By Sean Wippert at ringside in Las Vegas: The Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino was the site for yet another chronicle in Top Rank’s Friday Night Fights.
True to form, Top Rank had once again showed why they are so well known for their ability to showcase the best the sport has to offer. On this very special night two of the best Super Featherweights in the business were set to square off for a chance to take home the NABF Super Featherweight Title.
The challenger, New York native Emmanuel “El Carnicero” Lucero, was looking to improve on his last few appearances inside the ring. The east coast fighter had had mixed results in his previous 10 fights, losing half since a 2004 knockout loss to Ponce DeLeon. Standing in his way was Las Vegas favorite and current NABF Super Featherweight Champion Diego Magdeleno. The undefeated Magdaleno was coming off a trio of knockout wins in his last 5 fights and was looking to add to his collection.
From the opening bell it was the champion Magdaleno who was on the attack. He looked like a man on fire, pressing Lucero and ripping into him with an unbelievably fast hit and run strategy. The speed and intensity was so much so that when Lucero did respond, it was as though he was in a lower gear that his Magdaleno. The champion seemed to relish this fact, taking full advantage by launching a continual stream of offense through the first few rounds.
As the fight entered the midway point the shots from Magdaleno began taking their toll on the challenger’s body. Lucero’s foot speed slowed as he became more of a stationary target as the minutes ticked away. Blood also began flowing from his nose, spilling out and covering how once pearlescent white trunks. This trend continued on into the later rounds as the fight had turned into a very one sided affair.
As the final seconds of the fight ticked away it was very apparent that Magdeleno was on his way to yet another successful title defense. He had dominated his opponent in just about every way possible. For his efforts he was awarded the win with the scores of 100-89, 100-88 and 100-87. He retains his title and improves his undefeated record to 21-0 with 7 knockouts. With the painful loss, Lucero heads back to New York with a respectable record of 26-8-1 with 14 ko’s.
In the end it really just seemed like this fight was a case of two different fighters on two completely different skill levels. Lucero showed a lot of heart and a chin that just refused to quit. Unfortunately for him he ran into someone whose talents negated that.
The co-main event of the evening featured a pair of very talented fighters looking to take the next steps in the Lightweight Division. Standing in the blue corner and hailing from Culiacan Sinaloa, Mexico was the always tough Ricardo Dominguez. The Mexican native brought with him an impressive record of 34-6-2 with a daunting 21 ko’s. Across from and carrying a record of 23-0-1 with 12 ko’s was the very dangerous Philipino fighter Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta.
Early on it was Gesta who came out firing, attacking with an exceptionally aggressive style. His opponent responded and the combined offense removed the need for any sort of early feel out round. This pace and tempo kept up through the next few rounds with Gesta pressing the action and controlling his opponent. Dominguez tried to counter this but found himself eating copious amounts of leather in return. Gesta’s damage came to a head when a viscous left hook jolted Dominguez, dropping him to a knee for the fights first standing 8 count.
The middle rounds of the bout saw a departure from the Gesta’s blistering offensive pace as he morphed into a countering machine. He began lure Dominguez in, lowering the hammer whenever Dominguez seemed to take the bait. The slowed tempo only added to Gesta’s ability to dominate his opponent. Round after round Gesta looked unaffected by just about anything Dominguez threw at him.
As the fight drew to a close it was all too clear that Gesta was on his way to yet another win. He closed things out with an exchange of wild haymakers that nearly landed. With the final bell sounding, there was little question in the minds of all in attendance who was the victor. The judges saw it the same way, awarding the fight to Gesta with unanimous scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-92. The impressive win moves him to an 24-0-1 with 12 ko’s, dropping Dominguez in the process to a very respectable 34-7-2 with 21 ko’s.
While it may not have had the weight of a title bout, the co-main event of the evening seemed to carry an eerily heightened intensity in the air. From the crowds constant “No Mercy!” caws to the buzz ignited by the flurries of Gesta, everything about this bout just felt larger than advertised. Both men furthered this feel with a performance that was very worthy of the billing and then some. Even with all this there really wasn’t any time when there was any doubt who was winning the fight. The dangerously fast and exceptionally hard punching Gesta just never appeared to be affected by his opponents’ offense. All in all it was a very entertaining undercard and one that did much to wet the audience’s appetite as they awaited the main event.
November 11, 2011