Amateur standout Ernesto ‘Tito’ Mercado is about to explode
Neto Mercado had his ways. He would get lost for periods of time, constantly lured by the streets. His rugged life brought him to dark alleys and seedy places.
It also brought him a message that he conveyed in no uncertain terms to his son, Ernesto “Tito” Mercado: Don’t do what I do.
It’s a message that the 20-year-old lightweight took to heart. Mercado has never done drugs or took a drop of alcohol in his young life. Perhaps it may explain his freakish 280-11 amateur record or his 3-0 (3 knockouts) pro record.
On Saturday night, Mercado is looking at 4-0 with a victory over Marc Misiura at the Commerce Casino, in Commerce, California, in a six-round lightweight fight.
Mercado is a Pomona, California, native, by way of Nicaragua. He got young lessons on the wayward ways of the streets.
“I never wanted to disappoint my dad, and I definitely didn’t want to see the belt when I got back home if I didn’t do anything,” Mercado said. “I was around 12 when my dad got out of the drug game, running the streets. He was training and he always kept me in check.
“I’m happy my father got himself together and he always kept me straight.”
Neto Mercado started the G2G Youth Foundation Gym in Pomona, so Neto could grab the kids off the streets so they wouldn’t repeat the mistakes he made.
As an amateur “Tito” fought and beat Malik Warren, Haven Brady and Aaron Aponte was supposed to fight budding pro Keyshawn Davis, but Davis wanted no part of him.
“I used to watch fights with my dad when I was four, and I think it’s a big reason why I developed so fast,” Tito said. “I loved the sport since I first began. There were some challenges along the way when I was a teenager. I couldn’t go to parties. Drugs are really common, all over the place.
“I stayed away. To this day, I never took a drug in my life. If you know what you want to do early on, you learn how to erase the distractions in your life.”
Mercado is prepared to take on Misiura this Saturday. He’ll try to make Mercado look nasty.
“I’m ready for that, I’m ready for anything,” Mercado said. “I was fighting six rounds in my second pro fight. I wanted an eight-rounder, but with COVID and everything going on, I’m good with a six-rounder.
“I want to show something different in boxing. There hasn’t been an explosive killer in boxing since Mike Tyson fought. I plan on showing the fans that there is a killer out there again and it’s me.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.
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