Jorge Linares too classy for Mercito Gesta in Los Angeles
Last Updated: 28/01/18 8:58am
WBA lightweight world champion Jorge Linares retained his title after out-pointing Mercito Gesta at the Los Angeles Forum.
It was a third successful defence for Linares and a 14th straight victory for the classy Venezuelan, who was given a unanimous decision.
Linares landed the harder and cleaner punches throughout and won almost every round on the scorecards, two judges scoring the fight 118-110 and one giving it to the champion 117-111.
In his previous three fights, Linares had impressed in twice beating Anthony Crolla before claiming a split decision over another Brit, Luke Campbell.
He chipped away at Gesta's defences during the first five rounds here, before upping his attack in the middle rounds, landing some powerful combinations in the seventh.
Gesta played the showman early in the fight, smiling widely whenever Linares landed a hard blow to the head, but his grin had turned to a grimace in later rounds as the punches piled up.
Linares suffered a cut around his right eye in the eighth and fought with blood flowing from the gash for the rest of the round, but his team in the corner were able to stop it from bothering him for the remainder of the fight.
"I didn't really feel his power," said Linares. "But I hurt my hand in the fourth or fifth round.
"There wasn't a knockout because he was well prepared."
He improved his record to 44-3 with 27 KO's while Gesta (31-2-2) again fell short in a title fight, having lost to Miguel Vazquez in 2012.
"I fought against a world champion," said Gesta. "He adjusted well to my style after the first couple of rounds."
Linares is hoping this victory puts him in line for a unification fight against Mikey Garcia or a battle with Ukrainian champion and 2017 fighter of the year Vasyl Lomachenko.
In a welterweight fight on the same card, Lucas Matthysse broke through in the middle rounds against Thailand's Tewa Kiram, scoring an eighth-round knockout victory.