MERCITO Gesta was outclassed for 12 full rounds by Jorge Linares and failed in his bid to wrest the World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight title on Sunday at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
The 30-year-old Filipino never got untracked in the fight which the champion from Venezuela dominated from the third round onwards to win by unanimous decision, 118-110, 118-110, 117-111.
Gesta lost in his second world championship bid after likewise coming short in 2012 against Miguel Vazquez in a fight for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight belt.
He fell to a 31-2-2 record (17KOs) and lost for the first time since that setback against Vazquez in 2012 in the undercard of the fourth meeting between legends Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Linares meanwhile, improved to 44-3 (27KOs) after his third successful title defense. The Venezuelan also remains on track for a possible unification match with top pound-for-pound fighter Vasyl Lomachenko.
Linares said Gesta never hurt him.
“I didn’t feel his punches. I hurt my hand in the fourth round,” he said. “I couldn’t land the punches as I wanted. But I took it easy. I was relaxed in there.”
The Venezuelan also had some choice words to former trainer Freddie Roach, who handles the native of Mandaue, Cebu.
“Freddy (Roach) is supposed to be the best trainer in the world. I beat his fighter,” said Linares, 32. “Freddy said Gesta was going to beat me with the left hook and he never landed it.”
Romero Duno earlier gave the Filipinos something to cheer about after a stunning first round knockout of Yardley Armenta Cruz of Mexico in the undercard.
Duno finished the job early as he improved to 16-1 overall, with 14 KOs.