Mercito Gesta ended a long layoff with an action-packed decision win over Joel Diaz Jr in a fight that was a terrific reward for those who tuned in for the return of Golden Boy Fight Night on this fine Thursday evening.
Gesta (33-3-3, 17 KO) hadn’t fought since Nov. 2019, and the win is his first since 2018. The 34-year-old Filipino southpaw won on scores of 95-93, 96-92, and 96-92, dropping Diaz (26-3, 22 KO) twice in the opening round, but having to battle through a hard-fought full 10 rounds in the end.
Diaz, 30, hadn’t gone past the fourth round since 2014, when he won a 10-round decision over Tyler Asselstine, and had to dig deep in this one. It looked like he was headed for another stoppage loss early, but he came back as soon as round two, landing good shots on Gesta.
But Gesta was able to take shots better than Diaz overall, and also had the better boxing skills. A two-and-a-half year layoff appeared to refresh Gesta a bit; no one should start confusing him with a top-tier contender at 135 lbs, but there’s still a place in the sport for Gesta, and for Diaz, for that matter.
CompuBox saw Gesta landing 197 of 630 (31.3%) total punches and 174 of 457 (38.1%) power shots. In his blistering first round start, Gesta landed 29 of 67 (43.3%) of his power shots. Diaz, who refused to give up on the fight and made it competitive, came in at 172 of 613 (28.1%) overall, and 134 of 397 (33.8%) on his power punches. At the end of the fifth round, both had landed exactly 99 punches by CompuBox count.
If you missed the fight, good news, it streamed on YouTube so you can rectify that situation. It really is one worth checking out.
Diaz vs Gesta full fight video
In fact, it’s the full card.
But if you only have time for highlights:
Undercard highlights and results
- Jousce Gonzalez TKO-6 Jairo Lopez: Like the rest of the undercard, this was one-sided, but give credit to Lopez (27-15, 17 KO) for hanging in here and giving Gonzalez (12-0-1, 11 KO) some rounds, because Lopez was down in the second, twice in the third, and then was hurt repeatedly after that but just kept doing what he could to stay in it. He didn’t have any zip left on his punches after the fourth round at best, and when Gonzalez snapped his head back on another shot in the sixth, the referee understandably stopped it. Gonzalez, 26, is no mega prospect, but he’s a fighter who could work his way up at 135 lbs.
- Manuel Flores TKO-3 Victor Ruiz: A wipeout win for Flores (12-0, 9 KO) in what they hyped as his hometown, more home area maybe, but he definitely had fans in the venue hyped for him. Flores, a 23-year-old junior featherweight, dominated this from the outset, and dropped Ruiz (23-13, 16 KO) three times in the third round before Ray Corona called it off. A nice Golden Boy debut for Flores; he’s not signed officially, but he looks exactly like the sort of prospect Golden Boy pick up these days.
- Jan Salvatierra TKO-2 Ernie Marquez: This was looking like a very useful matchup for 22-year-old flyweight Salvatierra (8-1, 4 KO), who was coming off of a knockout loss to Fernando Diaz last November, as the 40-year-old Marquez (10-18-2, 3 KO) was giving him some good looks just from the standpoint of being experienced, knowing how to move around the ring, a little awkward. But then Salvatierra dropped him on a body shot and Marquez went down awkwardly, twisting his ankle. When he came up pointing at the ankle wildly, the referee stopped the fight. Marquez begged to be allowed to continue, but the referee made the call basically any ref would in that spot. Stinks for Marquez, who is a good dude and always shows up to fight when called, and Salvatierra was about to get some useful rounds, it seemed, but it happens.
- Jorge Chavez KO-2 Jonathan Tejeda: Chavez (2-0, 2 KO) looks like he’ll settle in at 126 after turning pro at 130 last November. This was an easy outing for him, as he hurt Tejada (0-2) a couple times in the first round and then dropped and stopped him 64 seconds into round two. It was an official, actual KO, with ring announcer Joe Martinez noting that the referee had “reached the count of 10,” though Tejeda tried to make a rise at about 9.2. So it’s an actual KO, not just a California KO, where everything is a KO and they don’t have TKOs on their records, a rule I do not respect nor abide by because I don’t work for the California commission.