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Bare Knuckle

By Chito Yu Katangkatang

17 Jun 2010

July 10, 2010 is another big date for us Pinoy boxing fans as our very own Bernabe “The Real Deal” Concepcion faces Juan Manuel Lopez of Puerto Rico. Fresh from his big win over Mario Santiago, Concepcion will try to grab the WBO Featherweight Belt which he failed to take from Steven Luevano whom he lost the fight via disqualification. The fight will be staged at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.

Concepcion brags a record of W28-L3-D1 (15 KOs) while Lopez shines with his W28-L0-D0 (25KOs). Abe stands at 5’4” while JuanMa is 5’7” tall with a 3” reach advantage. Size-wise, the advantage goes to Lopez. Lopez has also the better looking resume having beaten elite oppositions in the likes of Daniel Ponce De Leon, Gerry Peñalosa and Steven Luevano whom he has all beaten via stoppage.

It is clear that JuanMa Lopez is the heavy favorite here while Abe Concepcion is the obvious underdog. The tale of the tape and fight resume may all favor Lopez but one thing may be possessed by the brave warrior from Catanduanes which can make him bring an upset, Faith and a Big Heart. The size of a warrior’s heart is not reflected in the Tale of the Tape. This is one quality which we Filipinos have inherited from our ancestors. We are fighters.

Objectively though, Lopez is both a puncher and a boxer. He can brawl but he can also fight from a distance and outpoint his opponent. He can easily use his reach advantage to maintain distance and keep on gaining points through constant straights and jabs.

Concepcion on the other hand should remember that Gerry Peñalosa retired from his stool but was never brought down by JuanMa’s power punches. He was often hit by vicious straights and hooks but never touched the canvass. Gerry doesn’t have the power and speed of youth which Bernabe still posesses. He should learn from Gerry’s experience.

Another consideration which Abe should take is the fight of JuanMa with Rogers Mtagwa. It was so far the most competitive fight which Lopez has engaged. Lopez barely escaped that fight. Since Lopez has the size and reach advantage, Concepcion should capitalize on his footwork and apply the dart in dart out style of Manny Pacquiao. The Mtagwa fight can guide them in developing the blue print that they will need in order to beat the Puerto Rican.

Lastly, Abe has the best coach and trainer in his corner come fight night. He should never fail to listen at what Freddie Roach has to say and execute the same when the bell rings at the start of every new round. He needs to be the busier fighter in every round instead of waiting for his opponent to engage first. His showing against Santiago was impressive. He needs to train twice as hard to be ready for the biggest break in his boxing career. An upset by Concepcion can catapult him into the pound for pound rankings joining fellow Filipinos Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr.

(The author’s column BARE KNUCKLE appears every Thursday in the Negros Daily Bulletin)

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