Joseph Diaz Jr. vs Mercito Gesta Preview March 18th, 2023
Former IBF Junior Lightweight Champion Joseph Diaz Jr of Downey, California returns to the ring this Saturday, March 18th when he takes on Mercito Gesta of the Philippines in a 12-round lightweight contest. The battle between the two southpaws will be held in Long Beach, California and can be seen live in most nations on DAZN. Diaz dropped a wide 12-round unanimous decision to William Zepeda in October for his second straight loss after losing the same way to Devin Haney 10 months earlier in a shot at the WBC Lightweight Title. Gesta last fought in April when he dropped Joel Diaz Jr in the first round and went on to take a 10-round unanimous decision.
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Diaz Jr. vs Gesta Betting Odds
- Mercito Gesta +400
- Joseph Diaz Jr -600
The 30-year-old Diaz Jr. lost his first world title shot when he dropped a unanimous decision to WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. in May, 2018. He then beat WBA Titleholder Jesus Rojas by unanimous decision three months later but came in overweight for the fight and wasn’t able to win the belt. It was third time lucky for him though when he beat Tevin Farmer for the IBF Super Featherweight Title via unanimous decision in 2020.
He then lost the belt when he failed to make weight against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov in February, 2021 and ended up fighting to a 12-round draw with him. In his following fight he won the WBC interim belt with a unanimous decision over Javier Fortuna but lost it against Devin Haney and was then beaten by Zepeda in his last outing. Diaz was a member of the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team at the 2012 Games in London, England where he went 1-1 as a bantamweight. He also reached the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Amateur Championships.
Diaz turned pro in December, 2012 and has fought 275 rounds since and climbs through the ropes with a mark of 32-3-1 with 15 Ko’s. He has average power in his fists with a with a current knockout ratio of 41.7 per cent and has gone the distance in nine of his last 10 fights. He stands 5-feet-6-inches tall with a 64-inch inch and has also captured the NABF and WBO-NABO Featherweight Titles and the WBA Gold Super Featherweight Crown. He’s also fought Jesus Cuadro, Freddy Fonseca, Victor Terrazas, Rafael Rivera, Manuel Avila, Horacio Garcia, Jayson Velez, Hugo Partida, Rene Alvarado, Roberto Castaneda and Ruben Tamayo.
The 35-year-old Gesta fights out of San Diego and enters the ring with a mark of 33-3-3 with 17 Kos. His power isn’t overwhelming either as his current knockout ratio is 43.6 per cent and has just one stoppage in his last nine outings. His chin is somewhat questionable as he’s been dropped a few times and stopped once. His first loss was by unanimous decision to Miguel Vazquez in a shot at the IBF Lightweight Title in 2012. He didn’t lose again until Jorge Linares beat him by unanimous decision in 2018 in a shot at the WBC Diamond and WBA Lightweight Belts.
His last setback came at the hands of Juan Antonio Rodriguez in the ninth round in 2019. His three draws were a six-round technical decision with Carlos Morales in 2019, 10 rounds with Carlos Molina in 2015 and a two-round technical affair against Rey Llagas in 2005. Gesta turned pro back in 2003 just after he turned 16 years old and has boxed 254 rounds since. He has wins over Martin Honorio, Gilberto Gonzalez, Miguel Angel Mendoza, Ty Barnett, Ricardo Dominguez, Oscar Meza and Jorge Pimentel.
Along the way, he’s won the vacant WBO NABO Youth, and WBO NABO Lightweight Titles. Gesta stands 5-feet-7-inches tall with a 68-inch reach which gives him an inch edge in height and three inches in reach over Diaz. Like Diaz, Gesta’s more of a slugger than a slick boxer and both have fan-friendly styles which should make this an exciting fight.
Diaz and Gesta are both is a tough, aggressive customers with Diaz possessing slightly better boxing skills. He’ll need to work his way inside though without getting nailed while moving in. Gesta is in the twilight of his career at 35 years old and has two wins in his last five fights with two losses and a draw while Diaz has just one win in his last four outings with two straight losses and a draw. Neither boxer can afford a loss here and I think Diaz should be able to do enough to come out on top when all is said and done.
Diaz’s skills and chin should be the difference here.
Play: Diaz Jr -600 @ BetOnline.ag
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