By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Two-time world title challenger Bernabe Concepcion realizes he is in the fight of his life when he faces undefeated Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia, the defending North American Boxing Federation and WBO North American Boxing Organization featherweight champion on Saturday night on the undercard of the WBO featherweight title fight between champion Orlando Salido (37-11-2, 25 KO'S) and former champion Juan Manuel "Juanma" Lopez (31-1, 28 KO'S).
Another talented Filipino, former Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation champion Allan Tanada clashes with Gamalier Rodriguez in a super featherweight bout where both fighters weighed in at 128 pounds at the official weigh in, Saturday.
Concepcion came in at 125 1/2 pounds while Garcia made the 126 pound limit on his second try after having to shed off 1/4 pounds.
Concepcion who twice fought for world titles and lost realizes that the fight against Garcia is a crucial effort to come back and earn a title shot against the winner of the main event between Salido and "Juana" Lopez.
The Concepcion-Garcia ten round bout has been billed as a title eliminator and the hard-hitting Filipino has conceded this is the fight of his life.
The fights to be held at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico will be telecast by ABS-CBN Studio 23 beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Well-known TV boxing analyst Moy Lainez of the "In This Corner" gym where Tanada trains told the Manila Standard that Tanada is "not in tip top condition and we are not impressed."
He said the 20 year old Tanada who has a record of 11-1-2 with 5 knockouts "is too cocky. He is not the old Tanada we saw win a terrific 10 round split decision against Jose Ocampo to grab the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Youth title on August 7, 2010."
Lainez said that in a sparring session with former OPBF champion Ronald Pontillas before he left Manila, Tanada was "badly beaten and I scolded him. He is much different now and thinks he is a world champion."
Lainez said he warned Tanada that his 25 year old opponent Gamalier Rodriguez is a good fighter with a record of 17-2-3 with 12 knockouts.
Rodriguez has won 7 fights by stopped and 1 by a unanimous decision with 1 technical draw since dropping a six round decision to lanky David Rodela, a regular sparring partner of pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao.