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Pacquiao thinks Concepcion can be a “Great champion” – Lopez may think otherwise

By Jason Kim: Featherweight contender Bernabe Concepcion (28-3-1, 15 KO’s) will be taking a big step up in taking on unbeaten World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez (28-0, 25 KO’s) on Saturday night, July 10th at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Few boxing fans or writers are giving the 22-year-old Concepcion much of any chance at beating the bigger, stronger, more athletic and older 27-year-old Lopez. Over and over again, Lopez appears to be the much better fighter compared to Concepcion in every area that you can think of.

However, Concepcion’s fellow countryman, Manny Pacquiao, still thinks he can beat Lopez, saying at, “Bernabe has all the ingredients to make a great champion.” That sounds nice, but the ingredients are a little mixed up and don’t appear to be good enough for him to beat a great fighter like Lopez.

Maybe Concepcion is good enough to beat the other featherweight champions Elio Rojas, Orlando Salido or Chris John, but I don’t think Concepcion is nearly good enough to beat a quality fighter like Lopez. In Concepcion’s disqualification loss to Steven Luevano last August, Concepcion was being out-boxed and made to look limited.

Concepcion might have been able to come on in the later rounds, but unfortunately he teed off on Luevano with a right hand after the 7th round had ended and knocked Luevano out. Referee Jay Nady wasn’t going to wait around to hear why Concepcion clobbered Luevano after the round had ended and subsequently disqualified Concepcion for his foul. To his credit, Concepcion came back from the loss to defeat Mario Santiago by a 10 round decision in February. It was a good win and one that proved that Concepcion can use his boxing skills to defeat a good fighter instead of just trying to slug it out.

Concepcion looks small compared to Lopez, and it’s hard to see how he can match-up at all. Concepcion is usually stronger than his opponents. In this case, however, Concepcion is a lot weaker than Lopez and will have to figure out another way to beat him rather than trying to slug with the Puerto Rican. If Concepcion tries to go toe-to-toe with Lopez, he will almost surely get knocked out, because Lopez hits too hard and is very skilled at counter punching his opponents. And in looking at some of Conception’s fights, he looks very vulnerable to getting countered. He gets hit too easily, doesn’t have the power and appears to be a tad bit musclebound.

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