by R. McCarson
Two top-ten featherweights will take to the ring on Saturday, March 10th. Miguel Angel Garcia (27-0, 23 KOs) will face Bernabe Concepcion (29-5-1, 15 KOs) in the co-headlining bout on Showtime at 10PM ET/PT. The bout will be held at Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Garcia comes into this bout undefeated and ranked 6th in the world among featherweights. He is co-managed by his brother Robert Garcia (former IBF super featherweight champion), and he has made two successful defenses of minor titles that were gained when he defeated Matt Remillard (who was 23-0 at the time) in March of 2011. Remillard went down twice in the ninth, once in the tenth, and his corner called for an end to the bout before the start of the eleventh.
In June of the same year, Garcia knocked out Rafael Guzman, who was 28-2 at the time, in the fourth round. Garcia was originally scheduled to face Miguel Beltran, Jr., but Beltran suffered a hand injury during training and Guzman was a late replacement. Guzman’s previous opponents consisted of a mix of journeyman and untested fighters; this was his first match with a skilled contender. Most recently, Garcia scored a TKO 4 win over Juan Carlos Martinez who was 19-12-1 at the time.
Concepcion, a native of the Philippines, is ranked 10th in the world among featherweights. He is co-managed by Manny Pacquiao and was formerly trained by Freddie Roach. Concepcion comes into this bout looking to right his ship after going 4-3 since 2009.
The first two losses of his career came early on, and he lost both by majority decision. Concepcion suffered his third loss in August of ’09 when he was disqualified for hitting Steve Luevano after the bell in the seventh round. In July of 2010, Concepcion faced Juan Manuel Lopez (who is featured in the main event of this card); a fight that saw both fighters hit the canvas in round one—later to be named Ring Magazine Round of the Year. But Concepcion was knocked down twice in round two, losing the bout by TKO. He followed that with a split decision loss to Juan Carlos Martinez with scores of 74-78, 75-77 and 77-75.
Most recently, Concepcion faced Aaron Garcia, who was 10-2-2 at the time, and left the ring with a split decision win. Prior to that, in February 2010, he scored a unanimous decision win over Mario Santiago who was 21-1-1.
In the main event, Orlando Salido (37-11-2, 25 KOs) will face Juan Manuel Lopez (31-1, 28 KOs) in a WBO featherweight championship rematch. In their previous meeting, in April of 2011, Salido scored a controversial TKO 8 victory when the referee waved the fight off despite the willingness of Lopez to continue, although he was clearly being over-powered by Salido. Video of the eighth round can be seen here.
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