ESPN results: Mercito Gesta edges Robert Manzanarez; Manny Robles III stops Edgar Valerio
Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta edged Robert Manzanarez on the official scorecards, Thursday night, earning a majority decision (96-94 twice, 95-95) after 10 close rounds of boxing, and keeping the hope alive for one more title shot. The lightweight contest was the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions card held at the Fantasy Springs Casino, in Indio, California, and televised live on ESPN.
Coming off his second defeat in a world title bout, last January, Gesta, 32-2-2 (17), tried to get inside on the taller opponent to start but it wasn’t all that easy. In the moments he did muscle his way in, the southpaw would let off some short hooks with both hands but Manzanarez was not only tall but mobile. Manzanarez, 23, used lateral movement that sometimes left Gesta spinning around to get back in front of him. His long jab was also effective in keeping Gesta away at times, and a power right hand would say hello several times through the fight. None of those shots had much effect on Gesta, however, and, for long stretches, the fight would morph into a teasing of feints. The gauging of distance was a struggle for Gesta but, with very little clean action, seemingly every round seemed close. There were times when it looked as if Gesta had Manzanarez rattled, like in the ninth round, in which Gesta barreled forward to land some clean right hands and make Manzanarez frantically try to find a safe place. That ending may’ve made the final result feel right, and, in a fight devoid of drama, Manzanarez, 36-2 (29), wasn’t aggressive enough to snatch away a win.
In the ESPN co-feature, Manny “Chato” Robles III forced a ninth round stoppage of Edgar “Kid Neza” Valerio to walk away unbeaten in a match-up of undefeated featherweight prospects. The contest was scheduled for 10 rounds.
Robles, 16-0 (8), countered Valerio throughout a competitive fight. The 24-year-old had Valerio’s jab timed before the first round even ended, and, with the same right hand, dropped his taller counterpart midway through the third. Valerio, 23, got up looking fine, and it even jolted some energy into an offensive start that needed more activity. Leading with his left hook, Valerio was putting everything into his shots but Robles was moving well and forcing Kid Neza to chase and reach him around the ring.
Valerio, 13-1 (8), kept at it with the whipping left hand, and, in the sixth round, it startled Robles backward and his legs wobbled in the process. The moment inspired Valerio into an offensive attack in which some of his best work was displayed. His power right hand was now coming into play but, with a about a minute to go still in the sixth, he seemed to have tired himself out and that gave Robles an opportunity to land a nice right of his own. The tone of the fight changed, once Valerio saw he could hurt Robles, and he proceeded to do it again, with the right hand, to start the seventh. A war suddenly broke out, and the prospects went balls to the wall, hoping to land a final shot, and delivering a span of three minutes to remember.
In the eighth, Valerio’s activity started to slowly fade and Robles looked to have fresh legs, as he started putting on a boxing display. Valerio started the ninth with busy hands but that’s when the counters came back into play for Robles, and, a minute in, he dropped Valerio with a right hand for the second knockdown. Valerio, still trying to find that left hook, caught Robles, once action resumed, but Robles leaned into a right hand, once Valerio looked to press his attack. The shot hurt Valerio and his body leaned on the ropes off the corner. His guard was up but Robles was teeing off on him, as his back scraped down the ropes. Referee Edward Hernandez Sr. rightfully stepped in to stop the fight, and give Robles the technical knockout victory.
In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, Luis Feliciano knocked out Daniel Montoya in the fourth round to earn his seventh pro win. The junior welterweight contest was scheduled for eight rounds.
Feliciano, 7-0 (4), patiently broke his Mexican foe down with tremendous body work, through the first two rounds, and, once he gave Montoya a right hand upstairs, he wasn’t able to brace for the shots. Montoya, 11-7 (8), was tough in those rounds but, at the end of the third, a left hook to the body and head stumbled him backward and he fell to a knee. Once getting up, the bell rang but Feliciano, 25, went in for the kill to start the fourth. After landing a bevy of flush shots to the head and body, a right hand to the solar plexus dropped Montoya to his knees and forced referee Jerry Cantu to immediately wave it off.
A product of Abel Sanchez’s Summit Gym in Big Bear, California, Feliciano – who had Sanchez’s right-hand man Ben Lira in his corner on this night – continues to display a good pro style and all of his knockouts, thus far, are part of his four-fight KO streak. The prospect is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and born to Puerto Rican parents.