LAS VEGAS — Mercito Gesta and team knew they were in for a potentially frustrating fight when they signed on to face IBF lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV.
They might have underestimated how frustrating it would be.
The 25-year-old Vazquez (33-3, 13 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico, may not have the most crowd-pleasing style, but his lateral movement and quick pot-shotting were enough to earn himself a unanimous decision over the previously-unbeaten Gesta (26-1-1, 14 KOs) of San Diego by way of Mandaue City, Philippines, on Saturday night.
The scores were 117-111, 119-109 and 118-110.
“The game plan was to move and box,” said Vazquez. “And it went perfectly.”
Vazquez, whose only losses have come in two bouts against WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and WBO welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley, had few issues dealing with the slower-footed Gesta’s advances, which came without head movement or a jab for the most part.
Vazquez was able to land freely with his right cross and jab as Gesta lunged in with right hooks and left crosses that seemed to have little effect.
Near the end of round 1, Gesta raised his arms and dared Vazquez to stand and trade punches, which would work to the Filipino fighter’s advantage. Vazquez didn’t immediately oblige.
Gesta landed his best punch of the fight in round 10 when a right hook clipped Vazquez clean as he stepped out from a punch of his own, but it wasn’t enough to turn the tide. As the rounds progressed, Gesta never showed an increase in intensity or urgency.
Vazquez’s manager Richard Mota was pleased with the decision.
“The guy does what he does, sometimes the fans don’t appreciate that but that’s his style,” said Mota.
Southpaw featherweight Javier Fortuna (21-0, 15 KOs) of Miami, scored a wide, unanimous decision over Ireland’s Patrick Hyland (27-1, 12 KOs) Newburg, New York, in a physical fight for the WBA’s interim belt.
In an earlier fight, Mexican-American amateur sensation Jose Ramirez dropped his lightweight rival with a left to the body, and, latter battered him until referee Vic Drakulich stepped in to end his first-round knockout of Denver’s Corey Siegwarth (2-2, 1 KO) in Ramirez’s professional debut.
In the night’s first bout, junior lightweight Ernie Sanchez (14-3, 5 KOs) scored a third-round knock down on the way to an eight-round unanimous decision over Coy Evans (10-2-1, 2 KOs), and was followed by a second-round knockout by featherweight Dodie Boy Penalosa (10-0, 10 KOs) over Jesus Lule-Raya (6-5, 1 KO).
The third bout featured Alexis Hernandez (3-1, 1 KO) scoring his first stoppage in the first round over featherweight rival Jazzma Hogue (2-4-1, 0 KOs), whom he floored twice before referee Jay Nady stopped the fight at the 2:20 mark.
Photos / Al Bello-Gettyimages
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org