Sunday, March 26, 2023  |



Weekend Review: Lopez, Donaire dominate


Nonito Donaire took charge of his fight against Hernan Marquez once he switched from southpaw to orthodox Saturday. Photo / Tom Casino-Showtime

Juan Manuel Lopez: The newest Puerto Rican star has what predecessor Felix Trinidad had: a flair for the dramatic. THE RING’s No. 2-rated featherweight had an overmatched Bernabe Concepcion down and on his way out in the first round Saturday in San Juan when he threw us a curve – he was knocked down (and hurt?) himself. Great drama. He then did in the next round what Trinidad typically did – decided enough was enough and put Concepcion away for good. It was an absolutely thrilling 5 minutes, 37 seconds. Lopez probably will end up on the wrong end of a knockout or two because of his aggressive style but be assured that, win or lose, he will provide us many more exciting moments before he’s finished. Lopez vs. Rafael Marquez on Sept. 18. Can’t wait.

Bernabe Concepcion: The Real Deal turned out to be a pretender. Concepcion had his moment, putting Lopez down at the end of the first round, but was otherwise completely overwhelmed by far superior opponent. The prot├®g├® of Manny Pacquiao seemed to be intimidated, which is understandable considering the challenge of facing someone like Lopez in front of a wildly partisan crowd in San Juan. At the same time, Concepcion has been a professional since 2004. He has been in big fights before, including a title shot against Steven Luevano that ended with the Filipino being disqualified for punching after the bell. We expected more from him on Saturday.

Nonito Donaire: Donaire deserves kudos for trying something different against capable Hernan Marquez, his decision to fight from a southpaw stance to start the fight. The Filipino-born Californian also deserves credit for switching back to orthodox when it became clear that his experiment had failed. Once he did, he turned a close fight into a wipe out. Marquez had no idea how to cope with the right-handed Donaire, who ended up with an eighth-knockout in what was quickly becoming a brutal beating. Donaire said he plans to continue working on the alternate stance, which might not be a good idea as he moves up in weight and level of opposition. I have a feeling he’ll have his left foot forward when he faces the likes of Fernando Montiel.

Mike Jones: Jones has a non-descript name but there’s nothing ordinary about his ability; the undefeated welterweight from Philadelphia can both box and punch, which he proved again by stopping tough Irving Garcia in five rounds on Friday night in Atlantic City, N.J. There are times when he seems to be overly passive but results are results: 17 of his 18 knockouts have come within five rounds, which means he’s aggressive enough. Jones would like to challenge for Andre Berto’s alphabet title next. That would be a terrific, evenly matched fight between fighters with a combined record of 48-0 (with 38 knockouts). And I give Jones, the better boxer, a good chance to win.

John Molina: The Southern California lightweight was being thoroughly outboxed by Henry Lundy on Friday in Lincoln, R.I., yet kept coming. Lundy rubbed it in by sticking his tongue out at one point, which might’ve caused some fighters to lose their cool. Molina, calm and cool, just kept coming. And his persistence paid off. He knocked Lundy down with a vicious right in the eighth round and then took him out in the 11th, pounding away until the referee stepped in. Molina was down 98-91, 98-91 and 97-92 when the fight was stopped. I suspect Molina’s solid but limited boxing ability will hold him back against slick technicians – as it did against Martin Honorio last year – but his determination and power will win him fights and make him a favorite among fans for some time to come.

Henry Lundy: Lundy reportedly declared more than once before the fact that Molina is a dumb fighter, implying that he didn’t expect to have any problems with his hard-punching opponent. Who looks dumb now? They say it’s not bragging if you can back it up in the ring or any other arena of sports. I never bought that. It’s bragging even if you win. And if you lose, particularly if you get your butt knocked out, you just look like an idiot. Forgive the clich├® but it really is better to let your gloves do the talking, as Molina did on Friday night. On the positive side, Lundy is a good boxer who also showed some courage late in the fight. I hope he learned from this experience and bounces back.

Nevada State Athletic Commission: The NSAC voted 4-1 on Friday to require Antonio Margarito to apply for a license in California before doing so in Nevada. Margarito had his license revoked for at least a year in California in February of 2009 after he was caught with doctored hand pads before his fight against Shane Mosley in Los Angeles. This might finally force Margarito to return to the scene of the crime and take his chances with the California State Athletic Commission, which might not be sympathetic. Margarito last year intended to apply for a license in Texas and fought in Mexico, which California might interpret as end runs around the body that revoked his license. NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer told that his commission won’t necessarily deny Margarito a license if California does so. Stay tuned.

Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz: A super middleweight fight between No. 5-rated Sakio Bika and undefeated Jean Paul Mendy was recently added to the Marquez-Diaz undercard, bolstering an already ridiculously strong supporting slate by today’s standards. The undercard fighters have a combined record of 211-15-5 (with 143 knockouts). Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, hopes the investment pays off. “People always criticize promoters for their undercards,” he said. “I can honestly say this is the best undercard we’ve put together since we formed Golden Boy Promotions. This is a pay-view-card, which means we pay for everything. We’re taking a big risk. I hope the fans support us and come out in big numbers to watch on pay-per-view or live at Mandalay Bay. If they don’t, I don’t want to hear anyone complain about weak undercards anymore.”

Chris Arreola vs. Manuel Quezada on Aug. 13: Quezada is journeyman heavyweight from a small town in Central California who was knocked out in one round by Travis Walker, the same Walker who was KO’d by Arreola in three rounds. And say what you will about Arreola, whose idea of training is lifting food to mouth repeatedly. Bottom line: This will be fun to watch, as all Arreola fights are. Arreola’s hometown fans in Ontario, Calif., the site of the fight, almost assuredly will see their man score a knockout. We can only hope that it doesn’t happen too quickly, which would deprive us of a good show. And, for those in the greater L.A. area, the Citizens Business Bank Arena is a world-class venue and great place to watch a fight. Aug. 13 should be a great night.

Timothy Bradley: The junior welterweight star was asked whether he’d be willing to take random blood tests to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. one day. “The only thing I’m on is G.O.D., man. G.O.D. So you don’t have to worry about any drugs in my system.”