INDIO, Ca.-Former world title challengers Mercito Gesta and Carlos Molina may have been fighting for their promotional lives on Thursday and gave the fans a thrill despite ending in a draw.
A crowd at Fantasy Springs saw Molina (17-2-2, 7 Kos) and Gesta (28-1-2, 16 Kos) use every skill in their vast repertoire to find a way toward victory in their junior welterweight match. But after 10 rounds it was apparent they were evenly matched.
Molina jumped out ahead with the very first punch thrown—a left hook he fired when Gesta attempted to shake hands though they had already shaken hands. For some reason the Filipino boxed orthodox instead of southpaw and he paid for it as he ate left hooks from Molina.
Gesta turned things around in round three when he switched to southpaw and slowed down Molina’s attack. Though it was a close round, it was the San Diego boxer’s best round.
In the past Gesta was matched with slower fighters where he was often the much quicker boxer, but Molina had no problem matching blows. If anything, Gesta might have seemed slow after he fought the much faster Amir Khan two years ago.
Little by little Gesta began finding a way to land his punches. Molina’s reddened face showed the impact of his opponent’s blows. But neither fighter was ever hurt. Stunned maybe, but never hurt.
A few times Gesta landed solid blows on Molina and would step back to see the impact. While inspecting the supposed damage he would absorb counter rights and lefts. He never did stop admiring his handiwork. It may have cost him the fight.
Even in the 10th and final round Gesta landed a combination and stopped to see the affect. Molina retaliated with his own counters and seemed to seal the last round for himself. All three judges saw a different fight. One judge scored it 98-92 for Molina, another 96-94 for Gesta and a third saw it 95-95 even. The battle between title contenders ended in a draw.
Ireland’s Jason Quigley (6-0, 6 Kos) and Joshua Snyder (9-12-1) didn’t need prodding to start swinging. As soon as the bell rang both were firing body shots and head blows rapid fire. But Quigley’s punches were simply harder and faster right from the start. In round two Quigley simply beat Snyder to the punch with a left hook and right cross that turned him around. After that another of the same combination sent him to the floor with a thud. The referee Pat Russell didn’t need to count. It was over. A replay of the blows showed head-snapping power from Quigley’s blows.
“I’m lucky to have fans that have followed me since my amateur days,” Quigley said, adding that he will be attending the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight on Saturday in Las Vegas. “Irish fans are very loyal. It’s a small country but fans are very loyal.”
L.A.’s Rafael Gramajo (3-1, 2 Kos) scored his second career knockout with a barrage of blows that sent Puerto Rico’s Luis Cosme (8-7-1) sinking to the ring mat at 1:07 of the first round in their super bantamweight fight.
Brazil’s Yamaguchi Falcao (6-0, 2 Kos) remained undefeated but Gerardo “Tin Tin” Ibarra (14-3, 8 Kos) took his pound of flesh in their middleweight showdown. Falcao started quick and used his speed to jump to an early lead. But once Ibarra figured out the Brazilian’s moves he began timing him and used old school moves to get inside and punish the body and head. Ibarra had his best rounds in the last two rounds as he dug into Falcao’s body with punishing shots. Then he blasted right hands off Falcao’s head but it was too late. The Brazilian did show resilience and a good chin. So did Ibarra. All three judges scored it 78-74 for Falcao.
Ruslan Madiyev (4-0, 2 Kos), who trained in Big Bear Lake with Abel Sanchez, defeated San Antonio’s Christian Santibanes (3-4, 2 Kos) by technical knockout at 2:14 of round three in a junior welterweight bout. Madiyev caught Santibanes with a lead right that wobbled the Texan. He followed up with a barrage of blows including a shove but Santibanes weathered the storm. Then a body shot and a combination to the body and head influenced the referee to stop the fight. Santibanes had a good second round when he set up Madiyev for a right uppercut. But rounds one and three went to the Russian.