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Mercito Gesta Beats Joel Diaz Jr. in Slugfest at Fantasy Springs

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  • Mercito Gesta Beats Joel Diaz Jr. in Slugfest at Fantasy Springs

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    By David A. Avila

    INDIO, Ca.-A seemingly blowout victory for Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta turned into a lightweight firefight with hard-hitting Joel Diaz Jr. that saw the Filipino southpaw emerge with the victory by unanimous decision on Thursday.

    Fans were glued to their seats.

    Despite not fighting much in the last three years, Gesta (33-3-3, 18 KOs) mixed his attack to beat the younger Diaz (26-3, 22 KOs) in front of a packed arena at Fantasy Springs Casino.

    “I hadn’t fought in a while. It was just a mix of emotions for me. I kept training,’ said Gesta whose last win was July 2017.

    Gesta connected from the opening bell with a variety of blows that seemed to confuse Diaz. A quick left cross and right hook from the left-handed Gesta surprised Diaz and down he went. He got up and seemed shaky. Gesta then fired a right jab and left cross and down went Diaz for the second time in the first round. He didn’t look good but somehow survived the round.

    It looked like one more punch might end the fight.

    Diaz had other ideas and went into attack mode. It seemed to confuse Gesta who was caught with a powerful right. Gesta changed tactics and went into counter-punch mode. In the second and third round Diaz was on attack and Gesta seemed to study the situation.

    Gesta returned in the fourth round looking to counter Diaz whenever he fired more than one punch. It worked effectively for the next several rounds. Things had turned and it looked like he was in cruise control.

    “I give it up to Joel Diaz. He is a tough opponent. I salute Joel Diaz,” said Gesta. “I kept going.”

    Diaz began changing tactics and closing up the holes in his defense. No longer was he firing combinations from far and it forced Gesta to change once again. The southpaw began fighting on his toes and moving while picking spots to attack with right uppercuts and left uppercuts. Though he connected Diaz remained standing.

    “I thought I would stop him, but he is tough. He can last,” said Gesta.

    The fight went all 10 rounds with two judges scoring it 96-92 and a third 95-93 all for the veteran Gesta.

    “I’m so happy,” said Gesta who was back on the win column after five years. “I was relaxed.”

    Now the lightweight contender feels confident he can return to the limelight again.

    Other Bouts

    Covina’s Jousce Gonzalez (12-0-1, 11 KOs) seemed to be heading for an early knockout of Jairo Lopez (27-15, 17 KOs) in the second round when he floored the Mexican lightweight with a combination, Then he knocked down Lopez twice with blinding combinations in the third round. But Lopez survived.

    The two lightweights battled for the next two rounds with each taking turns firing combinations. Gonzalez was bloodied near the right eye while fighting inside with Lopez.

    Gonzalez took control in the sixth round and fired two right uppercuts that snapped back the neck of Lopez and forced referee Eddie Hernandez to stop the fight at 2:29 of the sixth round. Gonzalez was deemed the winner by knockout and got his rounds in. He had only fought once in two years.

    “It was great to get the rounds in. He was a tough guy. I expected him to survive,” said Gonzalez who knocked down Lopez repeatedly. “It was good to get the rounds in because of the ring rust. I felt great with the crowd and the adrenaline rush.”

    Hometown fighter Manuel Flores (12-0, 9 KOs) patiently studied Victor Ruiz (23-13, 16 KOs) for one round then went to work by flooring the Tijuana fighter once in the second round, twice in the third round and then finishing with a three-punch combination in a battle between southpaws. Flores scored the knockout at 2;21 of the third round.

    Jan Salvatierra (8-1, 4 KOs) scored a knockout win over Ernie Marquez (10-18-2) who was circling and then hit by a single right cross and tumbled along the ropes for a knockdown. He could not get up on his own and was counted out by referee Eddie Hernandez. Somehow Marquez hurt his leg or ankle and was taken out of the boxing ring by stretcher. The end came at 2:26 of the second round.

    San Diego’s Jorge Chavez (2-0) found Jonathan Tejada (0-2) willing to run into his punches and knocked out the Mexico City fighter at 1:04 of the second round of their super featherweight fight. A seven-punch battering did the job. Referee Ray Armendariz counted Tejada out for the knockout.

  • #2
    I've always loved lightweight fights, and this one was no exception. It was really fun to watch, but I'm absolutely not surprised that Gesta won. He was in control from the very start - he was faster, and had a lot more connections than Diaz.
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    Last edited by Psyker; 04-25-2022, 02:54 AM.