Concepcion No Undercard Ornament
by Joel Orellana for Business Mirror
MANNY PACQUIAO may be the toast of the world boxing community, but lurking in Pacman’s shadow is a potential world champion who has started to carve his own niche in the global arena.
Bernabe “Abe” Concepcion, the pride of Catanduanes, fights in the undercard of the Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton mega buck fight on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Concepcion (28-1-1, 16 knockouts) will be going after the World Boxing Organization featherweight crown of Californian Steven Levano (36-1-1, 15 knockouts), his first shot at a world title.
But he won’t be a mere undercard ornament. The country will expectedly be feverishly rooting for him, like what is expected to go Pacquiao’s way.
And the first to do that are his fellow Cantanduanons, who on Friday night gave him a warm sendoff testimonial dinner at the Alano Hall of the Philippine Navy Golf Club.
The event was arranged by the Rotary Club of Parañaque. Government officials, businessmen and well-wishers from Catanduanes raised a glass for 21-year-old Concepcion, who is fast becoming the country’s newest boxing sensation.
For the record, Concepcion knocked out Sande Otieno of Kenya in the fifth round to clinch the World Boxing Council (WBC) International featherweight title on January 11 at the Araneta Coliseum. That was his 17th consecutive win.
“We feel [that] here in Metro Manila, no one is taking the initiative of recognizing the accomplishment of Bernabe Concepcion as a world boxing champion,” said Department of Transportation and Communications Assistant Secretary Atty. Cesar Sarmiento, who organized the event.
“That’s why we thought about this [testimonial dinner and sendoff] and hopefully this occasion would inspire Abe,” Sarmiento added.
Supporters are hopeful the young Concepcion would get as much attention—and cheers—as Pacquiao on fight night.