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List of Articles by Rich Mazon


Gesta returns to HBO for another crack at Lightweight gold

By Rich Mazon
28 Jan 2018

In 2012, an unbeaten Filipino boxing contender that was once described as “Pacquiao-like” attempted to join the rank of champions when he fought for the International Boxing Federation Lightweight Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As an undercard to the unforgettable Pacquiao-Marquez IV that was carried by HBO PPV, then 26-0 Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta of the Philippines tried to wrestle the crown from Miguel Vasquez, the reigning champ. Gesta failed.

Fast forward to 2018, after 5 wins and a draw, a change of promoter and a change of trainers. Gesta once again returns to the ring to fight for another version of the 135 pound title belt he had his eyes on five years ago.

Tonight, Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) will meet his former sparring mate and the current World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight champ - Jorge Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) at the historic Fabulous Forum In Inglewood, California.

“I am ready. This is my second shot and there’s nothing to lose over here. As a challenger, I’m always hungry. The challenger is always hungrier than the champion because he wants that belt and this Saturday I will show that I can be the new world champion.”

Linares is a longtime stalwart in the lightweight division. He has held the WBA belt since 2016, recognized as the Ring Magazine champ and before that, held the WBC title. Like Gesta, he hasn’t been defeated since 2012, but he has fought more fights, double his Filipino foe’s output in the last five years, six of which are world title bouts and against better opposition.

“I’m ready. I’m here. I am very excited for this fight. I’ve had a good preparation with my team. I’m ready.”

Not only did Linares and Gesta tested each other in the ring during their sparring sessions, they also have another thing in common. They share the “Freddie Roach factor.”

Linares formerly trained with the Hall of Fame coach until their split in 2013 after he suffered back to back losses in 2011 and 2012. He has not looked back since then.

The Venezuelan champ will have to deal again with his former trainer tonight, this time as an adversary. as Roach helps Gesta dethroned his former pupil.

If Gesta is successful tonight, the proud son of Mandaue City in Cebu will only be the third reigning world champ from the Philippines, alongside Donnie Nietes and Jerwin Ancajas.

Their battle on HBO will commence at 1030 pm ET/ 730 pm PT.

You can reach the author at and @Freemazon910 on Twitter.

Back to Rich Mazon 's Articles Listing

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