Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas will rock hard on August 15 when Filipino-American Flyweight sensation Nonito Donaire squares off with Panamanian Rafael Concepcion in an event tagged "Pinoy Power 2", Top Rank's Newest Boxing Installment.
The featured event will also showcase The Ring Magazine's No. 2 rated Featherweight Mexican-American Steven Luevano against Bernabe Concepcion of the Philippines considered by many Filipino boxing aficionados as the next Manny Pacquiao.
Nonito Donaire vs. Rafael Concepcion
Nonito "The Flash" Donaire (21W-14KO-1L) is the IBF and IBO Flyweight Champion, and has earned the crown after his 5th round stoppage of Vic Darchinyan, which remains to date as Darchinyan's only loss.
Donaire had successfully defended his championship three times, with all defense fights ending by knockout, the last of which is against Raul Martinez, who Donaire dropped 4 times resulting to stoppage. That defense catapulted him into the The Ring Magazine's Pound for Pound Rankings for the first time at No. 7, a notch above Darchinyan.
Donaire will be giving up his flyweight title to move up and challenge Rafael "El Torito" Concepcion at the super flyweight level.
"El Torito" Concepcion (13W-8KO-3L-1D) is best remembered in the Philippines as AJ "Bazooka" Banal's conqueror. Banal was heading all judges' scorecards before being sent to the canvass in the tenth round of their bout in Cebu City, Philippines for the WBA Super Flyweight Championship.
Concepcion's victory over Banal was considered a huge upset as Banal was locally known as a knockout sensation, with most fights not reaching later rounds.
Concepcion then lost to Jorge Arce who stopped him in the 9th round of their bout but won two straight bouts in a rebound, with one win via TKO.
Steven Luevano vs. Bernabe Concepcion
Budding boxing technician Steven Luevano (36W-15KO-1L-1D) will be pitted against the WBO's No. 1 Contender - Philippines' Concepcion in a featherweight clash for Luevano's 5th defense of his title.
Luevano is a skilled boxer who possesses technical boxing techniques as well as counter-punching abilities. He had successfully defended his title 4 times, last of which is against the flamboyant Billy Dib of Australia from which he won via unanimous decision.
On his second defense, he was pitted against the Thai brawler Terdsak Jandaeng displaying great boxing form and ability, ultimately winning by unanimous decision, and earning the record in the featherweight division as having the most landed jab in history.
"Kamaong Llave" (wrench-fisted) Concepcion (29W-16KO-1L-1D) is one of the Philippines most promising boxing prospects, and is unbeaten in his last 22 bouts. He is being trained by Freddie Roach and had been under Top Rank Promotions since turning 17, a year after turning professional four years ago.
"Abe" (short for Bernabe) had been fighting outside the Philippines since being career-supervised by Manny Pacquiao, and has fought 8 of his last 9 fights outside the Philippines. His up-coming battle with Luevano is regarded as a catapult that will haul his career into the elite level.
"Pinoy Power 2" will also feature undefeated Cuban heavyweight sensation Olanier Solis against junior welterweight contender Mark "MJM Grand" Melligen.
This will be the second attempt at pitting Luevano and Concepcion against each other. And this bout will feature a sound boxer against a power-puncher. Luevano can be expected to be highly technical on his approach, and Concepcion will bring in his usual explosiveness into the fight.
Luevano's second title defense had exposed his weakness. Though he dominated Jandaeng throughout the fight, there were times when he got rocked dizzy by solid shots and there were even times when he was close to folding down.
Abe Concepcion on the other hand hadn't fought anybody as technical as Luevano in the past. His development under Roach will play a major factor for him in this bout. Though he's not a single-dimensional, walk-in-a-straight-line brawler, it's no guarantee that his speed and power can neutralize Luevano's in-ring intellect.
If Abe Concepcion wants to be the next Manny Pacquiao, he will have to develop the rare skill of sticking to a good game plan and executing it perfectly.
We can expect fight domination to be back and forth throughout the bout, a good display of ring generalship courtesy of Luevano, and the usual awesomeness of power punches which will be brought in by Abe Concepcion.
We can expect Donaire to be his usual explosive self even at the start of the bout. Donaire's way of measuring his opponent is by throwing a variety of power punches. Though El Torito Concepcion is a sturdy fighter, he will eventually fold down on Donaire's pressure.
Though El Torito can possibly upset Donaire, nothing much can be expected on this bout but a one-sided beating designed merely for Donaire to test the grounds at 115lbs. in his silent pursuit of Darchinyan.
Donaire may choose to fight another Jr. bantamweight after this, probably Jorge Arce, or Alexander Muñoz, or choose to thread the waters at the bantamweight level right after where competition is deeper and bring fire to his rivalry with no other than Darchinyan.