Years ago during Manny Pacquiao’s sensational run at the welterweight division, Bob Arum of Top Rank promotions signed up several Filipino fighters to his stable to ride the wave of Pacmania.
One of those fighters was a promising undefeated lightweight named Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta, he came from the same area as Pacquiao and his father was a former kickboxer.
Arum had high hopes for the young Cebuano prospect, he even made sure to tell media outlets that he could become the next star out of the Philippines.
Gesta had the look, the speed, and the style, he was also well spoken in English. Unlike Pacquiao, he could speak English without a heavy accent and was more Americanized even though he grew up in the Philippines.
As part of his deal Arum would line Gesta up with a world title shot against the very defensive Mexican IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez.
Mercito Gesta vs. Miguel Vazquez was part of the undercard for the 2012 Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez IV Pay-Per-View. The fight turned out to be an embarrassment for Gesta, he got out boxed and didn’t apply a single ounce or pressure to the elusive Mexican, the fight was so boring the commentators felt Gesta wasn’t trying. Vazquez went on to win a wide unanimous decision and Gesta blew his chance to shine on a big stage.
After his humiliating failed attempt at a title, he took 2013, regrouped, and left his trainer Vincent Parra to train mainly under his father and Bob Arum released him from his contract. He had a few fights in 2014 before signing with Oscar De La Hoya’s promotional company Golden Boy.
In 2015 he had two fights with one ending in a draw to Carlos Molina, he took 2016 off and came back in 2017 with a KO win over Martin Honorio and in his corner for that fight was Manny Pacquiao’s famed trainer Freddie Roach.
Roach seems to believe in Gesta, can he bring him back is the question?
The duo of Roach and Gesta will now have their toughest test, when they face off against WBA, WBC, Ring Magazine lightweight champion Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares on January 27, 2018.
Linares used to train under Freddie Roach and was a chief sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao.
Roach could be the key to this match up having trained Gesta’s opponent and knowing his strengths and weaknesses he has the insight to design a master plan to dethrone the Venezuelan boxer puncher.
If Gesta can remain focused and follow the game plan he could finally live up to his potential and become a world champion.
What many Filipino boxing fans are wondering about Gesta is his mentality, does he have the hunger and aggression to show No Mercy on his opponents or will he wind up failing again when faces off against Jorge Linares for the WBC lightweight championship, similar to how he froze when he fought for the title against Vazquez.
Let us hope that Freddie Roach is able to motivate Gesta and continue a successful working relationship because Gesta has the potential to be great he just needs to remain determined in his path.
Erwin Lastimosa is a long time boxing fan and enjoys boxing discussion with his peers. Some of his favorite fighters are Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Muhammad Ali, Flash Elorde, Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao.