Jorge Linares won his 13th straight fight and made another successful defense of his WBA lightweight title, outpointing Mercito Gesta over 12 rounds tonight on HBO Boxing After Dark.
Linares (44-3, 27 KO) didn’t have any real trouble here, which was pretty much the expectation coming in. That’s not to say that Gesta (31-2-2, 17 KO) didn’t give his best effort, just that he was outclassed by the superior fighter as the fight wore on.
Official scores were 117-111, 118-110, and 118-110. BLH had it 116-112 and 119-109 for Linares.
Gesta started pretty well in the fight, but Linares’ team had said their plan was to sort of feel it out for three rounds and then get to work, and that’s about what happened. Gesta arguably stole a round or two later in the bout, but the fight was Linares’, and when he did possibly drop rounds, it felt like he was all but taking the round off, playing it safe and conserving energy. At no point did Gesta feel like a real threat to actually win.
It wasn’t the most thrilling performance of Linares’ career, to be fair, but he got the job done as he looks for a bigger fight, perhaps against super featherweight titleholder and pound-for-pound top contender Vasyl Lomachenko, or against Mikey Garcia, who fights for a 140-pound title in March.
If he can’t land either of those fights, there are certainly other options for Linares at 135 pounds, including a potential rematch with Luke Campbell, maybe in the United Kingdom, which was mentioned on the HBO broadcast.