This weeks installment of Friday Night Fights was a showcase of very solid Top Rank prospects. The crowd at the Texas Station Casino in Vegas saw some dominant action in the 3 televised fights.
Top Rank has 2 fan friendly fighters on their hands in Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta of the Philippines and the hometown fighter Jesse Magdaleno. Both were super impressive en route to TKO victories.
Jesse Magdaleno started off the televised event against Aldimar Silva Santos of Brazil in an 8 round jr. featherweight bout. In the 1st round Magdaleno was very aggressive and active. He landed at will against Santos. Jesse controlled the pace and dictated the location of the action, it was a very good round for him. With about :10 left he dropped Santos with a combo that started by hurting Santos with a right hand. It was a very dominant round for Magdaleno, 10-9.
The 2nd was going Magdaleno’s way and he finished it. Again he was very aggressive and came out blazing. Seemed like every punch was hard and meaningful. He had Santos near the ropes and after a little flurry landed, a big left sent Santos to the canvas. When the action resumed Magdaleno went back to work, attacking him and forcing him to the ropes. That’s when he finished it. Magdaleno backed him to the ropes again and after a very fast combo that ended with a right Santos crumbled. Referee Robert Byrd jumped in and stopped the fight. The official stop time was 2:54 into the 2nd round. Magdaleno improved to 11-0 with 8KO’s and Santos fell to 17-3 9KO’s.
The second fight of the night was undefeated Jesus Gutierrez battling James Burns scheduled for 4 round in the lightweight division. Gutierrez won the 1st round. He was more aggressive and landed the harder punches. He pressed the action and backed Burns up all round earning a 10-9 round.
The 2nd was going Burns way until about :45 left. Gutierrez landed a few solid shots including a big right and big left at separate occasions, mixed in with a few good combos. As in the 1st the hard significant punches were from Gutierrez. 10-9 round for Gutierrez.
In what started off a close 3rd round turned into all Gutierrez in the last minute. He was by far the harder puncher and he made it clear in each of the first 3 rounds. All round he smothered Burns. He started putting a nice right hand over Burns jab, twice it was very effective for him and he won the round 10-9.
Gutierrez swept all 4 rounds. He pressured Burns the whole round, and pretty much the whole fight. Burns started the 4th off well then slowly died down. Gutierrez won it 10-9
I scored the fight 40-36 all 4 rounds going to Gutierrez. The official judges scorecards were as follows; Robert Bennett 40-36, Robert Hoyle 39-37 and Dave Moretti 40-36. Each judge scored the fight in favor of Gutierrez. Gutierrez remained undefeated 5-0 2KO’s. James Burns is now 1-3 1KO.
The fight of the night that the boxing community wanted to see was a 10 round lightweight contest between Mercito Gesta and Ty Barnett. In the 1st Gesta started off quick, landing hard punches right from the opening bell. With 2 min left the pace slowed. Barnett had some decent work and kept the fight at a distance for a few but Gesta made his way in close enough to land hard punches and win the round. With about :20 left Gesta landed a solid straight left that hurt Barnett. Gesta won the 1st 10-9.
To begin the 2nd, again Gesta started busy and stayed busier. Another left hand at about 1:15 left seemed to hurt Barnett but he held his own. Gesta clearly landed all the harder shots. Barnett landed his best punch of the round, a right straight behind a double jab but Gesta won the round 10-9.
The 3rd started with Barnett keeping distance and working behind his jab. It wasgood work early for Barnett and won the 1st min of the round mixing up his punches but mostly jabs. Gesta seemed to hurt Barnett with a right and when he came in Barnett landed a nice left hook of his own. With a min left Barnett landed a nice right hand and again with :40 left. His right straights landed well for Barnett in the 3rd and he won the round. CompuBox had the power punch numbers 14-8 in the 4th in favor of Barnett. I scored it 10-9 for Barnett.
As the 4th started, it went back to a Gesta fight. Making it messier and getting inside. After the 1st min it went back to a distance that Barnett favored and he worked the jab. About :30 left a hard left turned the tide for Gesta and he put together a few good combos to end the round and win it 10-9
The 5th was Gesta’s from start to finish. He had Barnett in trouble the whole round landing hard left straights and lead right hooks. It was lopsided in power punches landed, 20-8 with Gesta on top. Gesta won the round 10-9.
Gesta went right to work in the 6th stalking Barnett, closing the gap and landing some clean hard punches. He landed a nice right hook over Barnett’s jab a few times that made Barnett scarcely use his jab the rest of the round. All throughout the round Gesta landed nice combinations. Barnett needed way more jab work to keep Gesta at bay. A 10-9 round for Gesta.
To start the 7th Gesta was hot landing a nice hard left straight early to set the tone for the round. Barnett at times kept his jab in Gesta’s face but Mercito still got inside to land his hard shots to win the round 10-9.
8th started off slow for both in the 1st min and a half. Barnett worked his jab and looked his best in rounds. Then Gesta with just about a min left landed a few heavy left hooks. The rest of the round was fought closer with both putting in decent work but Gesta getting the upper hand. Gesta won the round 10-9
The 9th began at a fast pace. A nice right hand hook from Gesta landed that took some legs from Barnett. An aggressive round for Gesta was capped off by 2 late knockdowns. The 1st was with about :15 left and the 2nd was a left hand that landed after the bell to drop Barnett. Even though the punch was in fact after the bell, the ref started his count and Barnett raised to his feet. It was obvious Barnett had zero legs left. His corner gave the headnod and referee Jay Nady stopped it. Gesta scored a TKO 2:59 into the 9th.
The undefeated Gesta added his 14th KO of his career and his record now stands at 26-0-1. Barnett had a rough fight ending the night 20-3-1 13KO’s.
The night went exactly how I thought it would. I figured Magdaleno and Gesta would both win. I’ll admit I didn’t have Magdaleno winning by KO but I did predict Gesta by KO and even picked the right round, the 9th.
Mercito and Jesse are definitely 2 fighters I’m looking forward to seeing more of. I’m sure the audience at the casino and at home would agree with me in saying they are both hard punching, all action, exciting fighters to watch. Let’s see who Top Rank sets them up with next. Hopefully both of their next fights are televised because I’ll be tuning in.