Young Fighters To Look Out For In 2012 – Part 2

By: Boxing Writer Frank Rivera


It is unfortunate to hear some so called boxing fans actually say, “Boxing is going to  die off once Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao retire from the sport of boxing”.  I am here to tell those few of little faith, HOGWASH!

In part one I covered 5 young talented fighters that I believe will have a big year in 2012.  I will continue in part two with 5 more fighters that I believe will have a standout year in 2012. Let’s take a look at my list of fighters to look out for in 2012.

1. Jose Benavidez (14-0, 12 KO’s): 

Jose Benavidez is a talented 19 year old fighter who fights out of Phoenix, AR in the Light Welterweight Division. He is trained by Hall of Famer and renowned trainer, Freddie Roach out of the Wildcard Gym.  Benavidez has seen some world class sparring from some of boxing’s top fighters that offer different contrast of styles. He has sparred with technical skilled Paul Malignaggi, quick hands and volume puncher and former WBA/IBF Light Welterweight Champion Amir Khan, the high volume power puncher and the number one ranked Pound for Pound WBO Welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao.

Benavidez in his first year as a pro-boxer fought nine times and won all of his fights by KO/TKO with in 3 rounds. He is a tall Light Welterweight that stands at 5′ 11″ with a reach of 73″, which Benavidez uses fully to his advantage. Jose Benavidez is a precise puncher that can pick apart his opponent in the ring by using physical and natural abilities, very good footwork, range, speed, and power. Look out for Jose Benavidez to make an impression on boxing fans this year.


2. Mercito Gesta (24-0-1, 12 KO’s):

Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta is 24 year old fighter from Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines but fights out of
San Diego, California.  Gesta trains at the World Famous Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles, California, along with the help of trainer Freddie Roach. He made his American debut on August 4, 2007 in Rosemont, Illinois, when he faced  Carlos Madrid and go on to win by majority decision. On June 4, 2010 Gesta won the vacant WBO/NABO Youth Lightweight Title against Oscar Meza by the way of TKO in the 4th round from a bodyshot.

Mercito Gesta can become the another top fighter from the Philippians just like his countrymen Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire. Keep a close eye on Gesta, hopefully we will him in some tougher fights this year.

3.  Jonathan Gonzalez (7-0, 6 KO’s):

Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez is a 20 year who fights in Super Flyweight division who fights out of Caguas, Puerto Rico.  Gonzalez has impressive amateur wins, he has won the 2008 AIBA World Youth Championships, two National titles and gold at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games. In his first six fights, Gonzalez has KO/TKO his opponents within 2 rounds and winning his seventh fight by unanimous decision.

Gonzalez stands at 5′ 2″ but do not allow his small frame trick you, he has the skills to impress boxing fans with his style. He is a slick fighter with very good footwork and power in both hands. Unfortunately, I don’t see Gonzalez moving up beyond 115 because of his small frame but he can defiantly make some noise in his current division especially since he still has plenty of work to do.


4. Jesse Vargas (17-0, 9 KO’s):

Jesse Vargas is a 23 year old undefeated Mexican-American boxer in the Light Welterweight division who fights out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He is trained by Roger Mayweather who also trains WBC Welterweight Champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. Vargas also trains with one of boxing’s biggest name and one of the best fighters in the world in Mayweather Jr. Vargas is being groomed by Mayweather Promotion in hopes that he will one day become world Champion.

Jesse had a tough fight against Josesito Lopez last year on the Mayweather Jr. vs Ortiz undercard on September 17, 2011. In a way you can say that his performance did not live up to the expectation many of us were hoping for, but I am sure that he will learn from that fight and comeback strong in 2012. He has the talent and skills to go far in the sport. Vargas has the speed, power and ability to box his opponent inside and outside the pocket.


5. Guillermo Rigondeaux (8-0, 6 KO’s):

Rigondeaux is a 31 year old fighter, I know he is not young but he is worth keeping an eye out for  in the Super Bantamweight division. He has an impressive amateur record and achievements,

  • A seven-time (2000-06) Cuban National Champion
  • Won Olympic Gold Medal at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games
  • 2001, 2002 and 2005 World Amateur Champion
  • 2003 Bantamweight Gold Medalist at Pan-American Games
  • 2005 Bantamweight Gold Medalist at World Cup
  • 2006 Bantamweight Gold Medalist at Central American Games
  • 2006 Bantamweight Gold Medalist at Nations Cup

We know having a good amateur career does not always mean that a fighter is going to have a great career as a professional, it does help give you an edge over the younger less  experience fighters that he will be facing. Guillermo Rigondeaux seems to be the exception to the rules and look to be the real deal, he will be facing newly crowned WBA Super Bantamweight Champion Rico Ramos on Jan 21, 2012 for the title.

Rigondeaux is exciting to watch and everyone must tune in to see Rigondeaux vs Ramos on Showtime’s Next Generation so that you can make up your own mind if he is worth keeping an eye on, I believe he is.

The question is now going to be, which of these will go on to have a successful career in boxing?  Which one of these fighters are the fans going to follow and see how far they will go? I hope you will follow them all.

Please feel free to share your thoughts as to who the boxing fans should keep an eye out for in 2012

Part 3 coming soon

Videos courtesy to Top Rank, Solo Boxeo Tecate,   RTE Sports

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