Mercito Gesta (proper) scored an vital victory by outpointing former 130-pound titleholder and light-weight contender Joseph Diaz Jr. (left). Photograph / Golden Boy – Cris Esqueda
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Mercito Gesta wished to begin the brand new chapter of his profession with a win.
Holding his new child child, Gesta heard the excellent news, successful by split-decision over Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz Saturday night time at Walter Pyramid on the grounds of California State College, Lengthy Seaside.
One choose scored the bout 97-93 for Diaz, whereas the opposite two judges scored the bout 98-92 and 99-91 for Gesta, who improves to 34-3-3, 17 knockouts.
The struggle between Diaz and Gesta, each of whom are promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, was a conflict of southpaw veterans, and each let their arms go all through the struggle, offering motion for the close to sell-out crowd.
In what each fighters known as a “must-win”, Mercito Gesta topped JoJo Diaz in a decent contest 👊#DiazJrGesta | @autozone pic.twitter.com/MkrtsOmWKJ
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) March 19, 2023
Diaz and Gesta had their moments through the first two rounds, however Gesta took extra of the initiative to open the third spherical, throwing and touchdown mixtures to the pinnacle of Diaz. Gesta was capable of join with straight left arms that cut up the guard of Diaz. The rally was short-lived as Diaz pinned Gesta in opposition to the ropes and constantly landed two-punch mixtures or counter left crosses to the pinnacle of Gesta.
Diaz walked Gesta down, starting within the fourth spherical. The tactic labored as Diaz was capable of land extra punches and put Gesta on the defensive.
In the course of the center rounds, Gesta threw lead left arms that linked to Diaz’s head. Undeterred, Diaz continued to stroll Gesta down, making an attempt to combine his assault by throwing hooks to the physique. The extra Diaz would press, at occasions, Gesta would make the most of lateral motion to make the previous titleholder miss and counter.
By the eighth spherical, it was Gesta who was boxing from the middle of the ring. Gesta outboxed Diaz throughout sequences, even shifting out of Diaz’s vary as Diaz tried to land a 3rd or fourth punch.
Each fighters let their arms go to begin Spherical 10. Diaz and Gesta linked with punches to the pinnacle throughout exchanges. Diaz principally outboxed Gesta through the second half of the spherical, however Gesta rallied over the past 10 seconds. After the bell sounded to finish the spherical, each fighters embraced within the heart of the ring.
“I’ve a variety of respect for ‘JoJo,” mentioned Gesta after the struggle. “I noticed how motivated he was earlier than and early on within the struggle. He wished to offer me a troublesome struggle. He’s a superb fighter.
“I wanted to be sensible. That is boxing. I needed to be tactical for this struggle. I listened to my nook. This win means loads to me. I’m beginning a brand new chapter in my life. I’ve a child.”
Gesta is now unbeaten in his final three fights since his knockout loss to Juan Antonio Rodriguez in March 2019. He’s a two-time light-weight title challenger.
Diaz (32-4-1, 15 KOs), who grew up in close by South El Monte, was diplomatic in defeat, even asserting that Saturday night time’s struggle in opposition to Gesta was his final beneath a Golden Boy banner.
“It was an in depth struggle,” mentioned Diaz, who’s a former IBF junior light-weight titleholder. “I assumed I dictated the tempo. I assumed I damage him within the third or fourth spherical. I used to be touchdown good hooks to the physique.
“I assumed I did sufficient (to win). It’s what it’s. I simply have to return to the drafting board. I’m a (promotional) free agent. We’ll see what’s subsequent for me on the market.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has coated boxing in Southern California and overseas since 2000. Francisco additionally covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He could be reached at [email protected]