By Nick Giongco
Abe Concepcion is slighted that Juan Manuel Lopez of Puerto Rico is already training his sights on a showdown with Rafael Marquez of Mexico on Sept. 18 even though Lopez has to deal with him first on July 10. “Concepcion is determined to ruin Lopez’s plans,” the fighter’s business manager Mike Koncz said from Los Angeles, a little over two weeks before the fight set at the Jose Agrelot Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Lopez is making the first defense of his WBO featherweight crown and a victory would set him up for a megabuck matchup with Marquez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“Concepcion said he will derail that fight,” said Koncz, who has been given the go-signal by Manny Pacquiao to manage the affairs of Concepcion. Pacquiao has Concepcion under contract with MP Promotions.
Concepcion has been diligently reporting for training at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood under Buboy Fernandez, who Koncz said “will call the shots” in the corner during fight night.
Assisting Fernandez, who is Freddie Roach’s lieutenant whenever Pacquiao fights, is another Team Pacquiao member, Nonoy Neri. IN addition, Argentine-born Miguel Diaz, who has worked many a Pacquiao fight, will act as cutman, accoding to Koncz.
Lopez has a 28-0-0 win-loss-draw record with 25 knockouts and is best remembered by Filipino fight fans as the conqueror of Gerry Penalosa.
Concepcion has a 28-3-1 slate with 15 knockouts.
“A lot of people think we are sending Concepcion to the lion’s den but Concepcion has what it takes to win this fight,” said Koncz.
Team Concepcion will travel to Puerto Rico from Los Angeles on July 1 “so we could get used to the hot weather,” said Koncz.
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, whose Top Rank Inc. is putting up the fight, expects a thrilling night of fistic fireworks.
“The rich boxing rivalry between the Philippines and Puerto Rico will surely be rekindled once again,” said Arum.
Also seeing action on the same night are Nonito Donaire, who defends his interim World Boxing Association super-fly throne against Mexican kayo king Hernan ‘Tyson’ Marquez, as well as rising Filipino super-fly Eden Sonsona, the pride and joy of Rommel Nazario, the son of the late boxing man Rod Nazario.