Juan Manuel Lopez will be one of THOSE champions, it looks like. His chin is iffy enough to provide drama in fights it looks for all intents and purposes like hes going to dominate. Lopez had Bernabe Concepcion in a world of hurt in the first, and looked like hed end things early. But after scoring a knockdown, Lopez left himself open, and himself hit the mat from a left hook in the main event of a Showtime card which took place at the Jose Agrelot Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Not to worry, JuanMa fans--the champ shook it off, and in the second round, got back to business. Hes got dynamite in both hands, and lit the fuse on Concepcion, scoring a TKO2 victory in two.
JuanMa (age 27; from Puerto Rico; 28-0 entering ) was 125 1/4, while The Real Deal Concepcion (age 22; from the Philippines; 30-2-1 entering; WBO No. 5 featherweight) was 125 at the weigh in.
In the first, JuanMa landed a left, which sent the Filipino back staggering. JuanMa didnt get overexcited, having learned a lesson before, last year against Rogers Mtagwa, burning himself out. A left hook, and followup, sent Bernie to the mat, with 1:30 to go. Bernie fought back with heart, and detonated his own left hook, dropping JuanMa with ten seconds remaining. He looked to be in danger of getting stopped, but he waited out JuanMa, looked for an opening, and hurled a left. There wont be many if any better rounds in the year, from a drama standpoint.
In the second, JuanMa sent Bernie to the floor again, via a straight left, twenty seconds in. He took an eight count. The Puerto Rican went back to work, but wasnt overenthused. He was patient, and had the Filipino down again, with 33 seconds in the round remaining. A right hook was the preferred weapon here. Bernie had trouble getting his feet, so the ref saved him from himself, and halted the event. The loser protested, as he wanted to continue. The time of the stop activated by Luis Pabon was 2:37.
JuanMa admitted he got overconfident, and got caught by the Filipino. Hell fight Rafael Marquez on Sept. 18 in Las Vegas, and he told questioner Jim Gray that hes psyched to meet the vaunted vet Marquez.
Lopez went 28 of 92, to 10 of 43 for Concepcion, in total.
In the TV opener, ex flyweight champ Nonito Donaire (23-1 entering; age 27; 114 1/2 pounds; of Filipino descent, fighting out of California) took on Hernan Marquez (25-1 entering; age 21; 115; from Mexico) putting his WBA super fly (interim) title on the line. Nonito, who said hed fight lefty the whole way, snapped the crisp right jab in the first, and looked to land a power straight left counter. Marquez, out of the lefty stance, opened eyes with some crisp leads and counters of his own. In the second, Nonito tried to time Marquez, who features peppy upper body movement while slipping tosses. Donaire had a solid fourth, even though his fans had to hope hed go righty, as it looked like the southy stance was serving him well. In round five, a left hook by Nonito, now turned righty one minute in, hurt Marquez. He held on, and fell to his knees, with a minute left. Still right-handed, Nonito closed the distance, looking to close the show. A left uppercut had Marquez in a world of hurt, on his knees, looking for a double leg. That wasnt scored a knockdown, though.
In the sixth, the still-righty Nonito was in full command. Look how much taller he fights, commented Showtime analyst Al Bernstein, rightly. Half a head shorter, Marquez held tough, and landed the odd counter. But in round eight, a left hookercut sent Marquez down at the end of the round. The ref didnt like what he saw, after staring at Marquez, and his corner, while Marquez looked beseechingly at his corner. FYI Trainer Rudy Perez indicated that his kid Marquez was done for the night. The time of the end was 2:59 of the eighth. Nonito talked to Lebron interrogator Jim Gray after. He said he wanted to get some rounds in, and use the lefty stance. He admitted Marquez tagged him sharply, but said hed stick with the lefty thing for awhile, a la Sweet Pea and Hagler. Whats next for Nonito? Ive given Vic Darchinyan the opportunity for a rematch, he said, but if that cant happen, hed be happy to fight Fernando Montiel.
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