WBO Featherweight Champion Steven Luevano Defends August 15th!
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (July 14, 2009)    
There’s an old saying that “nice guys finish last”, but in WBO Featherweight champion Steven Luevano let’s just say he’s an exception to the rule. He has had close to 300 amateur bouts so you could say he paid his dues before entering the pro ranks in June of 2000. He was the Olympic alternate to Rocky Juarez who I guess you could say is now Luevano’s alternate being the WBO’s #3 contender. In the mean time #1 contender Bernabe Concepcion, 29-1-1 (16) gets his shot August 15th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Luevano got off on the right foot signing with 2008’s Manager of the Year Cameron Dunkin who has had 13 world champions. “Steven is a real hard working blue collar type of guy. He’s a really good person who is very honest and has no ego. He’s very quiet and very, very loyal,” said Dunkin. “He and his wife Marina have been together since they were 16 years old. They have 3 kids together and they are crazy about each other and they love their children to death. They do all kinds of activities with their kids. The one thing I can say about Steven is I wish I could manage 10 more fighters like him,” he added.

I have to say after talking to Luevano over the phone it comes through loud and clear how humble of a person he is. I had the pleasure of seeing him fight for the first time in person in his 4th defense defeating previously unbeaten Australian Billy Dib, 21-1 (11), the WBO Asian Pacific champion, by winning a decision over 12 rounds. “He didn’t seem to be too happy after the fight,” said Luevano. Seems Dib admitted he wasn’t the best fighter “that night” last October in Atlantic City!

In Concepcion, Luevano will continue the Mexican-Filipino rivalry that fellow countryman Manny Pacquiao started. “I know he is tough, strong and has a wild right hook, that I plan to counter,” said Luevano. The two were scheduled to fight on the Pacquiao-Hatton under card May 2nd. “I pulled a back muscle running down a hill,” he added. He trains at the Oxnard gym under trainer Robert Garcia, the former IBF Super featherweight champion.

After winning his first 13 fights Luevano was put in with veteran Ivan Alvarez, 18-11, who had been in war’s in holding his own with Johnny Tapia (WBO Super Fly title), Paulie Ayala, Bones Adams (WBA Super Ban title), Oscar Larios and Rocky Juarez. “I didn’t realize who he had fought until near fight time,” said Luevano. He would stop Alvarez in the 1st round in October of 2002. In 2003 he defeated John Nolasco, 11-1-2, who had just defeated unbeaten Israel Perez. “He was a good fighter,” added Luevano.

In 2004 Luevano received a cut eye in defeating veteran Armando Cordoba, 20-12-1, the Panamanian Super featherweight champion. Another cut in the same place two fights later while fighting Fred Neal, 17-2-2. “I got cut in the 2nd round and was very concerned,” said Luevano. He would score 3 knockdowns in the 10th and final round in
stopping Neal. He would win his first small title in stopping Genaro Trazancos, 21-6-1, for the WBC Continental Americas featherweight title in June of 2005. In his next fight he added the WBO NABO super bantamweight title defeating Ruben Estanislao, 17-8-2, over 12 rounds. “I went down to 122 for this fight but it was too light,” he added.

Next up would be a rough fight with Martin Honorio, 19-3-1, who would later fight for the IBF featherweight title with Robert Guerrero. “He would head butt and fight very dirty. Though it was a good experience for me,” said Luevano. He had Honorio down in the 2nd round in winning a decision over 10 rounds. Two fights later in mid 2006 Luevano defeated current IBF featherweight champion Cristobal Cruz, 32-7-1, for the WBO NABO featherweight title over 12 rounds. Asking him about fighting him again, “I would like to unify the titles”.

Almost a year to the day in July of 2007 Luevano would win the vacant WBO featherweight title over previously unbeaten Nicky Cook, 27-1 (15), in the United Kingdom. “I thought I might need a knockout to win over there,” said Luevano. Left uppercut body shots in the 2nd and 3rd rounds dropped Cook. He continued his body attack with knockdowns in the 9th and again a body shot in the 11th until the referee finally stopped it at the 0:29 mark.

Within 3 months Luevano was making his first defense in winning a lopsided decision over Antonio Davis, 24-3, at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Next up in early 2008 was Terdsak Jandaeng, 29-2, of Thailand, whom he defeated just as soundly. “He was really strong. He knocked me down in the 4th and seconds later I dropped him but the referee ruled it a slip,” said Luevano. The only losses Jandaeng had suffered were elimination bouts to Joan Guzman and Juan Manuel Marquez.

In June of 2008 in Luevano’s closest fight he fought to a draw with Puerto Rico’s Mario Santiago, 19-1, in his third straight fight at the Mandalay Bay. “I fought his fight,” said Luevano. Although one judge had Luevano ahead by 6 points, the other two had Santiago ahead by 2 points and one even. Overall Luevano scored more points but that did not change the decision. Santiago would go a year without another fight that I witnessed in Atlantic City last month in winning an 8 round decision. This might be the reason Santiago is not in the WBO ratings. That brings us up to the Dib fight and now the Concepcion bout scheduled next month at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

I believe Luevano’s manager sums it up best. “I’ve known Steve since 1997 and I’ve never heard him raise his voice, never heard him say a bad word about anyone and never asked me for a loan or help or something extra. I’ve gotten him a bonus many times or extra money, tickets or whatever but he’s never asked and all he ever does is thank me,” said Dunkin. “He never knew who he was fighting for his first 26-27 fights! I used to say” Hey Steven don’t you want to know who the hell you’re fighting? And he would say I never knew who I was fighting in the amateurs for over 12 years! Besides, Cam, you know what your doing! When I got sick with cancer he called me to see if he could do anything for me? I LOVE STEVEN LUEVANO!” If that doesn’t sum it up, what does?

Ken at: kenhissner@yahoo.com

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