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The boxing world may still have to digest the thought of naming unbeaten lightweight prospect Mercito Gesta (24-0-1, 12 KOs) an elite contender in the division, but his recent solid performance over two-time world title challenger Ricardo Dominguez (34-8-2, 21 KOs) just made his case a plausible act. Gesta has all the things to make him a big star in the immediate future. He is talented, young, and eager to make it to the bigger stage.

But apart from all the gifts that he already has, his contract with Top Rank Promotions, one of the biggest boxing promotional companies in the US, is the young Filipino boxer’s ticket to stardom. Not to mention his growing fan base thanks mainly to fans of Manny Pacquiao who are on the lookout for potential successors once the Pacman calls it a career.

The Mandaue City native, now fighting out of San Diego, California, had a perfect 2011 campaign and will soon get back to the drawing board to plan his 2012 run after his well-deserved vacation in the Philippines, Gesta’s manager and assistant trainer Vince Parra revealed to this writer.

The Dominguez fight was a clear step up in terms of competition, something fans and critics have been clamoring for in a while. For Parra, it is a sign of good things to come from the boxer known as “No Mercy”.

Mercito Gesta shadowboxes while Antonio de Marco trains in the background.

We are looking at a bright 2012 ahead,” Parra told this writer. “Right now, we are working with Top Rank for huge fight in February or March 2012.”

Mercito wants the best lightweights out there,” Parra added.

Many boxing observers (writer included) feel it is too early for Gesta to share the ring with the champions at the 135 house. However, Parra said that that is exactly what they want.

A beltholder for Mercito in February or March. I am working with Top Rank and I believe they will make things happen.

Bruce (Trampler) and Bob (Arum) were pleased with Mercito’s last performance. Team Gesta is confident that Top Rank will give us a title shot early next year.”

If Parra would have his say, he produced three names as the fighters they want for 2012.

Ricky Burns, Brandon Rios, and Antonio de Marco,” Parra said. “Those are the guys we want.”

Burns is the former WBO super featherweight titlist and the current interim WBO lightweight champion, while Rios holds the WBA lightweight title. Rios will be defending his crown against John Murray in the undercard of the Cotto-Margarito II light middleweight title bout. De Marco is the reigning WBC lightweight king and a good friend of Gesta and Parra’s.

Talking about the impact of Gesta’s last win, Parra said lightweight contenders will now think twice about going against his fighter.

His win over Dominguez opened a lot of eyes. I know for a fact that other managers of guys in our division are taking him seriously. But I won’t be surprised if they don’t give us a shot unless they have to.

But Top Rank will take care of that,” Parra said.

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.