Bob Arum’s “Pinoy Power 2” Packs Punch
By John Pullman, Doghouse Boxing (Aug 18, 2009)  
With boxing cards being extremely thin in depth as of late, Bob Arum stepped up and put together a deep, exciting event this past Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Nonito Donaire vs. Rafael Concepcion was the headline. And an exciting Featherweight Title Fight, Steven Luevano vs. Bernabe Concepcion, was co-featured.

In the main event, “The Filipino Flash” Donaire was a heavy favorite, but with Concepcion coming in 4 pounds above the 115 limit, he provided a much rougher fight than Donaire bargained for. Donaire landed a lot of flashy punches, but Concepcion seemed unfazed as he continued to follow Donaire all around the ring. Donaire had to pull out every piece of foot work in the book to keep his back off the ropes.

Concepcion commented after the fight, via a translator, “If I knew it was going to be a marathon I would of ran …” That comment drew a lot of “boos” from a packed Filipino house.

After winning a unanimous decision, Donaire had this to say, “If he was a 115 pounds he would of went down …”

All in all it was an unexpected, competitive, exciting fight.

In the co feature, WBO Featherweight Champ Steven Luevano put his belt on the line against an exciting part of Freddie Roach’s stable, Bernabe Concepcion. In round 1 Concepcion seemed to surprise Luevano with his explosiveness, landing a few crisp right hands. But Luevano made a few nice, strategic adjustments and kept Bernabe at bay with distance control and seemed to pick up the middle rounds.

Toward the end of the 7th round the action was picking up and becoming less of a chess match. Bernabe landed a right hand that seemed to wobble Luevano which caused the pro Filipino crowd to erupt. The bell then rang, but with all the yelling Bernabe seemed to not hear it. Luevano smiled and reached out to Concepcion with two hands, as the fighters had been touching gloves after each round. Bernabe threw two punches putting Luevano on his butt and nearly out. The referee, Jay Nady, late to the scene, jumped in between the men, immediately disqualifying Concepcion.

The crowd was in a frenzy but Bob Arum said after the fight, “I’ll try and put together a rematch in December and they’ll make more money than they did tonight.” Good call Bob.

Continuing to serve true to the headline “Pinoy Power,” Bob Arum showcased another exciting Filipino, “Mighty” Mark Melligen (16-1) as he battled Ernesto Zepeda (39-13-4). Mighty Mark proved to be way too strong and explosive as he beat Ernesto to the punch from the onslaught, causing the referee to call a halt to this bout in the 4th. Mark is a big strong welterweight and has a very similar style to Filipino favorite Manny Pacquiao. He looks to be an exciting prospect for Top Rank.

And to open the TV version of the card, Bob Arum supplied the fans with exciting lightweight Anthony Peterson (29-0). He was making his return to the ring after a year lay off against tough Mexican Luis Arceo (22-9-2). Peterson stepped right up to Arceo and put him on his heels with pinpoint punching. Arceo was extremely busy and threw a lot of punches, Peterson deflected and slipped most of them and threw beautiful counters. The fight turned out to be an action packed one sided affair.

For fewer than 40 dollars, this deep, exciting card could be viewed on pay per view. It is surprising to me that a major network didn’t pick this one up. Thanks to Top Rank for taking the bull by the horns and making these exciting underrated fights happen.

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