Philippine Daily Inquirer

Donaire favored, Concepcion underdog in Puerto Rico

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FILIPINO BERNABE Concepcion will be a huge underdog when he challenges Puerto Rican Juan Manuel Lopez for the World Boxing Organizati­on featherwei­ght crown Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In contrast, the odds are stacked in Nonito Donaire’s favor when the Filipino star battles Mexican Hernan Marquez for theWorld Boxing Associatio­n super flyweight title. Both fights are set for 12 rounds. Another Filipino, Eden Sonsona, tries to sustain his knockout run against Puerto Rican Jonathan Oquendo in a WBO super bantamweig­ht eliminator set for 10 rounds.

Oddsmakers have installed the unbeaten Lopez (28-0 with 25 knockouts) a 5½-1 favorite to retain his crown against Concepcion (30-2-1 with 17 KOs).

An upset can’t be discounted, however, as Concepcion has reportedly trained hard at theWild Card Gym under the guidance of Manny Pacquiao’s Filipino trainers—Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri.

Concepcion also has an additional motivation as Pacquiao reportedly promised to give him $10,000 if he beats Lopez, best remembered by Filipinos for dominating and eventually stopping former world champion Gerry Peñalosa in 10 rounds last year.

Quelling speculatio­ns that he struggled to make weight, Donaire checked in at 114.5 pounds at the weigh-in Friday, well within the 115-lb limit.

Donaire (23-1 with 15 KOs), however, said that it’s going to be his last fight as a super flyweight as his body is still filling in.

The 21-year-old Sonsona, who has stopped his last three opponents, is also tipped to prevail over Oqueno and improve his 21-5 record with seven knockouts.

The fight card dubbed The Challenge will be aired by ABS-CBN through Channel 2 starting at 10 p.m. today. There will be a replay on Studio 23 at 7 p.m.

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