Mercito Gesta’s world title hopes may have vanished on Thursday night.
Mercito Gesta was expected to win on Thursday night in Hollywood, and with a win, his shot at a third world title opportunity was still alive.
But Juan Antonio Rodriguez had other plans, stopping Gesta in the ninth round to score an upset on the first edition of Golden Boy DAZN Thursday Night Fights, a title that, again just slides off the ol’ tongue.
Mexico’s Rodriguez (30-7, 26 KO) hadn’t fought since June 2017, so he was clearly lined up as a win for Filipino Gesta (32-3-2, 17 KO), a southpaw who bounced from Top Rank to Golden Boy between failed world title shots against Miguel Vazquez in 2012 and Jorge Linares in 2018.
Rodriguez was meant to be a win for Gesta, who could possibly position himself in line for a shot at the WBC lightweight title in time, but it just wasn’t to be. Gesta was stopped standing at the ropes at 2:55 of the ninth round.
“I want to thank God. I want to thank my sponsors back home,” said Rodriguez. “I felt it was a matter hitting him to the body until he collapsed, and he did. It was a matter of time until he quit, and he quit. He stopped throwing punches.”
Gesta, despite the obvious and monumental setback, isn’t giving up on anything.
”It was a good fight,” said Gesta. “The guy was tough. He fought hard. No excuses from me. What’s next? I want whatever is best for me. I’m a fighter, and I love challenges.”
The co-feature was another upset, as welterweight Blair Cobbs (10-0-1, 6 KO) knocked off Ferdinand Kerobyan (11-1, 6 KO) via unanimous decision over eight rounds, on scores of 77-75, 77-75, and 79-73.
“Tonight I showed I’m an elite fighter pulling off an incredible win in my opponents’ hometown,” said Cobbs. “I give him a lot of credit for hanging in there. He was very tough, but I showed I was the superior fighter. I’m ready to fight all the top welterweight contenders that stand in my way toward my run to a world title.”
Featherweight Manuel “Tino” Avila (23-1-1, 8 KO) also was upset in a way, not losing but going to an eight-round draw with Jose Santos Gonzalez (23-7-1, 13 KO). It was Avila’s first fight since Nov. 2017.
“The fight was close,” said Avila. “I slowed down in the later rounds. If the people thought it was a bad decision, we can do it again.”
”It was a good fight. I think I won,” said Gonzalez. “We want an immediate rematch. I have to knock him out him out in the rematch if I want to get the decision.”
- James Wilson D-6 Miguel Cubos (58-56, 57-57, 57-57 — another favorite who didn’t get the W, with Wilson dropping to 7-0-1 (6 KO) and Cubos going to 13-20-1 (10 KO))
- David Mijares UD-6 Antonio Sanchez (60-54, 60-54, 60-54)
- Oscar Acevedo UD-4 Daniel Bastien (39-37, 39-37, 40-36)
- Chris Ousley KO-1 Jorge Munguia