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GESTA FAILS TITLE BID FOR SECOND TIME

By Dong Secuya
PhilBoxing.com
28 Jan 2018



CEBU – Mercito Gesta, the Mandaue, Cebu native who now calls San Diego, California his home, failed again to capture a world title after defending champion Jorge Linares of Venezuela won on all of the judges scorecards by wide margins to retain his WBA world lightweight crown at The Forum in Inglewood, California Saturday night (Sunday noon in the Philippines).

Gesta, who is now trained by hall of famer Freddie Roach and Justin Fortune as his conditioning coach, came on aggressively at the opening bell and landed good combinations but by the third round, Linares, who has been a lightweight world champion since 2014, adjusted well and used his superior speed to dictate the tempo of the fight controlling the proceedings going forward.

Although Linares did not really dominate Gesta per se, Gesta himself could not land telling punches at Linares that could sway the judges to his favor. Gesta came in strong in the last three rounds but it was a matter of too little too late. Judges Max deLuca and Esther Lopez had 118-110 and Edward Hernandez Sr had 117-111, all in favor of Linares. Philboxing had it 116-112 for Linares.

Gesta, 30, was one of the Philippines's brightest prospect after he amassed an impressive 26 win, 1 draw undefeated record. He was already fighting in the United States for five years under Top Rank, and appeared poised to become the Philippines' next big star when he was matched against IBF world lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Marquez fourth encounter on Dec. 8, 2016 in Las Vegas. With all the buzz surrounding the fight, Gesta unfortunately failed to deliver and more so because it appeared he did not put up a good fight against the Mexican stylish boxer.

Now fighting under Golden Boy Promotions, Gesta racked up five victories since losing to Vazquez and Saturday night's encounter against Linares unfortunately was not Gesta's redemption. The fight was a matter of a good B-level fighter against a veteran world champion campaigner and the question would be if it still possible for Gesta to improve on his abilities going forward although he would probably still get good fights owing to the fact that Linares, who is considered the best lightweight on the planet, did not win impressively against him.

Meanwhile, it is 0-1 for Filipino world title fights this year and six more world title fights will be on the deck until March 3. Next weekend in Corpus Christi, Texas, Jerwin Ancajas, another Filipino built by Top Rank to become a star, will defend his IBF super flyweight crown against Israel Gonzalez of Mexico.


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