Ryan Songalia

Gesta tapers down training leading to Barnett clash

Lightweight prospect Mercito Gesta (25-0-1, 13 knockouts) has finished the heavy sparring phase of training for his August 3 clash with Ty Barnett (20-2-1, 13 KOs) at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., which will headline ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights.

Gesta sparred his last 12 round session on Wednesday in his adopted hometown of San Diego, Calif. with junior middleweight David Barragan (1-0-1, 1 KOs) and welterweight James Taylor (1-0), despite the Barnett fight being only scheduled for ten rounds. Gesta’s manager and trainer Vincent Parra is hoping the extra work in the gym will translate into an increase in stamina after a series of underwhelming performances last year against Manuel Perez and Ricardo Dominguez slowed Gesta’s ascent on top prospect lists.

“It was 100 degrees in the gym and Mercito was still strong in round 12,” said Parra of the 24-year-old Gesta, who was born and raised in Mandaue City in the Philippine province of Cebu. Gesta will continue to spar 10, 8 and 6 round sessions leading up to a week before the fight “to stay sharp”, said Parra.

“His endurance has always been a key thing myself and his father (Anecito Gesta) stressed because there has been times he could have finished guys but didn’t push. Mercito realizes the value of good condition now and it’s starting to show.”

The bout with the 29-year-old Barnett of Washington D.C., will be Gesta’s second of the year, following an eighth-round TKO of Oscar Cuero in April. Gesta’s name had been floated around as a potential opponent for Juan Manuel Marquez and Brandon Rios, but as that talk has evaporated, Gesta’s team says they realize the need to impress with each performance.

“The minute they said (we will face) Ty Barnett, everything else is talk. “This is real and this guy wants Mercito’s spot. Regardless of what the press says we still have to fight.

“I think the opportunity to headline an event like this live on ESPN has got him up,” continued Parra. “Plus Barnett hasn’t shown him much respect. I think you’ll see a motivated Mercito Gesta. It’s not personal but the plan is to destroy this guy. I’m sure they have the same plan. Mercito wants him to trade, if not he’ll walk him down, whatever it takes.”



Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel. He can be reached at songaliaboxing@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.

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