Donaire defeats Concepcion
Luevano wins by DQ
Ringside by Rocco Morales
Photos by Mary Ann Owen / BoxinginLasVegas.com
Before a packed house of 1,838 fight fans at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Nonito Donaire boxed, danced, and, when necessary, traded bombs with the very determined, yet overmatched, Rafael Concepcion.
Donaire (22-1, 14 KOs), was the heavy favorite coming into the fight, but gave up a significant weight advantage to Concepcion, as well as a hand injured in the fight, in securing the victory.
Concepcion (13-4-1), failed to make the super flyweight weight limit of 115 pounds, and instead weighed in a whopping 4.5 pounds over the limit, entering the fight as a super bantamweight. As a result, Concepcion was fined 20% of his purse and denied, even had he emerged victorious, the opportunity to win the title on the line, the WBA super flyweight championship, a title recently vacated by the current WBC/IBF Super Flyweight Champion Vic Darchinyan, who is, not so incidentally, a past KO victim of Donaire.
Donaire started the fight in the opening round appearing very confident and exhibiting ring generalship while controlling the round from the outside, even stunning Concepcion with a left hook counter punch to the head.
By the second round, however, Concepcion made it clear that he was not going to just lie down and had every intent of making a fight of it, despite not fighting for the title due to his weight issues. In a round that saw good two way action, Concepcion was able to return the favor from the opening round by stunning Donaire with a left hook counter of his own. However, Donaire was able to inflict damage in opening a cut above the left eye of Concepcion that would flow for the remainder of the fight.
In the third round, Concepcion took on the role of aggressor, chasing Donaire around the ring, while Donaire was content to box from the outside, and largely just do his best to stay away from the pursuing Panamanian.
Round four action saw Donaire, as he had done in the first round, return to controlling the action with his superior boxing skills, as he was able to control the ring and not be in a retreating mode but rather pepper Concepcion with hard counter punches each time he had to stand his ground.
Rounds five and six saw Donaire return to being the matador and Concepcion being the bull, but it was enough for the “Filipino Flash” to put a couple more rounds in the bank, much to the frustration of “El Torito”, as both lived up to their nicknames.
Although the remainder of the fight had scattered moments of excitement, the story of the fight continued to be Donaire using his superior ring generalmanship and boxing skills, particularly his counterpunching skills, to win enough of the rounds to never really have to go to war with Concepcion.
Although both fighters landed occasional hard blows to the other, neither fighter was ever in any serious trouble.
In the end, it was a harder-than-expected fight for the now two -time world champion Donaire, who emerged victorious by unanimous decision with the relatively consistent scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 116-112 to win the WBA interim super flyweight championship.
It will now be interesting to see if Donaire will have an opportunity at unifying the super flyweight titles by taking on the IBF/WBC Champion Vic Darchinyan, whom Donaire has already beaten once in convincing fashion, knocking out the unified champion in a July 2007 matchup.
Luevano wins by DQ
In the co-main event, WBO featherweight champion, Steven Luevano was awarded a win by disqualification when his 21 year old Filipino challenger, #1 ranked Bernabe Concepcion, floored Luevano with a hard combination long after the bell to end the seventh round had sounded, and after Luevano had already dropped his hands.
Luevano lied on the canvas for several minutes as the crowd voiced their displeasure heartily. The large Filipino contingent of Concepcion/Donaire supporters booing the referee’s decision and the Luevano supporters very upset over the blatant foul committed by the Filipino challenger.
Referee Jay Nady wasted little time in issuing the disqualification to Concepcion and therewas no protest offered by the corner of Concepcion, which included trainer Freddy Roach.
“The disqualification was justified”, said Roach. Speaking of the late punches that floored the champion, Roach offered “It wasn’t intentional but it was a good call.”
Up until the time of the stoppage, it was a pretty even fight but one that Luevano seemed to be in control of, using his boxing skills to keep the seemingly stronger challenger at arm’s length. Up until the time of the disqualification, neither fighter had been seriously hurt in a fight that was fought at a very measured pace by both fighters, which seemed to be an advantage for the more experienced Luevano, but not the right fight for the young challenger.
At the time of the stoppage, Luevano was up on two of the three judges cards by scores of 68-65 and 67-66, while trailing by a score of 66-67 on the third judge’s card.
With the victory, Luevano improves to 37-1-1 (15 KOs), while Concepcion drops to 29-2-1 (17 KOs).
Melligen stops Zepeda
In supporting undercard action, talented 23 year old Filipino southpaw welterweight, Mark Melligen improved to 16-1 (12 KOs), after punishing the stubborn veteran fighter, Ernesto Zepeda, who seemingly insisted on being punished for four rounds, before finally eating a final left uppercut/cross smash from Melligen at 2:40 of the fourth round. With the loss, Zepeda sacrifices a few more brain cells and drops to 39-13-4 (32 KOs).
Peterson overcomes ‘Vampiro’
In the opening bout of the PPV telecast, undefeated super lightweight Anthony Peterson was forced to exhibit all his talent to overcome the very game challenger, Luis “Vampiro” Acero.
Acero pressed the action for the entire fight, but Peterson was able to call on his speed, footwork and excellent counterpunching to never allow Acero to seriously threaten him. Acero, to his own credit, however, put the pressure on Peterson from the opening bell to the sounding bell and gave a very earnest effort.
With the victory, the #2 ranked lightweight in the world by the WBC, Peterson, moves one step closer to a world title challenge.
In non-televised action in a four-round super welterweight contest, 20 year old Danny Escobar kept his record perfect by battering the overmatched and underhearted Carlos Small when Small refused to come out for the second round, giving Escobar the TKO victory. Escobar improves to 3-0 (3 KOs), while Small drops to 2-2 (1 KO).
In other non-televised action, a six-round super featherweight contest, hometown favorite Diego Magdaleno, overcame the gutsy challenge of Carlos Vinan. Magdaleno was forced to go the six round distance in earning a workmanlike victory to raise his record to 11-0 (3 KOs), while dropping Vinan to an even 8-8-1 (1 KO).
In the opening bout of the evening, a six-round light heavyweight contest, the very talented and very dangerous Ismayl Sillakh, was way too much for Ray Smith. Smith boxed very tentatively from the outset, looking like the beaten fighter from the beginning, despite entering the ring with a very respectable record.
Sillakh punished Smith’s body with hard left hooks, pursued the fleet footed Smith and finally seemed to get bored of punishing Smith and ended the fight with an impressive combination causing referee, Robert Byrd, to call an end to the fight at 1:55 of the second round.
With the TKO victory, Sillakh improves to a perfect 9-0, (8 KOs) while dropping Smith to 9-4 (3 KOs). Sillakh definitely looks like he could make some noise in the next couple years in the light heavyweight division.
Promoter for “Pinoy Power 2” was Top Rank Boxing.