By Jake Donovan
Flyweight contender Luis Concepcion turned a perceived tough test into a brutal sparring session, beating on Nestor Narvaez for 12 straight rounds Saturday evening in Panama City, Panama.
Scoring was academic in their flyweight bout. Totals of 118-108 (twice) and 118-109 all properly read in favor of Concepcion, who scored a fifth round knockdown but was also docked a point in round eight for excessive low blows.
There wasn't a second in the fight in which Concepcion allowed Narvaez to believe he had a shot in hell of winning. The visiting Argentine slugger entered on the heels of a closely contested challenge of then-lineal flyweight king Tokiyushi Igarashi last November in Japan, but was in way over his head against an opponent who threw every punch with knockout intentions.
Concepcion's game plan was simple; inflict as much pain as possible. The hometown fighter carried out that plan to a tee, but was briefly interrupted for a severely low blow in round four. The flyweight contender bounced back one round later, pinning Narvaez along the ropes before dropping him late.
The threat of a knockout was in the air for the next several rounds, even when Concepcion was warned again and then eventually deducted one point in round eight for another low blow. The diminutive slugger kept it civil from that point onward, almost exclusively going to the head in his best effort to crack Narvaez' granite chin.
Concepcion reached a point where he knew he wasn't going to end the fight inside the distance. Narvaez reached a point where he knew any chance of a win was well out of reach. That didn't stop either fighter from flying off their stool to trade leather in the 12th and final round. A thrilling two-way exchange began the round, but quickly dissolved into the Luis Concepcion show, until the final bell sounded to end the entertaining 12-round affair.
In a weekend filled with bad scoring and a card marred by low blows, the main event ended on a high note. Concepcion picked up his 6th straight win and remains on the hunt for a future title shot.
Narvaez drops his second straight, falling to 19-2 (10KO).
Jezreel Corrales continues his climb towards featherweight contention, scoring a wide unanimous decision win over Jonathan Perez.
Scores were 80-70 (twice) and 79-71 in a foul-filled affair that was shortened from ten rounds to eight prior to the opening bell.
Corrales was in control for most of the fight; the only times he struggled were in contending with Perez' various dirty tactics. The visiting Colombian was docked a point in round three for excessive low blows and again late in the fight for hitting on the break.
With the win, Corrales advances to 14-1 (2KO). The light-hitting Panamanian picks up his 13th straight win, with his lone loss coming in his second pro fight.
Perez falls to 29-10 (23KO), snapping a 10-fight win streak.
Ricardo Nunez won and lost in his televised preliminary bout versus Nerys Espinoza.
The former flyweight challenger came through with a 12th round stoppage of the visiting Nicaraguan, looking impressive every step of the way. However, the win came after he failed to make weight for what was supposed to be an interim regional title fight.
It was a rough night for Espinoza. A headbutt produced a nasty cut over his left eye, though his corner did a superb job of minimizing the flow of blood in allowing the fight to continue. It was the lone bright spot of the night for the visiting challenger, as Nunez was impressive every step of the way.
The fight-ending sequence came in the opening seconds of the 12th and final round. Nunez connected with a perfect left hook to put a deflated Espinoza (30-10-2, 20KO) on the canvas. The fight was immediately waved off, giving Nunez his second straight win.
The official time was 0:09 of the 12th round.
Nunez improves to 26-3 (22KO), though where he next lands is up in the air. A valiant showing in defeat against Moruti Mthalane in a title bid last September led Nunez' handlers to believe another title shot was within reach.
However, given his struggles at the scales, a trip to 115 lb. could be in his immediate future.
Rafael Concepcion cruised to an eight-round points win over German Lara. The former title challenger scored two knockdowns along the way, never allowing his opponent a moment to believe he stood a shot at an upset.
The win is the second straight in the up-and-down career of Concepcion, who improves to 18-6-1 (8KO). Lara dips to 9-3-1 (2KO), his first fight outside of Nicaragua resulting in his six-fight win streak coming to an end.
In early televised action, sub .500 southpaw Edwin Diaz managed to avoid disqualification as he scored a minor upset with a majority decision win over Dirceu Cabarca.
One judge saw the bout even at 76-76, while scores of 77-74 and 77-75 read in favor of Diaz, who lost a point in round three for excessive low blows.
The action suffered several stops and starts due to the variety of dirty tactics of Diaz. Several warnings were issued before and after the point deduction, including a final tongue lashing from the referee after a wicked low blow with just 15 seconds left in the fight.
However, the threat of a disqualification was just that - a threat. Diaz was permitted to hear the final bell, taunting Cabarca at fights end. The tactic didn't sit well with the one-time junior flyweight title contender, getting in his countryman's grill before having to be held at bay by his cornermen and the referee.
Diaz improves to 16-18 (5KO) with the win, his first since last February. Only one fight has come during that time frame, a points loss to Jesus Silvestre in an interim title fight he was rewarded with following an Oct. '11 upset win over Carlos Verarde.
Cabarca falls to 15-8 (6KO), ending a two-fight win streak. The current calendar year has not been kind to the southpaw, beginning 2013 with a points loss to 108 lb. titlist Adrian Hernandez.
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