By: Kayla Lewis - Photo courtesy of Chris Farina / Top Rank
"Carpe Diem": a Latin phrase, which in proper English translates to "seize the day." It is a modest motto that reminds people to do things without fear when you get the chance - to seize the moment, the opportunity, to seize the day.
December 8, 2012, was in fact, the most important day in Mercito Gesta’s boxing career. He was finally given the championship title fight he had practically been begging Top Rank for, and the outcome was revealed to be a complete bust. Much unlike the popular Latin saying, Gesta failed to make the moment undoubtedly his.
So what happened?
The general consensus on Gesta’s performance against Miguel Vasquez, was that he never made it his duty to bring the fight to his opponent, who ultimately ended up literally boxing circles around his him. I can’t say this was unexpected, as I personally predicted Gesta to be thoroughly outboxed. But even Team Gesta as a whole knew the kind of fight Vazquez would bring, yet they looked utterly unprepared when fight night came.
Team Gesta had been reported to have been well aware of their Mexican counterpart’s fighting style. Vince Parra, Gesta’s co-manager / co-trainer was quoted in an interview by dSource saying: "We're hoping he shows up the great Mexican warriors of the past, and that he behaves like a warrior instead of a track star ... Mexicans would love to see their champion show up and fight like a warrior, and not run like a marathon runner."
When the fight was made, I figured Vazquez would be too slick, too awkward, and too mobile for Gesta. And just that he was, and I don’t knock him for it. Vazquez's job was to win. Was it necessarily done in a fan-friendly fashion? Maybe not, but regardless, history only ever remembers winners. However, I also knew Gesta wasn’t going to win this fight, if only by a puncher’s chance, but simply because he lacked the experience.
One could ask how a fighter who had been undefeated in 26 fights prior could possibly lack "experience"; a question that even the HBO commentators at the time were asking as they went on to mock, in a ‘playful’ nature, Gesta's performance.
Gesta appeared to be obviously intimidated by Vazquez’s height, reach, movement and just his overall ring generalship. Why? Because even in 26 professional fights, Gesta had never faced an opponent quite like Vazquez. His sub-par performances against what could be considered "C-graded" fighters compelled me to believe even more that he wasn’t ready for a title shot.
Is Gesta’s lack of experience completely his fault? Not necessarily, as in the come up of your career, any fighter will fight whoever is put in front of them, if only just to build their record and credentials. On the other hand, I would have to blame Gesta for seeming to be in an incessant rush to have a chance at grabbing a belt to only end up eating his words when it was all said and done. Be that as it may, I won’t criticize the man for believing in himself either.
At the end of the day, it was an essential learning experience for Gesta as a boxer. He definitely can bounce back and possibly even become better. For some fighters, the first loss can cut the deepest and leave the biggest scar on their career, however losing isn’t always a bad thing.
To revert back to popular mottos, I once read a phrase that sincerely said:
“You never really know victory, until you taste defeat.”
- KL -
Kayla Lewis is a resident featured columnist on dSourceBoxing.com. You can post your comments and feedbacks regarding this article below on our comments section.