Ernesto Mercado returns (after two false starts) against Cristian Beilma

Ernesto Mercado returns (after two false starts) against Cristian Beilma


by Francisco Salazar | 

Ernesto ‘Tito’ Mercado is glad the third time’s the charm.

After a few cancellations, Mercado, a candidate for The Ring’s 2023 Prospect of the Year award, returns to the ring Saturday night, facing Christian Bielma at the Evolution Club in Tijuana, Mexico.

At Friday’s weigh-in, both Mercado and Bielma weighed in at the contracted weight of 143 pounds.

Mercado (13-0, 12 knockouts), who resides in Pomona, California, was originally scheduled to fight Argentina’s Victor Santillan in a stay-busy fight on a card in Hawaiian Gardens, California on February 10. Father and trainer, Ernesto, Sr., claimed Santillan weighed 157 pounds at a pre-fight weigh-in the day before the fight.

Because of the discrepancy in Santillan’s weight and the contracted weight, Mercado made the decision to not go through with the fight.

“Santillan asked me if the fight could go ahead at 157 pounds,” Ernesto Mercado, Sr. told The Ring. “‘Tito’ fights at 140 pounds and we even made the concession to move up the contracted weight to 143 pounds because Santillan had told us earlier in the week he was having trouble making the weight.

“My son always makes weight for every fight. He never comes in too heavy and we always honor the weights that are on the contract for a fight. My son is a professional about that. This guy (Santillan) was unprofessional and I couldn’t believe he would come in at that weight and want the fight to continue.”

Mercado was originally scheduled to fight on January 27 in nearby Commerce, but an opponent was not finalized.

The 22-year-old has not fought since November 11, when he stopped fringe junior lightweight and lightweight contender Jeremia Nakathila in the second round. In his previous fight on August 26, Mercado dropped Carlos Portillo twice en route to a first-round knockout victory.

Mercado fought five times in 2023.

Bielma (19-6-2, 7 KOs), who resides in Mexicali, Mexico, last fought on September 1, losing by unanimous decision to Misael Cabrera Urias. Bielma previously fought on January 13 of last year, losing a one-sided decision to unbeaten Mazlum Akdenis.

The 30-year-old has lost three of his last five bouts.

The Mercado-Bielma fight is part of a Gonzalez Boxing Promotions card.


Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]

Follow @FSalazarBoxing


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