source: Ronnie Nathanielsz | PhilBoxing.com
Undefeated lightweight Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta, the southpaw who Top Rank promoter Bob Arum believes is the next big name from the Philippines after pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, faces a tough test against American Manuel Perez at the Blue Water Resort & Casino in Parker, Arizona on Sunday, Manila Time.
Both fighters tipped the scales at 136 pounds at the official weigh-in Saturday.
Ranked No. 2 by the WBO and No. 9 by the WBA , Gesta who has a record of 22-0-1 with 12 knockouts is moving deliberately towards what he and trainer Vince Parra hope will be a future title shot against WBA champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios.
Although Parra is confident of Gesta’s chances against Perez he is not underestimating the American whose 16-6-1 record with 4 knockouts could be deceiving. He noted that Perez is “a good, spirited opponent but I think we have a good plan for him. We plan on making a statement and defeating this guy in spectacular fashion.”
The trainer who is also Gesta’s assistant manager told the Daily Inquirer that the 27 year old Perez gave Rios a hard time in their first fight which ended in a draw on October 3, 2008 and which he believes Perez won. However, Rios won by a 7th round TKO in their rematch on October 17, 2009..
Parra said he had watched tapes of Perez and said he is “a tough guy with some decent skills and fights with a lot of heart.”
While training at the Wild Card Gym of Freddie Roach in Los Angeles, Gesta sparred with promising, undefeated lightweight Jose Benavidez (12-0, 11 KO’s) which he described as “spirited” and followed this up by sparring with three former world champions Paul Malignaggi (WBO/IBF light welterweight), Jorge Linares (WBC featherweight/WBO super featherweight) and Shane Mosley. Parra said Gesta is now “ready to go.”
Parra said they returned to San Diego after the two week stint at the Wild Card Gym and that while he was in San Diego even before going to Los Angeles he worked out at Alliance Training “with UFC champions Brandon Vera and Dominick Cruz and went through a two-days-a- week regimen with those guys doing strength explosion exercises and cardio.”
Gesta is coming of a 3rd round TKO of Mexican Jorge “El Tigre” Pimentel last July at the Home Depot Center in California on the under card of the Brandon Rios-Urbano Antillon WBA Lightweight Championship showdown.
To Gesta his debut appearance on a Top Rank card was “a good start and I just need to keep going and keep winning” to justify Arum’s faith in him.