Mercito Gesta ventured from his native Cebu, Philippines to the West Coast of the United States at the age of 19. The plan was for Gesta to fight on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao – priceless exposure for any young pugilist but especially for one of Filipino descent.
The fight in Las Vegas on the Pacquiao bill never came to fruition, but Gesta (24-0-1, 12 knockouts) decided to call the U.S. home, making his residence San Diego, Calif.
The 24-year-old lightweight who adpopted the moniker “No Mercy” has yet to have a signature bout, but hopes that will soon change under the guidance of Top Rank, who he has been with for a little over a year.
He’ll take one step closer when he faces heavy handed Colombian journeyman Oscar Cuero (15-7, 12 KOs) on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, part of the Top Rank produced HBO Pay Per View headlined by the Brandon Rios-Richard Abril fight.
“I’m excited, this is my first HBO pay-per-view,” Gesta tells RingTV.com. “I’m going to look good in the ring, I can’t wait to get there and show the fans a good fight.
Pacquaio is a great inspiration to many boxers, especially those who share the same homeland as “Pacman,”, so it comes as no surprise that Gesta looks up to the Filipino congressman.
“As a Filipino fighter, a lot of boxing fans look at me because of Pacquiao,” Gesta says. “I’m proud of him and I look up to him. Someday, maybe I can be as big as him.”
After Yuriorkis Gamboa pulled out of his schedule HBO contest with Rios, Gesta offered to step in, but it didn’t happen, with Rios electing to take on Abril. Although Gesta has fought soft opposition, he feels he has what it takes to defeat “Bam Bam”.
“He’s a top fighter, he’s a hard puncher, but I think I’m going to do good and I think my speed will give him problems,” said Gesta of a potential matchup THE RING’s No. 1-rated lightweight. “I can change my style, I can adapt my style to every opponent. I’m not just one style.”
His manager and trainer Vince Parra shed some light on plans for Gesta to have a meaningful contest, predicting we would see Gesta on TV in a step-up fight “this year for sure.”
“We’re looking to get a big step-up fight,” Parra said. “He’s been with Top Rank a year now and this is our fourth fight with him. We offered to step in against Brandon, we’ve been trying to push for [those kind of fights]. It’s an opportunity for HBO to get a look at him. After [this fight], I’m confident we’ll be stepping up to a much higher level.”
For now, Gesta takes on another journeyman, but hopes that his signature bout will come soon.
“I’m always ready [for a big fight],” he said. “I’m ready anytime. Opponents need to accept the fight for me to have a big fight.”
Photo / Chris Farina-Top Rank