By Ronnie Nathanielsz
The handlers of North American Boxing Federation super bantamweight champion Bernabe Concepcion (26-1-1, 15 KO’s) are matching him against Mexico’s tough Giovanni “Ruso” Caro to find out whether the hard-hitting 20 year old Filipino is ready for a possible title shot at WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano in the near future.
Michael Koncz who together with Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and Aljoe Jaro handles Concepcion said he will headline an exciting fight card promoted by MP Promotions (USA) in which two other Filipinos will also see action.
The fight card at the Sycuan Casino in El Cajon, just outside San Diego will see super featherweight Aaron Melgerejo, a one-time sparring partner of Pacquiao take on Alain Fernandez while lightweight Dennis Laurente clashes with Arturo Urbano.
In a female bout undefeated Chika Nakamura (6-0, 2 KO’s) will take on Tammy Franks. A couple of other slam-bang four rounders will spice up the card which Pacquiao said he was very happy about.
Celebrated trainer Freddie Roach said he wanted an opponent for Concepcion who was “durable and somebody who will give us some rounds.“ Apparently Caro is the man.
He forced Gabriel Perez to retire some ten seconds into the 8th round last July 30 and before that scored an 11th TKO over rugged Ricardo Castillo who boasted of a 33-5 record with 22 knockouts on May 2. Earlier, Caro scored a 9th round TKO over Oscar Ibarra who had a record of 13-1, 6 KO’s proving that Concepcion’s opponent is no pushover.
Concepcion who has a record of 26-1-1 with 15 KO’s has taken a total of five rounds to dispose of his last two opponents. He scored a second round TKO over former 2000 US Olympic team alternate Torrence Daniels last April 26 and followed this up with a third round TKO over tough Adam Carrera last July 26.
Roach told insidesports.ph in an overseas telephone conversation from the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles that he thinks Concepcion “will be fighting for the world title soon” and doesn’t think his future is in jeopardy in his fight against Caro although according to Koncz it will be a good test..
Roach said Concepcion “needs more than one or two rounds” in his next fight at 122 pounds but said that Concepcion would fight for a world title at super bantamweight or featherweight depending on what becomes available.
The popular trainer acknowledged as one of the very best in the business conceded that he wouldn’t want Concepcion to fight WBO super bantamweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez “at this point” and would rather fight WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano.
Luevano who won the title with an eleventh round KO over Nicky Cook in London on July 14, 2007 faced a tough battle before winning a twelve round unanimous decision over rugged Thai fighter Terdsak Jandaeng last March 15 . He was then held to a draw by Mario Santiago .Luevano has a record of 35-1-1 with 15 knockouts and is not regarded as a big puncher.