Joseph Diaz and Mercito Gesta were prepared to steal the show.
They are now tasked with headlining the event.
Both boxers embraced the new role as they weighed in for their scheduled 12-round junior welterweight contest. Diaz tipped the scales at a career-heaviest 139.4 pounds. Gesta was 137.2 pounds for his first fight in nearly a year atop Saturday's DAZN telecast from the Walter Pyramid on the campus of California State University-Long Beach.
The fight was bumped up to main event status after it was learned that Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez (44-1, 30KOs) was a reported 182.6 pounds, disgracefully more than seven above the light heavyweight limit for his fight versus Gabriel Rosado.
Rosado—who moved up from super middleweight—was unofficially 173 pounds before learning of Ramirez's weight, at which point the bout was pulled from the show.
Diaz (32-3-1, 15KOs) aims to end a two-fight losing streak. The former IBF junior lightweight titlist was competitive in a December 2021 WBC lightweight title fight points loss to Devin Haney, who has since fully unified the division. Diaz wasn’t nearly as competitive in a convincing ten-round defeat to streaking lightweight contender William Zepeda last October 29 in San Diego.
The fight with Diaz is a welcomed opportunity by Gesta (33-3-3, 17KOs) after watching plans fall through for a high-profile showdown with unbeaten lightweight contender Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19KOs). The two were due to meet in late January, only for Garcia to pull out of the fight as he preferred to head straight into an April 22 superfight with Gervonta Davis (28-0, 26KOs).
As it turns out, Gesta gets a DAZN main event after all. The 35-year-old Filipino southpaw from San Diego has not fought since a ten-round win over Joel Diaz Jr. last April 21 in Indio, California. That fight was the first for the former title challenger since November 2019, with hopes of remaining more active beginning with Saturday’s showdown.
Below are the weights for the full undercard.
Oscar Duarte (24-1-1, 19KOs), Parral, Mexico, 135.6 pounds vs. Alex Martin (18-4, 6KOs), Chicago, 135.4 pounds—10 rounds, lightweight (136-pound contracted limit)
Eric Tudor (7-0, 6KOs), Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 153.4 pounds vs. Damoni Cato-Cain (7-0-1, 6KOs), Oakland, 152.8 pounds—8 rounds, junior middleweight
Dalis Keleiopu (3-0, 3KOs), Waianae, Hawaii, 130.4 pounds vs. Jonathan Perez (40-34, 32KOs), Barranquilla, Colombia, 131 pounds—4 rounds, junior lightweight
Jorge Chavez (4-0, 3KOs), San Diego, 126.6 pounds vs. Bryan Perez (12-16-1, 11KOs), Managua, Nicaragua, 129.4 pounds—4 rounds, junior lightweight
Patricio Manuel (1-0, 1KOs), Los Angeles, 129 pounds vs. Hien Huynh (1-1, 0KOs), Saint Louis, Missouri, 125.4 pounds—4 rounds, junior lightweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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