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Concepcion vs. Lopez: It doesn’t look good for Bernabe

By Dan Ambrose: WBO featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez (28-0, 25 KO’s) will be making his first defense of his World Boxing Organization title against 22-year-old Bernabe Concepcion (28-3-1, 15 KO’s) on July 10th at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s not a good sign for Concepcion that he was getting dominated by Steven Luevano last year, who in turn was totally blown out of the water by Lopez earlier this year in January with a 7th round TKO win over Luevano.

Concepcion, it would seem, is way over his head in this fight against Lopez and will be lucky if he escapes this fight without getting knocked out. Lopez, 27, needs to beat Concepcion to get a big money fight against Rafael Marquez in September, and he has to make sure he doesn’t blow that fight by getting careless against Concepcion. Say what you want about Concepcion’s skills not being the greatest, but he can punch a little.

He’s not a huge puncher by any stretch of the imagination, but when he loads up on his right hands, he’s capable of knocking anyone out in the featherweight division. Concepcion probably only has a puncher’s chance of beating Lopez, so he’s going to have to make the best of it before Lopez gets his own offense cranked up and starts drilling Concepcion with shots.

Concepcion was disqualified in his fight with Luevano for teeing off on him with a hard fight hand at the end of the 7th round when Luevano appeared to be trying to congratulate Concepcion for a good round.

It’s hard to find an area where Concepcion has any real advantage. Lopez, 5’7″, is taller than Concepcion by three inches, has a longer reach, hits much harder and has a lot more experience against quality opposition than Concepcion. The only area where Concepcion has an advantage is youth, but that’s something that probably is going to work against him in this case because hasn’t fought long enough to get the kind of experience that Lopez has racked up in his five year pro career. Concepcion has been brought along more slowly than Lopez and only started stepping it up last year in facing high level opposition.

Concepcion is kind of top heavy with a lot of muscles on his upper body. However, instead of all the muscles making him a better fighter, it seems to work in reverse by making him more sluggish, and musclebound. Concepcion might be better off trimming off some of that useless bodybuilding type muscle and focus more on a physique that actually helps him in the ring. I expect Concepcion to be too slow and unable to move away from Lopez once he comes head hunting.

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