It took less than six minutes for WBO featherweight world champion and Puerto Rican star Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez to dispatch an outmatched Bernabe Concepcion on Saturday night at Coliseo De Puerto Rico in Hato Rey, just outside of the capital city of San Juan. After four knockdowns in the explosive—albeit short—fight, referee Luis Pabon halted the bout at 2:37 of round two, awarding Lopez the TKO to the delight of his hometown fans.
In the co-feature, interim WBA super flyweight world champion the “Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire defended his title with an eighth-round technical knockout over young Hernan Marquez of Mexico.
Saturday’s world championship doubleheader was promoted by Top Rank, Inc., and P.R. Best Boxing and televised live on SHOWTIME.
Lopez made the sixth successful defense of his 126-pound title and set up a major showdown with future hall of fame boxer Rafael Marquez. The impending marquee fight is scheduled for September 18, at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be televised live on SHOWTIME.
On Saturday, Lopez used his superior speed and incredible power to knock down Concepcion in the first minute of the bout. After Concepcion got to his feet, Lopez unleashed a ferocious attack, landing multiple power-punches on his desperate opponent. But just before the bell and with his back to the ropes, Concepcion rallied with a miracle left hook that landed flush and sent Lopez down to the canvas.
In the second, Lopez floored Concepcion twice, forcing the ref to call it a night.
“Sometimes you get a little bit overconfident,” said the charismatic champion. “That’s what happened there. I have to be cautious never to be over confident.”
The 27-year-old Lopez remains undefeated with 29 wins and 26 knockouts.
In closing, SHOWTIME analyst Al Bernstein said, “Juan Manuel Lopez lights up a boxing ring in so many ways. His personality is as big as the great outdoors. His power is magnificent and he can be, at times, vulnerable and that’s part of what makes him such an exciting fighter to watch.”
Donaire who typically fights in the orthodox stance, came into Saturday’s bout against 21-year-old Hernan Marquez looking to challenge himself. Donaire planned to fight the entire night from the southpaw stance. He did so for the first four rounds and landed some powerful straight left hands, especially in the fourth round. But in the fifth, Donaire switched to right-handed and began connecting at will, scoring a knockdown at the end of the round.
Donaire again knocked Marquez down near the end of the eighth round, this time with a terrific uppercut to the head. Referee Roberto Ramirez stopped the bout on the advice of the Marquez corner after the bell.
“I wanted more rounds,” said Donaire immediately after the fight. “I knew I could figure him out right away from the right-handed stance. But I was confident (in fighting lefty) and everybody on my team believed in me. I may have taken a little bit of a beating for it, but I feel that I needed that.”
“I will continue to work on my left-handed stance. I feel so much more powerful. Soon you will see Sweet Pea (Pernell Whitaker) or Marvelous Marvin Hagler from me. That’s what I want to do.”
Donaire improved his record to 24-1, with 16 KOs. Marquez dropped to 25-2 (18 KOs).
Gus Johnson will call the action with Al Bernstein serving as expert analyst and Jim Gray as the ringside reporter. The executive producer is David Dinkins Jr., with Ray Smaltz producing and Bob Dunphy directing.