MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxer Mercito "No Mercy" Gesta is in for a tough night when he challenges Jorge Linares for the WBA lightweight title later this month, but his coach has reason to be optimistic.
Gesta is now trained by Freddie Roach, the same trainer who helped Filipino boxing icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao become a legend in the sport.
Speaking to Boxing Scene, Roach said Gesta was "definitely getting ready" for the bout at the Forum in Inglewood, California on Jan. 27.
It will mark the second time that Gesta challenges for a world title. He failed in his first attempt, bowing to Miguel Vazquez in 2012 – the first loss of his career. Since then, he has won 5 of his next 6 bouts, with the other result a draw against Carlos Molina in 2015.
Roach is upbeat that Gesta's second world title fight will end up better than the previous one.
"We're going over a lot of strategy," he revealed. "We started sparring, and it went well."
"We still have a lot of time to work a little more. He's looking good so far," Roach added.
Gesta, who was born in Cebu but is now based in the United States, is no stranger to Linares. He was a former sparring partner of the Venezuelan boxer, and he is counting on that familiarity to give him at least a slight advantage come fight time.
"Although he has improved, I know him well," Gesta said in a previous interview.
This, combined with Gesta's strong work during their training camp, gives Roach reason to be positive of the result of the fight against Linares.
"I feel we can win this fight," the multi-awarded trainer said. "This is a good opportunity for us, and we have to take advantage of it as much as we can."
Gesta will carry a professional record of 31 wins, 1 loss, and 2 draws to the bout. Linares, meanwhile, has a 43-3 win-loss record.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)