Indio, Calif., June 14, 2018 – World Cup soccer is demanding most of the time and attention of sports fans around the world, although a bit less in the U.S. without an American team in the competition. But there is still boxing to enjoy for the devoted fans of the Sweet Science. Thursday night in the desert, the undercard event stole the show on a solid card from Golden Boy Boxing.
Mercito Gesta gets narrow decision victory
In the main event, Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (32-2-2, 17 KOs) of San Diego won the NABO Lightweight Title against Roberto “Tito” Manzanarez (35-2, 28 KOs) of Phoenix, Arizona. Gesta won the most narrow 10-round majority decision possible by two scores of 96-94, with the third card a draw at 95-95. Both fighters gritted their teeth as the scores were announced, not at all sure who prevailed until the announcement.
“I feel good, though I’m surprised he moved so much,” said Gesta. “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 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.”
Manny Robles III remains undefeated with ninth round TKO over Edgar Valerio
It’s rare to see two young fighters with perfect records willing to put their “oh” on the line early in their careers. When it happens, fans are in for a rare treat. It’s exactly what they got in Thursday’s co-main event. Manny Robles III (16-0, 8 KOs) captured the vacant NABF Featherweight crown with a ninth-round technical knockout victory against Edgar “Kid Neza” Valerio (13-1, 8 KOs) in a classic battle between two of Golden Boy’s best prospects.
Robles got off to the stronger start thanks to his speed and technical superiority against the taller and stronger Valerio. Robles scored his first of two knockdowns in the third round via a counter left hook. Valerio beat the count briskly and knew he had to step up the pace fighting from behind on the scorecards. Robles maintained the upper hand until the eighth round. Valerio landed a perfectly-timed right hook, wobbling Robles although he didn’t go down. Youth and drive allowed Robles to recover quickly.
In the ninth round, Robles landed a right hand that dropped Valerio. Valerio once again beat the count, but this time Robles pinned Valerio against the ropes and secured his victory with fight-finishing flurry to end it, much to the relief of his father, noted trainer Manny Robles, Jr., who was watching his son from a safe distance. The senior Robles has entrusted training of his son to Rudy Hernandez, and it’s been a smart move.
“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.”
Additional undercard results from Fantasy Springs
Westside Boxing Club prospect Herbert “Ace” Acevedo (15-2, 6 KO) 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, scored a technical knockout victory against Ricardo Fernandez (3-9-4) of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico at the end of the second round in a super lightweight bout in front of his home town fans. 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.”