito Gesta and his management spurned a shot at IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez, according to Vince Parra; the co-trainer of the undefeated Filipino southpaw. Gesta has an imminent match-up to navigate his way past as he takes on Manuel Perez at the BlueWater Resort and Casino, Parker, Arizona on Saturday, September 17.
“We could have had a shot at Miguel Vasquez but from a business stand point it wasn’t in our best interest,” Parra confirmed to the Filipino Boxing Journal. “We plan on taking care of September 17 first and foremost [but] from what [Top Rank founder] Bob Arum and [matchmaker] Bruce Trampler are laying out, we will have our title shot come early 2012.”
He continued: “Manuel Perez is a whole lot better than what his record shows. He has only lost top prospects and has a draw with Brandon Rios.”
Gesta (22-0-1, 12ko) is currently enjoying a breakthrough year as he impressed in his last outing, a third round knockout over journeyman Jorge Pimental on the undercard of Brandon Rios’ emphatic stoppage triumph over Urbano Antillon on Saturday, July 9 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
Since that date he has found his name linked with Rios’ as he hopes to challenge the WBA “Regular” champion of the lightweight belt.
His most immediate task though, is disposing of Perez (16-6-1, 4ko): “Mercito is very serious and very focused on this fight,” stressed Parra, before commenting on his experience at the Wildcard Boxing Club in Hollywood, California. “He has sparred with the two Shane Mosleys, Jorge Linares, and Jose Benavidez.
“Mercito is well-prepared for this fight, which is good. Perez is no joke. He will show up to win. If you are not prepared, he could upset you. But it’s bad news for Perez and his come-forward style.”
On The Beak – Admin
Undefeated lightweight prospects Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (22-0-1, 12ko), from the Philippines but fights out of San Diego, and knockout artist Jose Benavidez (12-0-0, 11ko) of Los Angeles, engaged in a sparring session at Freddie Roach’s Wildcard Boxing Club in Hollywood, California, recently. Benavidez used his jab well and fought wisely from range while Gesta attacked in bursts.
(Embedded videos below credit – Youtube, TRBoxing)
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Rising lightweight prospect Mercito Gesta – a southpaw from Cebu, Philippines but fights out of San Diego, California – has drawn inspiration from his fellow Filipino fighters Nonito Donaire and Manny Pacquiao, who hold the WBC/WBO bantamweight world titles and WBO welterweight world championship, respectively. Like Donaire and Pacquiao, Gesta wants to win major honours to please his home fans and has no fears facing 135lb honcho Brandon Rios.
“Following Manny and Nonito gives me motivation,” Gesta (22-0-1, 12ko), a 23-year-old contender in the congested lightweight pool said to The Boxing Lab. One of the most popular prizefighters in modern boxing, Pacquiao’s fame has transcended boxing and infiltrated movies, music and politics as he is a congressman in his homeland and met US President Barack Obama.
No matter whom the weight-jumping belt-collecter is matched with, the world – not just casual fight fans – watches as Pacquiao (pictured above, following victory over Shane Mosley in May) inflicts multiple combination punches onto his opponents.
His ability to throw fists has slain a number of the top names from flyweight to junior middleweight, he is the current incumbent of the WBO championship at 147lbs, has a third bout with Juan Manuel Marquez booked this November and could receive the highest payday of his career should a highly-demanded pound-for-pound showdown with pay-per-view draw Floyd Mayweather Jr materialise.
Donaire (26-1-0, 18ko), too, has already embarked on a road to superstardom that began with a fifth round knockout win over Vic Darchinyan in 2007 and was fortified with a stunning second round stoppage victory versus Fernando Montiel earlier this year.
To the joy of the fight-mad Philippines, both Donaire and Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38ko) are consensus top five pound-for-pound boxers. Gesta said: “There is pressure to please the Filipino fans but I like it. I fight not just for my country but also for my family.”
Gesta, though, is yet to break into the upper echelons of his weight class… he is between prospect and contender status, but is hoping to land a world title shot against powerful brawler Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios – the WBA belt holder at lightweight.
“If Rios wants to fight me, I will fight him. I have been fighting a long time so I think I will be ready. I want to put on a good performance on September 17 [against a yet-to-be determined opponent] and then I will be ready for a big fight.”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Brandon Rios will reportedly make the second defence of his WBA lightweight world title against either Michael Katsidis or Kevin Mitchell on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s third fight with long-time rival Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas on Saturday, November 12. Rios, too, had some choice words for Top Rank stablemate Mercito Gesta…
“I hurt my hand in the [Urbano] Antillon fight but I should be ready to go in November,” Rios (28-0-1, 21ko) said while on The Boxing Lab, refering to his next bout.
A powerful 25-year-old slugger who fights out of the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, California, Rios has already been involved in two of the most exciting fights in 2011 due to his late stoppage against boxer-puncher Miguel Acosta (where he won the WBA belt) and, most recently, his third round knockout over brawler Urbano Antillon.
Rios will be fighting for the third time this year on the undercard of Pacquiao’s bout with Marquez which is expected to be a huge Las Vegas event. Opponents-wise, it is a two-horse race for a shot at Rios and his world championship belt and those war-horses are a game Australian already known to Nevada fight fans – Katsidis (27-4-0, 22ko), and technically-proficient Cockney Londoner; Mitchell.
Katsidis, though, is coming off the back of a knockout defeat to lightweight honcho Marquez and a decision loss to Robert Guerrero. He has a confidence-booster of a hometown fight scheduled for August when he takes on a Mexican – Michael Lozada – who is a club fighter at best and granted Paulie Malignaggi a rare knockout victory when the Magic Man tested the waters at welterweight.
Conversely, Mitchell (32-1-0, 24ko) is riding on a high after recording a career-best win against John Murray in a fight he was burdened with the underdog tag. Mitchell stopped British 135lb rival late on due to a box-and-move performance. Mitchell was previously blown out in three rounds by Katsidis but against Murray, in his comeback, proved he has a sturdy chin, good heart and a technically-sound skillset.
“A little birdie told me that Michael Katsidis or Kevin Mitchell are the guys that I will probably be fighting. I can’t confirm that but that is what I am hearing,” Rios said.
A further fighter whom is being lined up as a potential future opponent for Rios is Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (21-0-1, 11ko), a product of the Philippines who, like Rios, is a young boxer with a lot of talent. A match-up between Gesta (whose most recent bout is highlighted on video here) and Rios would be easy to book as he is a Top Rank stablemate of the Oxnard powerhouse. Rios, though, believes Gesta is in no way ready for a world title challenge against him and brushed the prospect off with a typical “Bam Bam” appraisal.
“I hear that Gesta is talking shit,” Rios said. “That he wants to fight me. He doesn’t really do anything for me but if they want to make it Mexican versus Filipino I will fuck him up. I will tear him a new asshole!”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Vincent Parra, the trainer of rising lightweight contender Mercito Gesta, has thrown his fighter’s name into the mix of candidates for WBA “Regular” champion Brandon Rios‘ second defence of his world title at the 135lb weight class. Such a call-out has been shrugged off by Rios’ coach, Robert Garcia, who says they will instead target the division’s star names like Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera.
Since Rios (28-0-1, 21ko) first became a world champion, earlier this year due to his knockout triumph over Venezuelan boxer-puncher Miguel Acosta, he became the subject of numerous call-outs from the lightweight veterans and contenders. Now that he has made a successful defence – a headline grabbing third round stoppage over slugger Urbano Antillon (scored and reported by On The Beak here) – the prospects of the division are now wanting to make a name for themselves by hoping for a match-up with the new star of the weight class.
Mercito Gesta (22-0-1, 12ko), who made his Top Rank debut on the undercard of the Rios bout at the Home Depot Center, Carson on Saturday, July 9, is an undefeated Filipino fighter who – like Rios – recorded his own third round knockout (video here). Vincent Parra, Gesta’s trainer and manager, said to Boxing Scene that his ward would have little trouble handling the come-forward brawling boxing style that Rios possesses: “All respect to Brandon Rios who put on a hell of a fight with Urbano Antillon – he’s a beast and all of the above.
“He’s the best lightweight in the world, but man, I watched that fight over and over and his style is tailor-made for my guy.”
Parra went on to explain that the chances of an immediate match-up are unlikely as, even though both fighters are a part of Top Rank’s illustrious stable, it would likely make more financial sense to allow the rivalry to marinate for a few years… for Rios to continue to attract fans with his pleasing style while Gesta climbs up the world rankings and makes a name for himself.
“It may not happen soon for business reasons; that’s the kind of fight you have to build up over a period of time. Mercito has some proving to do, he has some fights to win. But for me, in all honesty, Mercito handles him. People are going to call me crazy, but that’s just what I see. Rios is a hell of a fighter but what Mercito needs is a guy like Rios ot just bring out the best in him.”
The trainer of Brandon Rios, Robert Garcia, is on top of the world of late for making not one, but two high-profile world champions in 2011 in Nonito Donaire and Rios, however, he was swift to note that he would be targeting fighters with a greater pedigree than Gesta and even questioned whether the southpaw would be ready for someone like Rios.
“I know Mercito doesn’t want to be in the ring with Brandon Rios, that’s just the manager saying that,” Garcia said. “Right now, everyone wants a shot at Brandon because he’s the world champion but Mercito’s not even in his league. We’re looking at bigger and better things. We’re talking about unifying the title, fighting the best like Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera. What does [Gesta] bring to the table?”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Rising Filipino prospect Mercito Gesta, who campaigns in the 140lb weight class, recorded his 22nd professional victory on Saturday, July 9 on the undercard of WBA lightweight world champion Brandon Rios’ successful first defence against Urbano Antillon at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, however, the unbeaten 23-year-old is keen to distance himself from comparisons to fellow countryman and current pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.
(Video embedded above credit – Youtube, BennyFifty)
“I want this kid to fight for a title, maybe before the year’s end. I don’t want to be too ethnic but he’s the next [Manny] Pacquiao,” an overjoyed Bob Arum, who runs the profitable and highly successful promotional firm Top Rank, told Boxing Scene.
Top Rank had only recently signed Gesta (22-0-0, 12ko) to a four-year deal. The super lightweight’s career will now be guided by Arum and he made his debut under his new promoters on Saturday night. It was an emphatic way to introduce yourself as Gesta recorded a third round knockout after dropping his opponent, Jorge Pimentel (23-12-0, 17ko), in each and every one of the three rounds it lasted.
Gesta said after the fight: “I just take all those remarks as what they are; compliments from people who mean well, including Mr Arum. I’m not trying to be the next Manny, just the first Mercito.
“It’s like someone told me former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe used to say: “I didn’t say I’m the greatest, I just said I’m the latest.” I’ve got big goals in this sport and working with a champion like Amir Khan [they sparred at Freddie Roach's Wildcard Boxing Club, Hollywood, recently] made me feel like I’m on schedule and progressing. But there is lots more work to be done.”
Mercito, known as “No Mercy”, was lively on his feet against Pimentel, was largely on the front-foot, boxed in spurts and the devastating shot – the uppercut – was one he had worked on during training camp. Gesta also displayed a more methodical style: “I did that on purpose,” he said, reflecting.
“Maybe I could blow the guy out in the first round but I wanted to show some different looks, including the uppercut which hurt him and I wanted to confuse him with my movement. I didn’t waste any punches, I was picking my shots.”