Breakout year for Gesta
Story & photos by Felipe Leon
For unbeaten Filipino lightweight sensation, Mercito "No Mercy' Gesta (16-0-1, 7 KOs), 2010 is the year he breaks out of obscurity and into big name fights.
"I am ready for the big fights," the Don Chargin promoted Gesta said. "Things have been worked out with my promoter and he told me this is the year.
"My target is Vicente Escobedo. I think our styles match up but if its not him, I will fight anybody in my division. I am ready for a championship fight."
Gesta's co-manager, Vince Parra, a life long member of the San Diego-Tijuana boxing community, agrees that a fight with Escobedo would be ideal for his young charge.
"It can happen, we have a good relationship with Escobedo's management and it would be a great fight for the fans," the ex-fighter stated. "If not Escobedo, anyone in the top ten, we would fight."
First, the southpaw Gesta of San Diego, CA, by way of Cebu, Philippines, must take care of a previous victim of his, tough journey man Cristian "Filoso" Favela (17-24-6, 10KO) in the eight round main event of the "Philippines vs. Mexico" Bobby D. Presents in association with Jorge Marron Productions fight card at the Four Points by Sheraton Thursday night in Kearny Mesa, a suburb of San Diego.
"In our first fight, I wasn't 100% conditioned, I hadn't fought in a while and I kept thinking that the fight was going to get postponed," Gesta stated about his first face off versus Favela in in late 2008 in which he won by eight round unanimous decision. "I needed to fight so I took the fight. Now I am in condition and I am looking to finish him off early, I am going for the KO. Last time I didn't follow up my attack, this time I will."
Parra, who has not only been handling the business side of Mercito's career but also his conditioning, dares to offer a prediction.
"I see Mercito stopping him in five," he says confidently.
Not only will a knock out assure him an easy night but his handlers have convinced him that with the KO, he could be back in the ring as soon as a month later against a bigger named opponent.
"Vince, who talks to the promoters, he told me that if I knock him out, I can get another fight in a month against somebody big," Gesta says smiling imagining the possibilities. "After that, I want to go back home for vacation, I have not been back in two and a half years."
Back home is his hometown of Cebu which he left, like many of his countrymen, to pursue a better life in the United States for him and his family using his fists.
"I miss the places, the ocean, the food and my family," Mercito says.
The 22-year-old Gesta, the middle child of a cement truck driver and a homemaker, stays in touch with his family half around the world with the help of the internet.
"Before I used to call them on the phone but now that my parents know how to use the internet with the help of my sister, I communicate with that," Gesta says. "It is much cheaper."
Gesta left the Philippines in 2007 and found his way to Las Vegas, NV, as part of a wave of Filipino fighters brought over in hopes that one of them was the next Manny Pacquiao. Soon thereafter, Gesta found his home in San Diego.
"I love San Diego, I don't want to go anywhere else," Gesta says.
San Diego, a military town with Camp Pendleton to the north and naval stations on its coast, boasts of a strong Filipino community brought to the seaside city because of the Navy and the climate similarities with their native country.
"The Filipino community has supported me. It's good. Many here have helped me meet people that have helped me in my career," Gesta continues. "They are starting to learn that they have a boxer and they are supporting me, it feels good."
Although it has been difficult to fight fights for Gesta, his team sees it as a thing of the past.
"We have common goals with our promoter, to get Mercito Gesta a world title shot," Parra states. "We are working together to achieve that. We're happy to work with Mr. Chargin and Jorge Marron."
Gesta fought only two times last year, both times in San Diego, and was devastating in his performance.
In May, Gesta stopped the 2008 Tijuana Prospect of the Year, Alain "Konan" Hernandez, in only 44 seconds of the first round.
"I thought that fight was going to be much tougher because of his record and because he was the prospect of the year, I trained hard for it," Gesta says. "Once I was in the ring, I was able to do what I had to do and I am happy it ended quickly."
Two months later, it was announced that Mercito would be tested against Damian Fuller of Detroit, MI, but when that fight fell out, an emergency opponent was found.
"That fight was easy, I knew it was going to be easy so I just wanted to get some work in," Gesta says of Devarise Crayton who he stopped in three rounds. "I was getting ready for the big fight but it didn't come."
Instead, Mercito found himself sparring a who's who of southern California fighters as well as former world champions. Gesta in recent months has traded leather with former super featherweight champion Jorge Linares, former WBC interim lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco, lightweight prospect Marvin Quintero and featherweight prospect Bernabe Concepcion among others.
"Most of them have been more experienced than me. I believe in my style and if I am in shape, I think I can get in the ring with anybody," Gesta says convincingly.
In preparation for his next bout, Gesta traveled up north to the famous Wild Card Gym to work out with his trainer, Carl Penalosa, brother of former world champion, and to get some quality sparring.
"There is a lot of sparring up there. I also worked out with my coach who was helping his brother for his last fight," Gesta explains. "It is good up there but I don't want to leave San Diego."
While there, Gesta had the opportunity to see the one and only, Manny Pacquiao.
"I said hi and spoke to him a little but he has a big entourage and it is hard to get much of his time," Gesta says understandingly.
If Gesta would to reach the Pacquiao stratosphere of stardom, would he want the same size of companions?
"I'm different, I like for people to come up to me but I would like some privacy too," Gesta says with a laugh. "Before the fight, I wouldn't want too many people around."
Before "No Mercy" reaches those heights, he must make 2010 the year of Gesta
For more coverage on the San Diego/Tijuana scene, please check out SDFights.com