Jr. Welter Contenders Carlos Molina and Mercito Gesta Battle at Fantasy Springs

If you’re a boxing fan then you’re going to get plenty to see this week.

Don’t overlook the fight card in the Southern California desert, when two former world title challengers, Carlos Molina (17-2-1, 7 Kos) and Mercito Gesta (28-1-1, 16 Kos) tangle on Thursday, April 30, at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio.

Fox Sports 1 will televise.

Molina is the oldest of the fighting Molina brothers, who did most of their early boxing prep at Commerce Boxing Club. It used to be the home to many of the most outstanding amateur boxers in the country.

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Aside from brothers Javier and Oscar Molina, who respectively represented the US Olympic and Mexican Olympic teams, Commerce Boxing Club also produced Francisco “Panchito” Bojado and Elizabeth Quevedo, who excelled as amateurs in both national and international competition.

Carlos Molina, 29, was right there in the middle of that boxing group that was feared for years in amateur tournaments. His battles with Oxnard’s Mikey Garcia were something to behold during his amateur days.

As a pro, Molina has shown his technique is equal to anyone in the pro ranks with win after win that led him to a welterweight challenge against England’s Amir Khan at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles in late 2012. The speedy Khan prevailed in that match. Then Molina was dealt Adrien Broner last May 2014. He lost by decision but showed he could stand up to a former welterweight world champion.

Gesta, 27, is a speed southpaw who got his title opportunity against Miguel Vazquez, then the WBC lightweight world champion before he got robbed by decision fighting Mickey Bey. Gesta was puzzled and frustrated by Vazquez’s style of fighting and was beaten soundly. But against all other competition the Filipino prizefighter with the nickname of “No Mercy” Gesta has terrorized all other lightweights and junior welterweights. He knocked out Ty Barnett several years back in Las Vegas.

Both now fight as junior welterweights. With Gesta recently signing with Golden Boy Promotions it’s a naturally good match up for a couple of contenders. It’s a fight that could fly under the radar but should prove very interesting when they meet Thursday night.

Other fights

A couple of middleweight bouts are included on the fight card, including Brazilian Olympian Yamaguchi Falcao (5-0, 2 Kos), a left-handed slickster meeting Gerardo Ibarra (14-2, 8 Kos) of Houston, who’s itching to prove his back-to-back losses were an aberration. Falcao had some problems in his last fight at Belasco Theater. Ibarra could be able to slip the rug from Falcao’s undefeated record.

In the other middleweight contest Ireland’s southpaw Jason Quigley (5-0, 5 Kos) has dominated the competition since turning pro. Nobody has survived three rounds with the quick-fisted and agile Quigley, who hails from Ballybofey, Ireland. He now trains in Southern California and was seen recently sparring at Shane Mosley’s Big Bear training camp.

Others on the fight card are undefeated youngsters Ruslan Madiev, Neeco Macias and Emilio Sanchez.

Fernando Vargas sighting

Former junior middleweight world champion Fernando “El Feroz” Vargas will attend the fight card and be available to meet fans on Thursday.

Vargas is one of the iconic Southern California fighters whose magnetic personality and gutsy performances gained him a massive following that still exists today.

His wins over Yory Boy Campas, Ike Quartey and tremendous performance against Puerto Rico’s Felix “Tito” Trinidad made his army of followers grow like weeds. Vargas feared no fighter and now has a gym in North Las Vegas. Nobody was a more fan friendly fighter than “El Feroz.” Be sure to look for Vargas. One of the greats.

For more information call (800) 827-2946.

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