Bernabe Concepcion on track for a shot at Israel Vazquez
When I read this article by Rey Danseco about Bernabe Concepcion being promised a title shot by Bob Arum after 3 consecutive wins, one thing caught my attention. We all know Bob Arum a couple of months ago announced that Bernabe Concepcion might face Daniel Ponce de Leon within the year, but in Danseco’s article, another title fight scenario is unfolding – a shot at current WBC super bantamweight champion Israel “Magnifico” Vazquez. Now, this is one fight I know Bernabe Concepcion really wants.
January 2001, then 24-year old Israel Vazquez, riding on a 4KO streak, fought for the vacant NABF super bantamweight title – the same title Bernabe Concepcion has right now. Then Mexican Superbantam prospect Vazquez was up against a former WBO intercontinental bantamweight champion from the Philippines with a record of 20-5-1 10KOs – his name was Dondon Concepcion, Bernabe’s older brother.
Vasquez, like I said, was on a 4KO streak at that time, Dondon on the other hand is on a two-fight losing streak, even losing one fight by KO in Japan. Dondon was also moving up one division higher, but that didn’t matter for title shots for Filipinos didn’t come often in those days and Dondon simply wouldn’t want to pass this opportunity up. Vazquez KOed Dondon Concepcion in round 3 of that fight, practically putting an end to Dondon’s bid for a world title.
Dondon Concepcion has seemingly retired after that loss to Vazquez. He never fought professionally again and instead chose to spend his time training young boxers in one of the top boxing gyms in the Philippines. Seven years after that match, Vazquez has become known as one of the best fighters in the world, pound for pound. He now sports an impressive record of 42-4-0 spiced with 31KOs. He has held the IBF and WBC super bantamweight titles and is 9-1-0 8KOs in his last ten fights. Young Bernabe Concepcion on the other hand, was just barely out of elementary school when his elder brother was retired by Vasquez. As fate would have it, Bernabe Concepcion would follow in his brother’s footsteps and would take up boxing himself. He is now the WBC Youth super bantamweight champion and currently holds the NABF super bantamweight title – the same title Israel Vazquez and his brother Dondon fought for. He has a formidable record himself at 24-1-1 13KOs and is on a current winning streak over Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.
It really is a small world. Bernabe Concepcion is still three of four fights away from a title shot, and if “Magnifico” still is top dog after a year or two, this two will surely cross paths and believe me, Bernabe Concepcion will not just be fighting for the title – it would be personal.