By Jake Donovan
Luis Concepcion will never make an opponent miss, but he sure as hell eventually makes 'em pay.
The former flyweight titlist recovered from an early knockdown to score a highlight reel 10th round knockout of Argentina's Carlos Ruben Dario Ruiz in their main event Saturday evening in Panama City, Panama.
It was never easy for Concepcion, who couldn't have gotten off to a worse start. The upset-minded Ruiz had no fear of his opponent's documented punching power, instead plowing forward and taking the fight to the crowd favorite.
The tactic proved effective, as Concepcion found himself on the canvas midway through round two. The fun didn't stop there, as Ruiz continued to pile up rounds as the bout had the making of one of the year's biggest upsets.
Not interested in landing on that side of such a headline, Concepcion turned the tide in round five and - from a scoring perspective - never looked back. While Ruiz was outfought from round to round, he was never truly out of the fight.
At least, not until Concepcion decided it was time to end things.
A two-way exchange had the former champ momentarily on the defensive, but never unnerved. A right hook while on the inside helped freeze Ruiz in place just long enough for Concepcion to set up the fight-ending sequence, a savage left hand that put the visiting Argentine down and out.
The fight ended with Ruiz flat on his back and needing a crowbar to help pry his limp body off of the canvas.
Concepcion runs his record to 30-3 (22KO) with the win, his seventh straight.
Ruiz suffers the first knockout loss of his career. A six-fight win streak comes to a close as he falls to 17-3 (10KO).
A pair of knockout losses to Hernan 'Tyson' Marquez seem like an eternity ago. In reality, it's only been two years but Concepcion has slugged his way back into contention.
The diminutive puncher is in good shape career-wise, as the ranking he holds means he gets to wait out the forthcoming showdown later this year between lineal flyweight king Akira Yaegashi and former 108 lb. titlist Edgar Sosa.
There's also the possibility of being steered towards unified titlist Juan Francisco Estrada. Another option could be Moruti Mhtalane, who just had a fight canceled and whose last ring appearance - more than a year ago - took place in the very same arena as Saturday's bout, as the South African successfully defended his belt against Ricardo Nunez.
Local featherweight Antonio Fernandez turned back the challenge of visiting Colombian journeyman Devis Perez in taking a unanimous decision.
Scores were 96-94 (twice) and 97-93 in their ten-round bout.
Fernandez was the superior boxer but struggled with his opponent's aggression. The contrast in styles made for interesting pockets of two-way action, but Fernandez' chin proved up to the cause.
The win is Fernandez' second straight as he advances to 17-4-1 (3KO). Perez snaps a four-fight win streak (all coming against debuting fighters) as he falls to 22-10-4 (16KO).
Unbeaten Sayda Mosquera was given all she could handle by visiting Colombian slugger Dayana Cordero as the two fought to a majority draw in their ten-round super bantamweight contest.
Scores were 96-94 Cordero and 95-95 twice on the other two cards.
Cordero offered one of the better performances of the career, though her post-fight reaction read like a fighter expecting to get robbed - either that or an excited teenager. The 17-year old had no problem keeping pace with the 23-year old Mosquera, who just turned pro last August.
The first card read in favor of Cordero offered the threat of a major upset. Tie scores on the two remaining cards spared Mosquera her first loss, as her record moves to 5-0-1 (4KO).
Cordero, now 13-4-1 (9KO) was content to leave Panama with a draw, jumping up and down as if she hit the lottery. A fight that easily could have gone in her favor instead becomes a moral victory for the feisty puncher, who turns 18 in December.
All bouts aired live on Panama TV Max 9 and via livestream on the network's website .
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox