Mercito Gesta and Lester Gonzalez on Brandon Rios undercard

Mercito Gesta (L) is shown working out for Saturday's fight with his longtime trainer and confidant, Vince Parra.

For weeks, Brandon Rios and Urbano Antillon have dedicated a lot of time to jawing at one another, but Wednesday at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles their focus was only on their Saturday meeting when Rios (27-0-1, 19 KOs), of Oxnard, CA, will defend his WBA lightweight championship against Antillon (28-2, 20 KOs), of Maywood, CA, in the main event on Showtime Championship Boxing.


In the Top Rank-promoted co-feature at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA, former IBF welterweight champion Kermit Cintron (32-3-1, 28 KOs), of Carolina, Puerto Rico, will be making his first start in more than a year against Mexico’s Carlos Molina (18-4-2, 6 KOs), of Chicago, in a 10-round junior middleweight match.

Lester Gonzalez (L) is shown signing his contract to fight Matt Korobov. Standing next to Gonzalez is his trusty co-manager Lou Messina. Photo: Jim Wyatt

As mentioned in our headline, two of San Diego’s finest are on the undercard, the #2-ranked WBO lightweight contender Mercito Gesta (21-0-1, 11 KOs), of San Diego, by way of Cebu, Philippines, will meet hard-hitting Jorge Pimental (23-11, 17 KOs) of Sonora, Mexico, and Lester “El Cubanito” Gonzalez (12-3-2, 6 KOs) of San Diego and now training at the Black House Team Nogueira Gym on Miramar Road is going up against his toughest opponent to date, Matt Korobov (15-0-0, 9 KOs) of Saint Petersburg, Florida by way of Orotukan, Russia.

In his last fight, on May 13 of this year, Gonzalez won a six round unanimous decision over Alfredo Contreras, and just prior to that, he had fought the very tough Bastie Samir (10-0) to a draw. After the Samir fight it was discovered Samir had some illegal substances in his system.

Also set to go, they have the former Notre Dame champion Mike Lee (5-0, 3 KOs) of Chicago taking on Michael Birthmark (2-5, 0  KOs) of Billings, Montana, in a light heavyweight bout and promising super bantamweight Gabino Saenz (3-0, 3 KOs), of Indio, CA, will try to maintain his unblemished record when he goes against Quinice Wesby (1-1, 0 KOs) of Dallas.

As if all this action weren’t enough, Showtime will also be telecasting the highlights from overseas of Lucian Bute’s (28-0, 23 KOs) eighth defense of his IBF super middleweight title against mandatory challenger Jean-Paul Mendy (29-0-1, 16 KOs) of France. Take note: this will be Bute’s first title defense in his home country of Romania.

Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster outlets and online at as well as at The Home Depot Center Box Office through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The first live, non-televised fight starts at 4:05 p.m.

Quote from Brandon Rios: “It’s not just Showtime now, it is war time. There will be no boxing on Saturday night. We are both brawlers who will try to beat the crap out of each other. Our skills are pretty much the same, no skill … just your typical street fight.

Quote from Kermit Cintron: “This is my first fight in 14 months and I’m ready. There’s no pressure on me, but I am looking to win the fight impressively. I know Molina pretty well. He helped me get ready for the second fight with Antonio Margarito and gave me good work. I expect him to give it his all, and I’ll be ready for anything he brings.”


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