Hard Night At The Hard Rock

Report & Photos By Roy & Marlene Marquez “The Road Warriors”


Nonito Donaire, fighting for the WBA interim super flyweight title, defeated a super bantamweight in Rafael Concepcion to claim the 115 lb. belt at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV. Concepcion wasn’t eligible for the title given he weighed in 4.5 lbs beyond the super flyweight limit. “The guy was a 122 pounder tonight”, said Donaire following the fight. “If he was 115 lbs. he would have gone down early.”

Donaire (22-1) started strong by staggering Concepcion (13-4-1) with an uppercut in the first. The dominance continued in the second and third rounds when Donaire landed a number of counter rights. Donaire looked to stop Concepcion early by loading up on the right but injured his hand and was forced to alter his game plan. “He ran into all these punches and hurt my hand”, declared Donaire.

Concepcion took advantage of the suddenly one-handed Donaire and took the fight to him. He charged after Donaire with a two-fisted attack. Concepcion did his best work when he was able to trap Donaire, who had taken to running. “I came to fight. If I knew it was a marathon I would have run”, said a frustrated Concepcion through an interpreter. With Concepcion in control of the middle rounds the fight tightened.

Aware of the situation, Donaire used the jab to regain control of the fight. He followed the jab with enough right hands to win the late rounds and the fight. Judge Max De Luca scored the bout 117-111; Judge Duane Ford scored it 115-113; and Judge Jerry Roth scored it 116-112 all in favor of Nonito Donaire.

For seven long rounds, featherweight champion Steven Luevano and challenger Bernabe Concepcion fought a tactical, defense-first fight.

And then, a full second after the sounding of the seventh bell, Concepcion landed a left-right that brought the contest to a sudden and dramatic end.

The combination left Luevano sprawled across the canvas; a winner by disqualification.

Referee Jay Nady disqualified Concepcion (29-2-1) when he correctly determined the punches were late. “He did hit him late”, agreed Concepcion’s trainer Freddie Roach. “It’s a good call.”

With the victory Luevano (37-1-1) retained his WBO featherweight title. Both sides agreed to a rematch promoter Bob Arum suggested could happen as early as December.

Filipino southpaw Mark Melligen starched fellow welterweight Ernesto “Baby” Zepeda over three-plus rounds until the fight was stopped at 2:40 of the fourth. Melligen (16-1) kept a jab in Zepeda’s face and followed it with straight lefts Zepeda didn’t see and couldn’t avoid. With his face busted up and his left eye closing Zepeda mistakenly retreated to the ropes near the end of the fourth. Melligen zeroed in on Zepeda and tattooed him with heavy lefts. Zepeda (39-13-4) wilted under the barrage and referee Joe Cortez waived off the contest. Melligen packs a stiff punch and now has 12 KOs to his credit.

Undefeated super lightweight Anthony Peterson hooked his way past left-hooker Luis Arceo to win a 10-round unanimous decision. Peterson (29-0) stood in front of Arceo and traded hooks, choosing to fight toe-to-toe in tight quarters. A marked difference in hand speed enabled Peterson to repeatedly beat Arceo to the punch and pile up points. Arceo (22-9-2) did damage early by digging shots to the body. However, Arceo soon abandoned the body attack leery of a probable point deduction following repeated warnings from referee Robert Byrd. Unable to go to the body, Arceo started head hunting with little success. Peterson either bobbed or tucked his chin and rolled away from danger. The fight was scored 98-92, 99-91 & 97-93 for Peterson.

Off-air results:

Rufino Flores quit on his stool following the first round of his super welterweight bout against Danny Escobar (3-0). Escobar winged shots against a retreating Flores (1-3) on route to the TKO victory.

Las Vegan Diego Magdaleno cruised to another super featherweight victory with 60-54 x 3 whitewashing of Carlos Vinan (8-8-1). Magdaleno (11-0) peppered Vinan with speedy combinations in front of an appreciative hometown crowd.

Light heavyweight Ismayl Sillakh improved to 9-0 with 8 KOs by dismantling Ray Smith (9-4) of Little Rock, AR. Sillakh landed a series of unanswered body shots and right hands that forced referee Robert Byrd to stop the contest at 1:55 of the second round.


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