WBO super featherweight champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete (38-1-1, 31 KOs) had to settle for a twelve round majority draw against challenger Robson Conceicao (17-2-1, 8 KOs) in their co-feature bout on Thursday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Navarrete looked slowed tonight and was beaten to the punch throughout the fight with the 2016 Olympic gold medalist Conceicao. What saved the chunky-looking Navarrete from losing were knockdowns in the fourth & seventh rounds.
The Mexican warrior, a champ across three divisions, had a tough time with Conceição’s slick moves at first. But come the fourth round, he busted through the Brazilian Olympic champ’s defense with a flurry of punches, sending him to the mat.
Conceição wasn’t down for long, though. He bounced back in the fifth, standing toe-to-toe with Navarrete, often snapping back with crisp counter right hands. Just when it looked like he was turning the tide, Navarrete floored him again in the seventh.
But Conceição wasn’t done yet. He matched Navarrete punch for punch in the later rounds, battling it out until the last bell of the twelfth.
The judges were split – one saw it 114-112 for Navarrete, but the other two couldn’t split them, calling it 113-113.
Conceico is unlikely to get rematch
Navarrete played it cool post-fight, saying, “The draw’s fair. Robson’s a top contender. He poured his heart out there. Sure, there were some technical hiccups, but we delivered what we promised – a top-notch show for the fans. And hey, I’m still the champ.
“He’s earned a second shot, but it’s not just up to me. If it’s on, I’m going all in. We know each other’s moves now, so expect fireworks,” said Navarrete.
As you can see, Navarrete isn’t in the position to promise a rematch with Conceicao, as that’s in the hands of his promoters at Top Rank. Given that boxing is a business, it’s safe to say that Conceicao WON’T be given a rematch, as it’s too risky for Navarrete to be put back in with him.
Navarrete is a money-maker, whereas Conceicao isn’t, and it wouldn’t be a good ‘business decision’ for Top Rank to risk losing an asset by letting him mix it up with the Brazilian fighter a second time.
Instead of a rematch against Conceicao, Top Rank will likely match Navarrete with WBC super featherweight champion O’Shaquie Foster next in a unification fight at 130. Top Rank recently signed Foster to their stable, so, logically, they’ll match him with Navarrete next.
There had been talk recently of Navarrete potentially facing Shakur Stevenson next, but that won’t happen. Shakur made it clear this week that he’s not interested in fighting Navarrete next, as he wants to face Vasily Lomachenko in the final fight of his contract with Top Rank.
If Bob Arum wants to re-sign Shakur to his Top Rank company, he’ll likely need to give him what he wants by giving him the Lomachenko fight. As such, Navarrete isn’t in the picture for a fight with Stevenson.
If Navarrete wants to make more money, he’ll move up to the 135-lb division and target a fight against Vasily Lomachenko. That would be a good payday and an excellent in-house fight for Top Rank. Unlike Shakur, Lomachenko wouldn’t resist the idea of fighting Navarrete.
Staying at super featherweight would be a dead end for Navarrete, as there are no interesting fights for him regarding big-money match-ups.
If the Top Rank-promoted Robeisy Ramirez moves up from 126, he would be an excellent match-up for Navarrete. Robeisy is a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Cuba, who defeated Shakur in the 2016 Olympics.
Top Rank might not want to mess up one of their revenue streams by putting together a fight between Navarrete & Robeisy, as the loser of the contest would see their popularity devalued.
Robson proud of performance against Navarrete
Conceição was straight to the point, “Tough fight. He’s got power. But I showed what I’m made of. It was a good fight. It deserves a rematch. If we do get the rematch, we will both train harder and will give an even better fight.”
If Conceicao hadn’t let his foot off the gas in the eleventh round, he would have won the fight, as that’s where he ran into trouble. In the 11th, Conceicao backed up against the ropes, and was bombarded by Navarrete.
After the round ended, Conceicao staggered back to his corner on shaky legs and looked pretty much finished. The trainer for Navarrete let him know that Robson was exhausted and ready to be finished off.
Surprisingly, Conceicao came out on fire in the twelfth round looking fresh & strong and took the fight to Navarrete, getting the better of him. It’s unclear, however, if the judges gave Conceicao the round, but they should have because he did the far better work.
Navarrette didn’t look nearly as sharp for the fight with Conceicao as he did in his previous one against Oscar Valdez.
Conceicao is partly responsible for that, as he fought a lot better against Navarrete than Valdez did, as he stayed outside and used his quickness to land looping shots while dodging the return fire.
Where Conceicao had problems is when he would back up, wiping off the moisture from his feet from the ring decal. When he would do this, Navarrete would get confident and charge him, throwing shots, looking to take his head off.
When Conceicao stood his ground, Navarrete was less effective, as he couldn’t land his shots due to his slow hand speed and the excellent defense of the Brazilian fighter.
Stylewise, Conceicao was all wrong for Navarrete, as he had superior technical skills, and he wasn’t going to fold like many of his past opponents. The movement that Conceicao showed made it difficult for Navarrete to get to him to land his hard punches.
Regarding conditioning, Navarrete didn’t look like he was in the best shape. The fat around his midsection was noticeable, and he looked like he was carrying around an extra ten lbs of flab that he should have trimmed off during camp.