By Miguel Maravilla
Lightweight contender Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) of San Diego by way of Cebu, Philippines is set for his next world title shot as he will square off against WBA lightweight world champion Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) of Venezuela this Saturday at the Forum in Inglewood, California live on HBO Boxing After Dark. We caught up with Gesta as he talked about his upcoming world title shot against Linares.
“I’m fighting Jorge Linares, I’m excited to be fighting for a title. Linares is good, I really like this challenge and I can’t wait,” Mercito Gesta told Fightnews.com®.
Having held camp at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California, Gesta trained under Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach along with his assistant Marvin Zamudio and conditioning coach Justin Fortune as they prepare for Linares.
“Camp is great, Freddie Roach is really smart he knows what he’s doing. Along with Marvin Zamudio he has also been great. My conditioning is great thanks to Justine Fortune,” Gesta on his preparation.
Linares, a three-division world champion successfully defended his title this past September in his last fight against Luke Campbell at the Forum.
“Linares is a world champion. He is quick, fast, and he is a tremendous fighter. He is a champ for a reason,” Gesta on Linares.
Coming off a knockout over Martin Honorio in September at the Forum. The same night Linares defended his title setting the stage as Gesta returns to the legendary venue once again looking to dethrone the champ Linares.
“We have been studying him and his key will be the speed for me. We plan to pressure and be smart,” Gesta added.
The 30-year-old Gesta will have his second shot at a world title as he looks to take advantage of the opportunity. In his first crack at a world title was in December of 2012 as it was a sad night for Filipino boxing fans as Gesta lost a one-sided unanimous decision to Miguel Vasquez on the same card that Juan Manuel Marquez KO’d Manny Pacquiao.
“I learned a lot from that fight. The defeat really helped me in a way. I have grown a lot from that fight,” Gesta on his only defeat.
Coming into that fight there was a lot of expectations for Gesta since signing with Top Rank as he was riding a 26-0-1 record. Often times being compared to Manny Pacquiao or considered the next Filipino star, Gesta felt there was pressure and a lot to live up to. With that in the past, Gesta feels he has been under the radar and looks to redeem himself.
“There was a lot of pressure at the beginning for me. Everyone was like I’m going to be the next Pacquiao or Filipino great but I was like no. Pacquiao is an all time great and I will have my own career. I feel the pressure is gone now,” Gesta explained. “I need to show that there is no pressure. Now I am fighting for a world title and now I can handle this stage,”
Since his only defeat Gesta signed with Golden Boy Promotions and has gone 5-0-1, with 2 knockouts earning his shot at the title.
With only 5 days to go for fight night, this match-up definitely has the ingredient to be another classic at the Forum.
“Expect a great fight. It will be like a chess match but it will be an interesting fight,” Gesta concluded.
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