MERCITO GESTA Weight class: Lightweight Age: 24 Record: 23-0-1 (12 KOs) Region: San Diego (from Philippines) Skinny: The southpaw speed demon turned heads during the first half of 2011 by brutally dispatching veteran journeymen Genaro Trazancos and Jorge Pimentel with a flamboyant style that thrilled California fight fans. Gesta followed those knockouts with a 10-round decision over Manuel Perez, a tough and capable journeyman who held WBA lightweight beltholder Brandon Rios to a draw in 2008, in a Fox Sports Net-televised bout in September. Gesta had some difficulty with Perez but generally controlled the fight with his footwork and decided edge in speed. Any prospect from the Philippines with above-average talent is going to attract comparisons to Manny Pacquiao, especially southpaws, but Gesta’s style is actually very similar to the fast-and-furious form of the Filipino icon’s early years. So Gesta better get used to the comparisons. Luckily for him, he’s a much better-than-average talent. Strengths: Excellent hand and foot speed… powerful left, sharp jab and strong body punching… good footwork… killer instinct. Weaknesses: Sporadic offense… occasional lapses in focus… sometimes waits too much.