It wasnâ€™t who he beat. It was the smooth manner in which precocious, 23 year old Pinoy lightweight prospect Mercito â€œNo Mercyâ€ Gesta demolished Mexican veteran Jorge â€œEl Tigreâ€ Pimentel Saturday night at the Home Depot Center which was impressive.
CARSON, Calif. â€” Oh, sure, there a couple of rough spots like the now 22-0-1, 12 knockouts fighter from Cebu not moving his head enough. But, when he left his noggin in harmâ€™s way, Gesta was intelligently doing so for a reason. It wasnâ€™t a mistake, as co-manager/trainer Vince Parra pointed out, but a method to lure the taller and often backpedaling veteran into engaging within KO distance.
After referee Raul Caiz Jr. wisely stopped it in the third round on the Urbano Antillon-Bam Bam Rios undercard, Top Rankâ€™s head carnival barker, Bob Arum, was dishing out the superlatives.
â€œI want this kid to fight for a title, maybe before yearâ€™s end,â€ a glowing Arum said in the ring after Gestaâ€™s first bout under a new promotional contact. â€œI donâ€™t want to be too ethnic but heâ€™s the next (Manny) Pacquiao.â€
Arum made similar remarks at the post fight press conference and Gesta just blushed at the effusive praise.
Frankly, besides being fighters, Filipinos and aggressive southpaws, Pinoy Idol Pacquiao and former Muay Thai style boxer Gesta could not be more different.
Getsa has nifty hand speed and some slick footwork that Pacquiao, at the same age, did not have. Itâ€™s only been in recent years that Pacman has been floating like a butterfly while always stinging like a bee.
Itâ€™s no stretch to state that, at a similar stage of pro ring development, Gesta is the more polished product. (Don't forget that we're talking the pre-Freddie Roach version of Pacquiao.)
Getsa said thereâ€™s no need to worry about his hat size expanding.
â€œI just take all those remarks as what they are, compliments from people who mean well, including Mr. Arum,â€ Gesta said as he relaxed back at the Holiday Inn in nearby Torrance after the victory.
â€œIâ€™m not trying to be the next Manny, just the first Mercito,â€ Gesta said. â€œItâ€™s like someone told me former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe used to say, â€œI didnâ€™t say Iâ€™m the greatest, I just said Iâ€™m the latest.â€™
â€œIâ€™ve got big goals in this sport and working with a world champion like Amir Khan (they sparred at Freddie Roachâ€™s Wild Card Gym recently with Khan prepping to fight Zab Judah) made me feel like Iâ€™m on schedule and progressing. But there is lots more work to be done.â€
For his part, onetime pro and ex-Sugar Shane Mosley sparring partner Parra said thereâ€™s no rush to get Geta to the world title altar.
â€œNo, not really,â€ the San Diegan whose father, ex-pro fighter â€œBumpyâ€ Parra assists in the Gesta corner. â€œAt the same time, we sometimes have to pull the reins on Mercito because heâ€™s getting better and better. But we know Top Rank will keep us busy, theyâ€™re talking about a fight six weeks from now and maybe even being on the Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto rematch card in early December. You donâ€™t hurry a kid Mercitoâ€™s age, you let his performance set the schedule.â€
One thing sagacious boxing types noticed and gave Gesta high marks for was his compact, economical style.
â€œI did that on purpose,â€ Gesta said. â€œMaybe I could blow the guy out in the first round but I wanted to show some different looks, including the uppercuts which hurt him and I wanted to confuse him with my movement. I didnâ€™t waste any punches, I was picking my shots.â€
If Gesta keeps rolling, there will be many people picking their seatsâ€¦on the â€œNo Mercyâ€ bandwagon.
Article by: Michael Marley