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Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta Ready To Step Up

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Mercito Gesta (28-1-1, 16 KOs) faces Carlos Molina (17-2-1, 7 KOs) on Thursday, April 30, at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California. The bout will be televised live on Fox Sports 1. Gesta, a former lightweight title challenger, told TSS he considers this junior welterweight opportunity a step-up bout.

“I feel excited fighting Carlos Molina—he’s a tough guy. He’s fought Adrien Broner and Amir Khan. For me to step up and fight a fighter of his caliber—I’m really excited for this fight and I’ve been training hard for it.”

Molina lost a ten round decision to Broner in May 2014. He was stopped in ten rounds by Khan in December 2014.

Gesta, age 27, is a stalking southpaw who fights at his best when he comes forward and throws combinations. He had trouble playing the part, though, against Miguel Vazquez in December 2012. Gesta appeared lost in the bout. Vazquez, then the WBC lightweight champion, easily outpointed Gesta to hand him his first professional loss. “Yeah his style was so awkward. My game plan wasn’t working. I’m not making excuses though. Vazquez fought like that. That’s how he fights. I respect the way he is. I learned a lot about boxing from the fight, not just in the ring but outside.”

One of the things Gesta said he learned after the fight was who was really in his corner. He said some hangers-on suddenly didn’t want much to do with him. He also alluded to his promoter at the time, Top Rank, dumping him after the loss as something he didn’t see coming.

Inside the ring, he learned that he needed to get better as a fighter if he hoped to compete for a world title again. “I learned some techniques I need if I fight a guy like that in the future.”

There are not a lot of fighters like Vazquez. His tall, lanky frame and awkward style is fairly rare in our sport. To his credit, Gesta stopped short of saying he would for sure beat Vazquez if the two met again. He recognizes the strange but effective style of Vazquez as a difficult puzzle to solve. “I want to say I could do better [if I fought him again.] Our game plan would change a little bit, but I won’t say I would win. That’s the way he is. He’s so hard to hit. When he moves…it’s just hard to fight this type of guy.”

Still, Gesta said hopes to prove his worth against Molina, an experienced fighter he believes will provide him with a formidable challenge. “I’m anxious to see how I’m going to do against Molina. I know Broner had a hard time with him. Fighting someone like this makes me more excited. I want to challenge myself.”

Gesta would not reveal his strategy going into the fight, but said he expects Molina to engage often enough for it to be nothing like the Vazquez bout. He said fans should expect a fun fight.

“Molina will really engage, so there will be some times when we go toe-to-toe. But sometimes you need to apply technique, too. It’s going to be a good fight. The fans are really going to love it.”

While Molina is at his best when he is the aggressor, he said one of the things he learned against Vazquez was that there is more than one way to win a fight.

“Sometimes, you just need to move. You can’t stand still in the ring. In boxing, you have to be smart.”

Gesta said his future could be in either the 140- or 135-pound divisions. He said he can still easily make lightweight limit and that he would seek the best fight possible for his career after facing Molina. “First, I need to pass this test. I have to beat Molina. But if I do good and win good, maybe I can look for another title fight. But it all depends on the promoter. We’ll just have to see what happens.”

After a two-year stint as a free agent, the fighter signed exclusively with Golden Boy Promotions in January 2015. He said he was happy with his decision and excited about his future. “Their plan is good. We love the way they think and the plan for our future and my career. So all I have to do is train hard and do my best in the ring.”

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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