MERCITO Gesta gets another crack at a world title as he challenges champion Jorge Linares on Sunday (Manila time) for the World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight crown at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Gesta, 30, is a heavy underdog in the 12-round fight, a role the Filipino southpaw said he’ll use as motivation to win in his second attempt at a world championship.
“He’s been talking already about a different opponent,” said Gesta in an interview with BoxingScene.com as Linares and his camp had been discussing about a future meeting with top pound for pound fighter Vasyl Lomachenko in the days heading to his showdown with the native of Mandaue City, Cebu.
“If that’s the case, that’ll benefit me because he’s overlooking me,” added Gesta. “I don’t know about his training, if he is taking it seriously, because I’m taking it seriously. I’m the challenger and I want that belt so bad. I hope he’s ready, because I’m ready to give war in the ring.”
Gesta came in at 134.8 lbs. during the official weigh-in on Saturday (Manila time), while the Venezuelan champ tipped in at 135 lbs.
The Filipino, who holds a 29-1-2 record with 16 KOs and now trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, lost in his initial shot at a world title after absorbing a unanimous decision at the hands of Miguel Vazquez for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight belt.
He has since racked up five wins and a draw to challenge the 32-year-old Linares for his title.
“Mercito Gesta is a good, fast boxer with a great record, that can take a punch. A boxer that has earned what he wants,” said Linares of his challenger.
“Now things change, he is going up against an experienced fighter and we will give a great show,” added the Venezuelan, who was also once handled by Roach.
Holder of a 43-3 record (27 KOs), Linares is defending his WBA crown for the third time.