By Ronnie Nathanielsz
The manager of Panama’s Rafael “El Torito” Concepcion is upset over claims that many people, including Nonito Donaire’s manager Cameron Dunkin, believe that Concepcion “didn’t try to and get down in weight and our team used his extra pounds as a ploy to beat Donaire.”
Concepcion who also had trouble making the weight when he fought AJ “Bazooka” Banal and knocked him out in the 10th round in a WBA super flyweight interim title fight last year, came in at 4 ½ pounds over the limit for the Donaire title fight and was fined a total of $13,000 for the failure to make the 115 pound limit.
Concepcion’s manager Damon De Berry of Optimum Sports Agency said Concepcion himself was “really quite surprised and disturbed” after reading the stories.
De Berry said “for the record Rafael left Panama on the 9th of August at 120bs 5lbs over the super flyweight limit, His trainer has a running record of his weight each and every day sine we started camp for this fight, weighing in and out. By the time we left for Las Vegas Rafael was exactly where we wanted him to be.”
He said Concepcion “ran every morning in full plastics in the Las Vegas sun, endured wet and dry saunas each day, and trained at the top Rank gym and also at Elite Fitness in Henderson. We used many different techniques to lose weight ,sweat suits, aberline, and saposatories ,He dried out completely and at the weigh-in Rafael had terrible cotton mouth and was taken to the hospital after the weigh-in to be re hydrated again.”
The manager claimed the doctor who looked after Concepcion said that “he had level 3 dehydration” adding that “Team Concepcion was very anguished all week by the weight, and it is my word to you that we tried 110% to make this weight.”
De Berry recounted that on the morning of the weigh-in he “sat with Rafael in a sauna for an hour and sweated out a small lake while Rafael was completely dry.” He claimed “these same people who made claims that we didn't attempt to make the weight where witness to Rafael's dehydration.”
Taking a potshot at Team Donaire, Concepcion’s manager said the claims on Concepcion’s weight was “ a way for those same people to explain how Rafael was able to take Donaires best shots and keep coming. As you are aware Rafael is a warrior and gives his best every fight.”
He said he was “very proud of Rafael’s effort, the improved head movement and overall defense and his general performance was great” even though he conceded that Donaire “ is a classy fighter and I am not going to criticize his tactics in the later rounds because it enabled him to win. Yet it would have been interesting if he had decided to trade more with Rafael.”
De Berry said Concepcion “ plans to take a much needed break for a bit as he has been training (originally for Drian Francisco and then for Nonito Donaire) for approx 14 weeks.” He said they plan to address the weight problems of Concepcion after he takes a break and indicated that “if we can not make 115 any more we will go up to 118lbs.”
He said Concepcion arrived back in Panama today and is satisfied with his performance although “ he was annoyed that Donaire didn't engage with him often and at comments that came from Donaire that if Rafael had made the 115 limit he would have knocked him out early, Donaire is a classy fighter he doesn't need to resort to such BS.”De Berry accused Team Donaire of “ looking for excuses as to why their star didn't shine. It is quite simple Rafael is a very good fighter that I think they over looked. He has a deceptive record and is very strong mentally.”
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