Mercito and Manny Win

Photo by Tom Hogan

Mercito Wins and Robles Too at Fantasy Springs

By Tarrah Zael

Los Angeles locals headed to the desert to watch future boxing prospects take the next step in their professional careers.

Mercito Gesta bounced back from his loss against Jorge Linares, in a ten-round lightweight bout for the NABO title against Roberto Manzanarez at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA.

Gesta (32-2-2, 17 KOs) won the majority decision over Manzanarez (35-2, 28 KOs), with the judges scoring the fight at 95-95, 96-94, 96-94.

“I felt I won this fight. I dominated more rounds than Gesta,” says Manzanarez, “I kept him at a distance and controlled the pace”. Notably, Manzanarez used his distance and height to his advantage against his southpaw opponent. But, it was Gesta who eventually figured him out with his clean shots and combinations.

When Gesta did make his move, it was clear his punches were connecting and hard. Multiple times both fighters got caught up in the clinch or feet were tangled in the earlier rounds, but after a few rounds both learned to adjust to each other.

The fight was close and interesting to watch as the two faced multiple difficulties including height and fight stance. It was a challenge for Gesta, “Im surprised he moved so much. I was really eager to cut the distance and hit him. Freddie (Roach) told me I needed to land more combinations” says Gesta. Still, this win for Gesta is a step in the right direction. For Manzanarez, “I want the rematch”.

In the co-main event, two Southern Californian rivals Manny Robles lll (16-0, 8 KOs) and Edgar Valerio (13-1, 8 KOs) duked it out for the vacant NABF Featherweight title in a scheduled 10-round bout. Both fighters were currently undefeated heading into the ring, which meant one would have to take home the first loss in their professional career.

Both fighters showcased their skill and power as they exchanged strong blows in the first couple of rounds. From the look of Robles face, after he successfully connected a harsh combination on Valerio, he knew he was going to win the fight at that moment. Robles perfectly landed a short-left hook that knocked Valerio to the floor.

Valerio took the fight into his own hands by working on his skill and connecting body shots, making sure Robles didn’t get too comfortable without the work. He finally got his revenge when he struck a quick left hook on Robles chin, causing him to stumble backwards on the canvas. But, like the warrior he is, Robles recovered the next round.

With a fast right hand to the chin, Valerio’s knees buckled beneath sending him straight to the floor. Valerio collected himself for a quick moment but Robles’ forward flurry of punches eventually caught him again with a right hand. After several punches and no return from Valerio the referee stopped the fight at 2:31 in the ninth round. “(Valerio) hurt me with that right hand because I got careless, but thanks to my conditioning I recovered quickly”, says Robles after his win.

Other Bouts

Former five-time U.S National amateur champion Luis Feliciano delivered an unforgiving left hook blow to the body then to the head forcing his opponent to take a knee in the third round of the super lightweight battle. Puerto Rico’s Feliciano (7-0, 4 KOs) attacked Mexico’s Daniel Montoya (11-7, 8 KOs) as he floored him again with three body shots then two more to the head. With only 50 seconds into the fourth round, the referee immediately stepped in and stopped the fight. Feliciano, the more skilled fighter of the two, rightfully continues his undefeated professional record. “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” says Feliciano.

Herbert “Ace” Acevedo (15-2, 6 KOs) native of Kansas and David Thomas (6-3-1,2-1 KOs) of Texas battled it out in a super lightweight bout. Both fighters came into the rounds looking to come out on top but Thomas was no match for Acevedo. Acevedo started the first round breaking down his opponent with strong body shots heard all the way to the crowd. He continued to break Thomas down by staying calm in the middle of the ring, perfectly sitting down and delivering amazing power punches. “I hurt my hand in the first/second round but I fought through it”, says Acevedo, however, his power stayed the same throughout the fight like a true warrior. After six rounds, three judges scored the fight 58-56, 59-55, 60-54 all in favor by unanimous decision for Acevedo.

Opening the show, a technical knockout victory was won by Indio’s Luis Arcon (2-0, 2 KOs) against Mexico’s Ricardo Fernandez (3-9-4) in a scheduled four-round super lightweight battle. Arcon dominated in the first two rounds, and the bout was forced to be cut short from Fernandez’ corner after the second round ended.

Photo by Tom Hogan