With the Ruiz assignment over with, what’s next for Abe?
Bernabe Concepcion’s hard-earned win over former WBO NABO and WBA FEDEBOL Super Bantamweight Titlist Juan Ruiz in enemy teritory might not be the highlight-reel performance that a lot of people expected and it certainly wasn’t the KO victory Freddie Roach predicted, but hey, Juan Ruiz was no pushover. Ruiz may not have the power, but he was a former champ and hasn’t been knocked down in his career, yet 20-year old Bernabe Concepcion upped him in his own backyard. Now the next question is what’s up next for Concepcion? Is he ready for a title shot? Will any REAL champ give him a shot?With the maturity he showed against a veteran boxer like Ruiz who employed dirty smothering tactics, he showed that he’s class above the rest. Concepcion was visibly gassed after reportedly having to shed extra pounds to make weight (so he could keep his belt), and was up against an opponent 2 pounds over the limit. Team Concepcion also reportedly came to Queretaro Mexico only a few days before the fight not giving enough time for Bernabe Concepcion to adjust to Queretaro’s high altitude unlike his opponent, but he showed that he can make do with “brains” if he really can’t rely on his speed, power and stamina.
Yes, the boy is ripe for a shot, or at least a fight against big names in the division. By beating a former WBO NABO titlist, he can be lined up for a shot at any fringe WBO title where he’s already rated number 5, but another Filipino in Boom Boom Bautista holds both the WBO Intercon and Youth belts so that is far from being a reality (ALA reportedly doesn’t want any piece of him). If Juanma Lopez loses his Feb 23 fight, Concepcion just might have a shot at an elimination bout with Juanma for Daniel Ponce de Leon’s belt – but Juanma has ducked Concepcion once, I think he’ll do it again.
Most of the big names in super feather is already working to fight someone else if not already scheduled to fight somebody else. It is also interesting why boxrec.com despite Concepcion’s two regional belts and two successful title defenses demoted him in its current ranking 7 places down! In his place are two Japanese fighters who doesn’t even hold regional belts and five Thais without real titles sporting “impressive” win-loss records padded by wins over unknowns (tuktuk drivers perhaps?).
Concepcion by the way boxing politics is going, seems headed for another title defense against another “spoiler-type” opposition in a couple of months, doesn’t matter, he’s young and any fight outside the country is still money in the bank. By beating Ruiz who is a former WBA regional title-holder, we can only hope that the WBA gives Concepcion a top 10 ranking. Right now, only the WBC and the WBO has Concepcion in their top 10 list although reliable sites like Fightnews.com has him rated as one of the 10 best super bantams in the world today (no fighters with padded records nor hard-to-pronounce names in that list.)