23-year-old Filipino Mercito Gesta (21-0-1, 11 KO) turned pro in 2003 as a flyweight. Really, he might not be at lightweight anymore, as his last couple of fights have been at or near the junior welterweight limit, but the lightweight division is short on quality prospects, and I'd rather talk about Gesta than the rest of the field. The young southpaw (5'7", 68" reach) just signed a four-year contract with Top Rank.
Like Manny Pacquiao, who also started young and very light, Gesta has put on weight and carries a lot of it in abnormally thick legs for a boxer. But he also has a thicker upper body than Pacquiao. The kid's built like a tank, and lately it's definitely showing in his performances. His KO rate doesn't sell his power and improving technique.
Spotty defensively, and can get really flat-footed. Doesn't have the best speed of hand or foot, and the Pacquiao comparisons end mostly at the fact that they're both: 1) Filipino, 2) left-handed, 3) tree trunk-legged.
Other Lightweight Prospects
Ugandan-born Sharif Bogere (20-0, 12 KO) has one of the most elaborate entrances in all of boxing, and showed some serious grit in a recent bloody, dirty win over Raymundo Beltran. Bogere had troubles in that fight, and it was close in the end, but I think it showed that he can handle a tough fight. That's always a good test for a prospect to pass.
Albuquerque's Archie Ray Marquez (12-0, 8 KO) is one of the better prospects in the division. That says some things, and in my opinion, not good things. New Jersey's Michael Perez (13-0-1, 7 KO) recently tore through a non-game Ira Terry. 20-year-old Hylon Williams Jr (14-0, 3 KO) can box, but can't punch at all.