by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
EL CAJON — There’s a saying “be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.” Freddie Roach had always said that Bernabe “The Real Deal” Concepcion needed tougher opponents to prepare for a world title.
Roach got more than he bargained for last Thursday night. At Manny Pacquiao’s first boxing promotional foray, MP Promotions, the 20-year-old Concepcion squeaked out a hard fought knockout victory against a tough chin, iron hearted Giovanni Caro of Mexico at the Sycuan Resort and Casino in San Diego.
“The Real Deal” Concepcion faced a real test. Concepcion’s last two fights ended in knockouts lasting five total rounds and he barely broke a sweat in either of those two fights. This one lasted eight rounds but he left the ring with a left eye the size of a baseball and had blood seeping through the corner slit of the eye.
Caro gave Concepcion fits all night long. Reminiscent of the Antonio Margarito vs. Miguel Cotto match up, Concepcion kept throwing his best shot at Caro but the strong willed Mexican kept coming.
During the first round, Caro landed a series of jab and right cross combinations aimed at the left eye of Concepcion.
In the third round, Concepcion landed a beautifully timed right cross to the chin of Caro, which immediately dropped him to the ground. This wasn’t enough to scare the Mexican fighter. And Concepcion did not try to finish him off.
By the fifth round, Caro continued to pepper Concepcion’s left eye, which by then had swelled to the size of a mouse.
It seemed that Concepcion threw the harder and cleaner punches at Caro throughout the night. However, the left eye now nearly shut bothered him creating a blind side that Caro quickly exposed. In between rounds, Roach’s corner was frantic trying to keep the swelling down as ringside doctors continued to monitor Concepcion’s eye.
In the eighth round, the two fighters were tangled up in the corner. Concepcion threw what seemed like a clean right uppercut to Caro’s right mid section area. However, Caro bent down like it was a low blow and the referee deducted Concepcion a point.
As Caro gathered himself, the ringside doctor made a quick check on Concepcion’s eye. The doctor was about to stop the fight due to the massive swelling around the left eye but Concepcion pleaded his case saying, “I can see. I can still see.”
With time running out and the doctor nearly stopping the fight, the predominantly Filipino crowd rose to their feet. Concepcion knew he had to finish the fight soon. He looked over to Pacquiao’s ringside seat. Concepcion bumped his chest twice with his fist and nodded over to the pound-4-pound king.
Once the referee began action, Concepcion pounced on Caro. Concepcion landed a series of right and left hooks cleanly to the head of Caro causing the latter to stagger towards the corner ropes. Concepcion continued to swing wildly and finished Caro off with another devastating right cross. Caro fell with his back towards the corner ropes. The referee counted him out.
After the fight, Concepcion, who required eight stitches after the match, said that there was no way he was going to lose that fight.
“I was just thinking of all the Filipinos out there in the crowd, [and] around the world supporting me,” said Concepcion. “I didn’t want to give up. I didn’t want to surrender. I wanted to keep going to give them a good fight so I kept fighting.”
He said that Caro was one of the strongest and best fighters he’s ever faced.
“He’s a good fighter and strong puncher,” said Concepcion. “He has a strong chin and even stronger heart.”
Roach said this fight would help Concepcion prepare for a world title shot.
“If we want to fight for a world title we needed some rounds instead of a two or three round fight,” said Roach. “He [Caro] gave me exactly what we wanted. It was a tough fight maybe more than we asked for but you know it’ll build character for Bernabe and now we know what to expect in tough fights. ”
FilAm Brian Viloria (23-2 13 KOs) won easily against Javier Lagos by unanimous decision. The 27-year-old flyweight outmatched his opponent for all eight rounds. Viloria used quick feet and good combination punching to defeat Lagos.
Viloria said that the match was a good tune up for his December 13 title match against IBF Light Flyweight titlist Ulisses Solis in Macau, China.
Dennis Laurente of Paranaque, Philippines (30-3-5 16 KOs) stopped Arturo Urena in the sixth round of the scheduled eight round bout. Doctors stopped the fight due to cuts around Urena’s face.