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After being on the receiving end of harsh criticisms of fighting tin cans and bottom feeders, unbeaten lightweight prospect Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (23-0-1, 12 KOs) is going to make a statement. And a very loud one at that.

The native of Mandaue City, Philippines, who now fights out of San Diego, California, will figure in a double-headliner event for Top Rank Live at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on the eve of the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez trilogy. This time, Gesta will be going up against his best opponent to date.

Mexico’s Ricardo Dominguez (34-7-2, 21 KOs) is a two-time world title challenger, who vied for the WBC and IBF lightweight titles on two separate occasions last year but failed on both instances. The first time was against Humberto Soto back in June 2010 and the most recent was versus Miguel Vazquez in November. Both fights went the distance.

Mercito Gesta will be taking on Ricardo Dominguez, a two-time world title contender, on November 11th.

Dominguez also shared the ring with other top names of the lightweight division, including reigning WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios and former world title contender Zahir Raheem. The Mexican lost to both fighters as well.

Gesta’s upcoming bout with Dominguez will be the third fight for the Filipino as a Top Rank fighter.  The Bob Arun-owned promotional outfit has been vocal about possibly pushing for a major title fight for Gesta next year. Transparently, a convincing win over the very tough Rodriguez is a must.

At one point, Arum has declared Gesta as the “next Manny Pacquiao”

But Dominguez is no pushover, who has been perfect in his 2011 campaign, winning two fights in a row with his last fight ending in a 3rd-round TKO victory back in July. It has also been three years since Dominguez dropped a match by stoppage, a 1st-round KO loss to Raheem in 2008.

Beating Dominguez emphatically will definitely boost Gesta’s stock value in the boxing world and will significantly increase his chances of getting cracks at the lightweight division’s top tier residents.

For now, though, fans can only relish at the fact that finally, the Pinoy lightweight sensation is stepping up to the plate.

Photo credits: SD Fights

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Kenneth P. Ragpala is an award-winning sports blogger who has been covering the sport of boxing since 2008. His works have appeared in local newspapers in his home city in Cagayan de Oro and in several online publications abroad. Ragpala has written for several boxing websites, namely Fight Hype, 8 Count News, and Bleacher Report.