Boxing Notebook: Showtime Shines Again

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 11, 2010

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NEW YORK (BASN) — SHOWTIME continues to put together a number of thrilling and competitive fights. Through the years, the network has worked hard to keep fights on their subscription cable channel instead of Pay-Per-View.

This past weekend, they strengthened their reputation of broadcasting exciting fights. In the main event of a SHOWTIME Championship Boxing doubleheader from San Juan, Puerto Rico, WBO featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez did not disappoint his hometown supporters.

Lopez (29-0, 26 KOs), making the first successful defense of his title, knocked out WBO No. 5 contender Bernabe Concepcion (28-4-1, 15 KOs) in the second round of a wild slugfest.

Lopez went after Concepcion from the opening bell, as the champion’s southpaw style posed a serious problem. Concepcion couldn’t see the Lopez left-hand coming.

Throwing a barrage of punches, Lopez punished the challenger with straight-lefts, left hooks, left uppercuts, and chopping left hands behind a busy right hand. Concepcion went down just over a minute into the fight.

Lopez had an excellent opportunity for a first round stoppage. He pressed Concepcion and was pummeling him heavily into a corner with punches, but a looping left hook from Concepcion surprisingly floored Lopez and silenced the crowd.

Concepcion survived the first round, but not the second.

Once again, Lopez proved too big, strong, fast for Concepcion as a left hand floored the challenger to the canvas. Lopez finished Concepcion by chasing him around the ring behind a barrage of punches before downing him for the third time.

The bout was waved at 2:37 of the second round.

Lopez-Marquez a done deal!

Lopez’ victory was an important one because, he returns to SHOWTIME on September 18, for an attractive showdown with Rafael Marquez.

Marquez, the younger brother of Juan Manuel Marquez, is fresh off his four-fight series with Israel Vazquez in March. Marquez severely lacerated and stopped Vazquez in the third round of what was an amazing rivalry (2-2).

Marquez is a former IBF bantamweight and WBC super bantamweight champion. Marquez won the IBF 118-pound title in 2003 by defeating the man that no fighter wanted to face – Time Austin. Marquez handed Austin is first professional loss and ended his six-year reign as a world champion.

Marquez won (and lost) the WBC 122-pound title during the first three fights of a classic series with Vazquez. Marquez also holds two key wins against former two-division champion Mark Johnson.

Lopez will be fighting a future Hall of Famer in Marquez.

Marquez’ best fights were at 118 and 122. Marquez has ever fought at 126 and Lopez, who won his first world title in the 122-pound division, has had time to adjust to the featherweight class.

Lopez is 8 years younger and has not been in the number of wars that Marquez has been in. However, Lopez nearly suffered a shock defeat to journeyman Rogers Mtagwa last October in what appeared to be his final bout at 122. Lopez was out on his feet in the later rounds against a guy with 12 losses entering the bout.

Donaire victorious

When Nonito Donaire stunned Vic Darchinyan to capture the IBF flyweight title in July 2007, via fifth-round knockout, the boxing world have clamored for a rematch ever since. People have been waiting and waiting for that one fight for years – three years.

Coincidentally, it was Darchinyan, not Donaire that has had the full support of SHOWTIME. Following the Donaire shock, Darchinyan has compiled a record of 7-1-1, 5KOs, became the undisputed WBC/WBA and IBF super flyweight champion, and has six televised bouts of SHOWTIME.

SHOWTIME aired Donaire’s first defense of the interim WBA super flyweight title, as the co-featured attraction to Lopez vs. Conception. Donaire (24-1, 16 KOs) knocked out WBA No. 10-ranked Herman Marquez (27-2, 20 KOs).

Donaire, who has powering is left hand, surprised a lot of people by fighting out of the southpaw stance. Marquez was able to hit Donaire with right hands and was getting tagged with left jabs. Donaire wasn’t nearly as explosive in that southpaw style.

Donaire dropped Marquez in the fifth round, as the bout was pretty much target practice for the interim champion. Donaire floored Marquez with a right hook-left uppercut combination that led to a stoppage at 2:59 seconds of the eighth round.

The win improves Donaire’s win-streak to 24 consecutive bouts dating back to his third professional bout more than nine years ago.

Guerrero vs. Casamayor added to Marquez-Diaz 2

The rematch between Juan Mauel Marquez and Juan Diaz will be televised on HBO Pay-Per-View live from the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Saturday, July 31.

One of the most intriguing matches will be the scheduled 10-round junior welterweight clash between Robert Guerrero (26-1, 18 KOs) vs.

Joel Casamayor. (37-4-1, 22 KOs).

Guerrero is a three-time IBF world champion in two weight divisions. Having won championships at 126 and 130 pounds, Guerrero is one of the most exciting fighters and has a wonderful personality outside of the ring.

Guerrero has had to combat the challenges of winning throughout his career, but not one of his in-ring battles can compare to the battle that his wife Casey has had to endure.

Guerrero’s wife is a defiant cancer survivor. Casey’s battle with cancer has been closely tied into Guerrero’s career. This isn’t a marketing tool folks. Guerrero is such a likable person that no one in boxing can help but to ask about his wife.

Casey has been a positive force in Guerrero’s career and Robert has steered the ship at full speed toward Casey’s recovery.

My wife is doing great, she’s doing so great,” Guerrero said during a recent conference call. “That’s why I’m taking big fights and getting back in the ring. If she wasn’t doing too [well] I wouldn’t be taking any big fights because of the focus you need to be in there.”

“With Joel Casamayor, it has to be 100 percent. She’s doing excellent and the family is stepping up and taking care of what she needs and is giving me the ability to be able to just focus on the fight, train and do what I’ve got to do to be ready.”

Having won the IBF super featherweight title in March 2009 from a game Malcolm Klassen, Guerrero vacated the title once he learned that Casey’s cancer had returned.

Thankfully, according to Guerrero, “she’s cancer-free. Now it’s all about just maintaining and monitoring everything. Guerrero will put it all on the line against a former 130 and 135-pound champion in Casamayor.

Casamayor is one of the most celebrated and accomplished fighters over the last two decades. Casamayor won wore than 300 amateur fights.

He won a gold medal at the same 1992 Barcelona Olympics at Oscar De La Hoya, the head of Golden Boy Promotions, won a gold medal for the United States.

Throughout Casamayor’s career, he fought a lot of terrific fighters – Diego Corrales (trilogy), Jose Luis Castillo, Acelino Freitas, Nate Campbell, Michael Katsidis, and Juan Manuel Marquez.

However, Cassamayor is 38 years old and not nearly as active as he once was. He has boxed over 300 professional rounds during a lengthy 14-year professional career. Perhaps Casamayor still feels has some fight left.

“Of course, I think obviously when a fighter gets a little older in his career, he starts going a little more off experience. My ability is still there.

One thing that has changed as the years have gone by is my focus.

I’m a lot more focused now.”

Marquez vs. Diaz “The Fight of the Year: The Rematch will be for the unified WBA and WBO lightweight championships. The vent can be seen live on HBO Pay-TV beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.

Tickets are priced at $350, $250, $150, $100 and $50. For additional information call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or log-on to www.mandalaybay.com or ticketmaster.com.