Mercito Gesta's journey back to getting another world title shot took a major step back with his latest fight on March 21.
In the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions card from The Avalon in Hollywood, Gesta suffered his second loss in his last three fights by getting knocked out by Juan Antonio Rodriguez in the ninth round. At the time of the stoppage, Rodriguez was ahead on two of the three judges scorecards, both with scores of 77-75 while the third judge had Gesta winning 77-75, creating one of the biggest upsets of the year thus far.
Gesta had been hoping to return to a point where he can challenge for a world title once more. Gesta was unsuccessful in 2012 when he fought for the IBF title and in 2018 when he lost to Jorge Linares with the WBA title on the line.
Rodriguez had not fought since June 2017 when he lost a 10-round decision to Pedro Campa in Mexico. The 31-year-old Rodriguez had previous encounters in the ring against notable names such as Billy Dib, Jezreel Corrales and Javier Fortuna.
Also on the undercard, Blair Cobbs ended Ferdinand Kerobyan's 11-fight win streak by winning an eight-round decision to capture the NABF junior welterweight title. Cobbs won with scores of 77-75, 77-75 and 79-73.
In other undercard results, Manuel Avila and Jose Santos Gonzalez fought to a split draw over eight rounds while David Mijares, Chris Ousley and Oscar Acevedo picked up wins in their respective fights. James Wilson and Miguel Cubos also fought to a draw on the card.