by Cliff Rold
It’s not rare, a classic fight in boxing’s smallest weight classes. They happen as often as anywhere else. Given the higher volume of punches thrown in little man fights, one might guess they happen a little more than in other places.
What is certain is the best fights, in any weight class, stand out. Classics like Robert Quiroga-Kid Akeem Anifowoshe, Muangchai Kittikasem-Jung Koo Chang, and Michael Carbajal-Humberto Gonzalez I were great fights; damn the scale.
The same could be said of the first contest between Hernan “Tyson” Marquez and Luis Concepcion. It was as great fight in April. Saturday, they do it again.
Let’s go to the report card.
Title: WBA Flyweight (2011-Present, 1 Defense)
Previous Titles: None
Weight: 112 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 113.4 lbs.
Hails from: Sonora, Mexico
Record: 31-2, 24 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #2 at Flyweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 2-0, 2 KO (2-1, 1 KO, 1 KOBY including interim title fights)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 1 (Luis Concepcion)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Nonito Donaire)
Previous Titles: WBA Flyweight (2010-11)
Weight: 112 lbs.
Average Weight – Five Most Recent (Recorded) Fights: 112.9 lbs.
Hails from: Panama City, Panama
Record: 23-2, 18 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #3 at Flyweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 1-1, 1 KO, 1 KOBY (4-1, 4 KO including interim title fights)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 4 (Noel Arambulet, Roberto Leyva, Eric Ortiz, Denkaosan Kaovitchit)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Hernan Marquez)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Marquez B; Concepcion B
Pre-Fight: Power – Marquez B; Concepcion B+
Pre-Fight: Defense – Marquez B; Concepcion C-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Marquez A; Concepcion A
What stood out the first time should stand out again. Concepcion brings it, ignoring the left jab and opting often to just measure and unload with right hand bombs. It’s not a bad strategy for the former titlist. It has worked against other world-class foes and worked to win him a belt. The tactic also worked in rocking Marquez multiple times in the first clash. He had Marquez on the floor in the first round.
Concepcion followed him to the deck not too long after in the same stanza. His early offense is dangerous to anyone. The southpaw Marquez’s greater discipline, head movement, and technique are very dangerous to Concepcion in particular. Concepcion, for a single shot, might hit harder than Marquez. What Marquez did, and can do again, to Concepcion is hit him more. Concepcion has only the barest pretense of defense, his chin left up and hanging like some Texas Ranger meat for Darren Freese.
Marquez smacked the meat around the yard, dropping Concepcion in the third and tenth. On style, Marquez should have this. It remains no sure thing because Concepcion is in the fight, any fight, as long as he’s standing. It was Marquez, not Concepcion, who ended the first bout rocked badly.
Concepcion charged off the floor in the tenth and fired like hell. It spoke highly of him, of his determination to keep his belt. It was determined to stop the contest because the eyes of Concepcion were badly swollen and he was getting tagged…
…at least until he tagged Marquez back. In a different time, the fight, the show, goes on, especially with Marquez being the last man hurt.
It’s the incomplete ending, and the carnage preceding it, informing the grades for intangibles for both fighters. Neither man was willing to take no for an answer and gave fight fans something to be thankful for in April of this year. They may not have granite beards, but they have brass juevos and enough talent to allow for some shots to land.
They’ll be landing again in less than 24 hours.
Marquez, who went on the road to win the belt, has home field this time. He’s going to get a similar result in Mexico. Concepcion is a thriller but his craft is wanting. Both men are fighters, but only one has truly learned how to box. The chance is there for Concepcion to just blast Marquez before the fight gets going but Marquez handled the rush last time and has a champion’s confidence now. Turmoil around the Marquez camp, including the replacement of Marquez’s trainer, carries the odor of trouble but the odor will pass as the rounds stack up in Marquez’s favor. Both men are going to hit the deck again. Marquez will be standing at the end with a stoppage after eight.
Report Card Picks 2011: 36-12 (Pending the Dawson-Hopkins Appeal)
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]