Despite UFC star Henry Cejudo’s claims of negotiations for a fight with Ryan Garcia in Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t seem like that’ll come next. And Garcia’s internet beefs with various others — including Abner Mares, Devin Haney, and Teofimo Lopez — don’t appear they’ll lead to his next fight, either.
With Garcia set to return on July 4 and originally planned opponent Jorge Linares not available as he’s home in Japan, Eric Gomez of Golden Boy tells ESPN that Hector Tanajara and Mercito Gesta are being considered as opponents.
Tanajara (19-0, 5 KO) is a 23-year-old prospect who has shown good boxing skills but, with a lack of power, is perceived to have a limited ceiling. He’s certainly not been pushed particularly hard or anything like that. In his last fight, he won a 10-round decision over veteran Juan Carlos Burgos on Jan. 11 in San Antonio. He deserved the win, but it didn’t come without some concerns about his future.
The 32-year-old Gesta (32-3-3, 17 KO) is a known commodity. Top Rank once had hopes for him as a “next Pacquiao,” being a Filipino southpaw, but he’s no Pacquiao. Instead, he’s turned out to be a solid B-minus sort of fighter. He has notable world title losses to Miguel Vazquez and Jorge Linares in 2012 and 2018, and was also upset in Mar. 2019 against Juan Antonio Rodriguez.
The smarter fight here is probably Gesta. I think most understand that Garcia isn’t going to graduate to that next level of testing with this outing, and there’s absolutely nothing to lose by serving Gesta up to Garcia; Gesta is what he is and he’s not going to be more, whereas Tanajara still has some potential future.