Prior to his decision loss to IBF lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez, there were those in boxing that thought Mercito Gesta was going to be the breakout Filipino star.
Some thought he was the heir apparent to Manny Pacquiao. However, the loss to Vazquez exposed a number of flaws in Gesta’s game.
While he still has his skeptics, Gesta demonstrated improvements in his game on Friday in stopping veteran Luis Arceo after Round 7 at Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco, Calif. The bout topped a “Golden Boy Live!” telecast.
After the loss to Vazquez in December of 2012, Gesta was inactive, reportedly turning down fights. Top Rank released him nine months later, but Gesta decided to give it another go. He returned to action on April 11 in Del Mar, Calif., stopping Edgar Riovalle in the eighth round. Arceo was unbeaten in six bouts before getting stopped in the Round 3 at the hands of Jose Zepeda on Oct. 11 in Las Vegas.
On Friday, Gesta was the stronger and more effective fighter from the opening bell. He easily countered Arceo with left hands to the head and was effective fighting from a conventional stance as opposed to his usual southpaw stance.
Gesta stunned Arceo with a counter left hand to the head, driving him back into a corner and landing at will but the veteran was able to make it out of the round.
From that point on, Gesta could not miss, drawing gasps from the crowd whenever he landed with lefts or lead rights to the head.
No matter what Arceo did, it was ineffective. As the bout progressed, his face reddened and he bled from his nose.
After Round 7, the ringside physician saw enough and told referee Edward Collantes to stop the fight, which he did.
While it was a solid win for Gesta, one has to wonder whether he can consistently perform at this level against better opposition, especially contenders in the lightweight division.
The Philippines-born Gesta, who resides in San Diego, goes to 28-1-1, 16 knockouts. Arceo, from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, drops to 28-13-4, 18 KOs.
Robles gets split nod over Chicas
Welterweight Emmanuel Robles won a hard-fought eight round unanimous decision over Jonathan Chicas.
In his previous fight, Robles won a 10-round split decision over Cuban Yordenis Ugas in San Diego on Feb. 28. Chicas had won five bouts in a row since his first loss of his pro career to Moris Rodriguez.
Chicas was the more effective fighter in the first couple of rounds. He was able to beat the southpaw Robles to the punch, effectively countering to the head. As the bout progressed, Robles was able to slowly get to Chicas, even though he would pay the price by getting hit by counter right hands from Chicas.
Midway through the fight, Robles landed with more frequency. Undaunted, Chicas did not back down, focusing and landing more hooks to the body of Robles.
The fight was close entering the seventh round, which may have prompted Robles to step up his aggression, considering he was fighting in Chicas’ hometown. His persistence paid off later in the round as he landed a left uppercut to the head of Chicas, dropping him to the canvas. Chicas got up and was able to make it out of the round.
Robles kept momentum in his favor, beating Chicas to the punch during most exchanges in the eighth round, cementing the win thanks to the knockdown one round earlier.
One judge scored the bout 76-75 for Chicas, while the other two judges scored the bout 76-75 in favor of Robles, who improves to 11-0-1, 3 KOs.
Chicas drops to 13-2, 6 KOs.
Taishan scores KO in pro debut
Giant Chinese heavyweight Taishan Dong won his professional debut, stopping Alex Rozman in Round 2.
Taishan, who reportedly 6-foot-11, measured and landed lefts and rights across Rozman’s head. Towards the end of the first round, Taishan landed a stiff left jab that dropped Rozman to the canvas.
In Round 2, another jab dropped Rozman to the canvas. To his credit, Rozman took the fight to the former wrestler/ kickboxer. He was able to get inside of Taishan’s guard, landing an occasional left and right. Taishan’s stopped any momentum Rozman had when he dropped him with a right hand to the head. Referee Edward Collantes immediately waved the fight over at 1:58.
Taishan Dong resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, while Rozman, from Davenport, Iowa, falls to 2-7, 1 KO.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing