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Round Up: Juanma KOs Concepcion in Action-Packed Fight

Round Up: Juanma KOs Concepcion in Action-Packed Fight


Fight: Champion JUAN MANUEL "JUANMA" LOPEZ, 29-0, 26 KOs, Caguas, Puerto Rico vs. BERNABE CONCEPCION, 28-3-2, 15 KOs, Rizal, Philippines

Division: WBO Featherweight Championship - 12 Rds.

Result: Lopez wins by TKO in the second.

Detail: It's hard to gauge who, if anyone, felt the most pressure coming into the bout. The argument could go either way. On the one hand, you could say the champ had more to prove. Already highly regarded by both boxing insiders and fight fans before he won his belt, Juanma is now viewed as one of the premiere pound-for pound fighters in the world. That he fights in a division chock-full of talent, including the electrifying Yuriorkis Gamboa, only adds to Juanma's prestige. 

The other argument goes something like this. Concepcion is inextricably linked to Manny Pacquiao, not only because he's a fellow Filipino, but also because the pound-for-pound king manages the 22-year-old. Said Pacquiao earlier this month: "Bernabe has all of the ingredients to make a great champion. He works hard and is focused only on boxing. We have very high hopes for him." 

As if that weren't enough, Concepcion was challenging the undefeated Juanma in his backyard. Which, of course, could've acted as a double-edged sword for the champ: The oceanic roar inside the Colesio of Puerto Rico could've either made him stand tall with pride, or hunch over from pressure.

But if Juanma was feeling any pressure, he damn sure didn't show it. As soon as the bell rang, he stood tall and came hard at Concepcion. The result: Concepcion was knocked down twice in the opening round. It looked to be over, but the challenger got back up and, before the end of the first, did more than hang tough--he answered with a knock down of Juanma!

The second was just as exhilarating. Having recovered from Concepcion's left hook, Juanma charged ahead and, eventually, caught his man with a straight right. Concepion hit the canvas again. But the challenger, showing his toughness and conditioning, got back up. 

But Juanma wasn't finished. He came at Concepcion and dropped him for a third time. The fight was over. The ref rightly called it, and the champ retained his belt--and his perfect record--in a short but action-packed bout.

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