Filipino boxer Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (32-2-2, 17 KOs) on Thursday, June 14 captured the North American Boxing Organization (NABO) lightweight title against Roberto “Tito” Manzanarez (35-2, 28 KOs) via 10-round majority decision victory in the main event of the Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
One judge scored the fight a 95-95 draw, which was overruled by two scores of 96-94 in Gesta’s favor.
“I feel good, though I’m surprised he moved so much,” said Gesta, who is from San Diego. “I was really eager to cut the distance and hit him. My trainer Freddie [Roach] told me I needed to land more combinations, but it’s clear that Manzanarez is tough and can take a punch. I can’t wait for what’s next.”
“I felt I won this fight,” said Phoenix, Arizona-based Manzanarez. “I dominated more rounds than Gesta. I kept him at a distance and controlled the pace. I kept touching him with long shots. I want the rematch, but I have to check with my team to see what’s next.”
In tonight’s co-main event, Manny Robles III (16-0, 8 KOs) captured the vacant NABF Featherweight crown as he scored a ninth-round technical knockout victory against Edgar “Kid Neza” Valerio (13-1, 8 KOs) in a classic battle between two of Golden Boy Promotions’ best prospects. The fight, which was initially scheduled for 10 rounds, was dominated early by Robles, who used his speed and technical abilities to outbox the taller and stronger Valerio.
In the third round, Robles landed a counter left hook that immediately floored Valerio, who rose to his feet with renewed ferocity to even up the score. Robles continued his dominance until the eighth round, where Valerio landed a perfectly-timed right hook that stunned and wobbled Robles. After taking a round to recover, Robles landed a right hand that dropped Valerio, which he followed with a fight-finishing flurry to end matters in the ninth round.
“This was the most important fight of my career and I took care of business,” said Robles. “[Valerio] hurt me with that right hand because I got careless, but thanks to my conditioning I recovered quickly. I had a great camp. I won this fight because I had a great game plan. As you can see, we had something special up our sleeve. After a couple more fights, I would love a world title shot.”
Herbert “Ace” Acevedo (15-2, 6 KOs), the latest prospect to join the Westside Boxing Club stable, scored a six-round unanimous decision victory against David Thomas (6-3-1, 2 KOs) of Orange, Texas in a super lightweight bout. Acevedo, a native of Garden City, Kansas, dominated Thomas in every round in a battle of toe-to-toe action.
“I hurt my right hand in the first round,” said Acevedo. “I landed it right on his forehead and then I was just not able to use it. So, I stood toe-to-toe and worked the body. I pumped my jab and boxed a bit, but I made sure the win was clear with all the body shots.”
Luis Feliciano (7-0, 4 KOs) of Utuado, Puerto Rico scored a fourth-round technical knockout victory against Daniel Montoya (11-7, 8 KOs) of Tamauliopas, Mexico in a super lightweight battle initially scheduled for eight rounds.
“I feel great. We’re taking things fight by fight,” said Feliciano. “I’m focused on getting better and better. We work on everything in the gym. That body shot I landed has been something I’ve had since the amateurs. We work on everything so that we have all the bases covered when we get to a championship level.”
Luis Arcon (2-0, 2 KOs), a Venezuelan prospect who currently resides in Indio, Calif., scored a technical knockout victory against Ricardo Fernandez (3-9-4) of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico at the end of the second round of a scheduled four-round super lightweight battle. Arcon dominated Fernandez from the opening bell, dropping him in the first round and punishing him so badly in second round that the corner was forced to call a halt to the fight before the third round could begin.
“I took this fight on very short notice,” said Arcon. “I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity with Golden Boy Promotions, so I worked hard and cut the weight to make the fight happen. Hopefully I can come back again soon.”
Gesta vs. Manzanarez was a 10-round fight for the NABO Lightweight Championship presented by Golden Boy Promotions.