Abe Concepcion-Steven Luevano post fight

The much awaited match up between Steven Luevano, the reigning WBO featherweight champion and Filipino Bernabe (Abe) Concepcion ended in a weird and controversial conclusion.

Steven Luevano vowed that his classic boxing style will prevail over the hard-hitting Concepcion. He also hinted in an interview that Concepcion may not be mentally ready for a fight this big at this level and that maturity will determine the outcome of the fight.

True to his words, Steven Luevano controlled most of the fight. He opened up with his double jab combinations in his attempt to derail Concepcion’s attacks. After seeing that his jab was preventing the Filipino from pressuring him towards the ropes, Luevano threw jabs, some very soft mosquito jabs, which confused the hard-hitting native of Catanduanes.

Concepcion would attempt to reach out to Luevano’s body but the champion would successfully slip and slide by simply stepping back or sidestepping away from the challenger. Although Concepcion connected with body shots which visibly rocked Luevano they were very few and far between.

Rounds 1 to 7 all had the same story. Concepcion was giving Luevano too much respect thus in turn, was not posting any points in the judges eyes. At the end of the 7th round, 2 judges had Luevano up on points.

Then a most bizarre incident happened. Right at the last few seconds of the 7th, Luevano dropped his guard thinking that he was far enough from Concepcion and waited for the bell to sound. Luevano was starting to reach out to Concepcion to touch gloves (which both fighters were consistently doing in every round). As he was doing so, Abe Concepcion unleashed a jab-straight combination and caught the chin of Luevano. The champion crumpled to the floor.

Pandemonium broke loose referee Jim Nady immediately called the punch a flagrant one, disqualified Concepcion which led to the end of the bout.

Freddie Roach, Concepcion’s trainer who over the telephone was confident of a win, had an exchange of words with the referee. Referee Jim Nady claimed that Concepcion heard the bell as well as heard him shout that time was up but still continued to deliver the powerful punch. Freddie Roach fired back and asked the referee how sure he was that Abe heard the bell and his voice over the noise and excitement inside the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel and Casino.

After cooler heads prevailed via a phone conversation, Mr. Aljo Jaro, manager of Abe Concepcion explained that although they concede that the punch was thrown right after the bell, it was not done intentionally and was in fact already on its way to the target as the bell rang. Calling it a flagrant punch, he said, was not a right call. Freddie Roach also later conceded that the call was correct and that the punch came after the bell but reiterated that Abe Concepcion is a gentleman fighter and will never do that on purpose.

The fight will go down on record as ending at the end of the 7th round because the challenger was disqualified. Steven Luevano therefore remains to be champion.

When asked if Freddie Roach wants a rematch, his reply was simply, “Tomorrow”.