By Felipe Leon at ringside
The open air Woodstock Terrace of the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown San Diego, CA, was once again home for professional boxing and an almost sell out crowd as Rogue Boxing Promotions showcased their second fight night in as many months when they presented “Havoc at the Hard Rock II: No Mercy” Friday night. Due to unseen circumstances regarding licensing of fighters, the original five bout fight card dropped down to three bouts. Despite the lack of rounds, the rowdy crowd left the historic Gaslamp Quarter satisfied with the hard packed action they witnessed in the ring.
In the main event, with fireworks erupting from nearby Sea World in the background, Filipino lightweight sensation Mercito Gesta of Chula Vista, CA by way of Cebu city, PI, scored his second straight knockout win stopping Orlando, FL’s Devaris Crayton in the third round of a scheduled eight.
Photos: Rocco Morales
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Unlike his last bout when he tore through Tijuana’s 2008 prospect of the year Alain Hernandez in fourty four seconds of the first round, Gesta began the first round throwing an occasional southpaw jab trying to set up the uppercut from the same hand as Crayton, also a southpaw, tried to read the Filipino’s style. at the 1:30 mark of the round, Gesta caught Crayton against the ropes and unleashed a flurry of punches that trouble penetrating the tight defense of Crayton. Gesta pulled back and took the action to the center of the ring and attacked the body instead as Crayton continued with sporadic punches. In the second, Gesta went back to the jab trying to establish an attack on the fast footed Crayton who circled around the ring as he tried to land the occasional lackadaisal jab to the head or body of Gesta, without committing to any of the punches. As Mercito tried to go on the attack and land a series of punches, Crayton tied up and frustrated Gesta, causing at one point to slip and fall. Near the end of the round, the fight got wild as both fighters began to throw wild punches without many landing until the final bell.
As Gesta tried to create a fight, Crayton kept tying up his opponent slowing down the bout. Crayton did not seem interested in putting up a fight and it was apparent not only to the crowd but to Gesta and more importantly to referee Jose Cobian who as soon as Gesta once again trapped Crayton against the ropes and began to land straight punches, Cobian jumped in front of both fighters calling a halt to the bout. The official time was announced by David Diamante as 1:13 of the third round.
“He wasn’t hard, I was just frustrated because he didn’t want to fight,” Gesta stated immediately in the ring after the fight. “Next time I want to fight somebody with a lot better record.”
With the win, Gesta remain unbeated with a record of 16-0-1, 7KO while Crayton travels back to Florida with an even ledger of 6-6-2, 2KO.
The cool summer night marked the return of southern California amateur standout Angel Estrada (4-0-1, 2KO) of Chula Vista, CA, after a two year hiatus as he faced Rey Ortega (1-6, 1KO) of Oaxaca, MX, in a scheduled four round welterweight bout. Estrada looked a bit rusty after his 24 month layoff as he looked hesitant to let go of and find his distance as Ortega made his way inside to attack the body. At the end of the round, Estrada landed a hard right hand which caused a cut over the left eye of Ortega. Feeling the fight nearing its end because of the cut, Ortega came out guns abazlin’ in the second and took the fight to Estrada as he trapped the crowd favorite against the ropes attacking non stop with his best punch being the uppercut from either fast. Estrada caught up mid way thru the round scoring hard power punches to both the torso and head of Ortega but the tough Oaxaca native fought on until the end of the round.
The exchange of leather continued to begin the third as both fighters landed their own set of body punches that excited the crowd. Half way thru the round Ortega trapped Estrada against the ropes and unleashed a barrage of punches but Estrada was game and responded in kind. Estrada finished off the round hard with a rain of thunder over Ortega. Estrada began the fourth round with a hard right hand that shook Ortega. Ortega continued with what worked from the second round on as he tried to close out the ring and trap Estrada against the ropes but Estrada didn’t fall for the trick and escaped and moved the action to the center of the ring and landed a quick three punch combination. Mid way through the fourth, Ortega succeeded in keeping Estrada against the ropes and unloaded against his opponent but Estrada covered for most of the exchange protecting himself against the punches. A visibly tired Estrada tied to tie up near the end of the round believing that he had the fight in the bag but at the bell unleashed a right hand that stumbled Ortega to end the fight.
Both Alejandro Rochin and Tony Crebs saw the bout 40-36 while Fritz Warner scored it 39-37 all for the undefeated Angel Estrada.
In the first fight of the night, the masked and heavily tattooed middleweight Marcus Upshaw of Jacksonville, FL, covered up Orange County, CA’s Derrick Thomas with a series of left hooks to the face to begin the second round to drop Thomas to the canvas after Thomas controlled much of the first. Thomas beat the count and went after the body of the much taller Upshaw to try to slow down his lankier oppoenent. Upshaw bied his time until he was able to trap Thomas against the ropes and unleashed a both body and head attack that hurt Thomas. Seconds later, Upshaw landed a brutal left hook flush to the jaw of Thomas to send him crashing down to the canvas. David Denkin needed no count to waive off the fight at the mark of the second round of a scheduled four.
With the win, Upshaw goes up to 11-3, 6KO while Thomas drops to 2-8, 1KO.