It’s hard not to filter everything leading up to Saturday into a proxy for the forthcoming Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao battle, which means that, if on the Thursday before the fight, there’s a Filipino boxer on TV, you wonder whether his outcome says anything for his countryman Pacquiao’s chances.
So when we got a draw between junior welterweights Mercito Gesta and Carlos Molina, you have to throw that kind of nonsense out the window. Gesta got a draw… Pacquiao might, too? Gesta-Molina was a very nice battle… Mayweather-Pacquiao might be, too?
Yeah, maybe it’s wise to just judge the fight, which aired on Fox Sports 1, independently.
Gesta-Molina had potential on paper, and it delivered. Molina started fast, putting a lot of pressure on Gesta. It was probably a good thing for both men. Gesta, at his worst, is too tentative, and he had no choice but to engage with Molina, who also had his best chance of winning by outworking Gesta. So, in most of the early rounds, Molina landed more, although Gesta sometimes landed better.
In the middle rounds, Gesta started exerting control, and not getting outworked so badly. The damage was accumulating on Molina’s face. So around the 8th, he and Gesta flipped roles. For the rest of the fight, Gesta was mostly throwing more punches, but Molina was landing the most crowd-pleasing right hands.
In the end, the judges had it 98-92 for Molina, 96-94 for Gesta and 95-95. This writer scored it 97-93, well aware that it was probably closer than that, and the 98-92 scorecard looks off. But it was the kind of result that, thanks to good action and good competition, makes both men look better than coming in to the fight.
(Gesta, left, Molina, right; Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions)