(Conclusion)

PERHAPS too intent in capitalizing on whatever buzz was left inside of Juan Manuel Lopez’ s head, Bernabe Concepcion pounced.

Unfortunately, the champion was waiting for him.

Concepcion ran smack into a covetous straight left hand, which promptly deposited him on his rump. As clichéd as it may sound, it was the beginning of the end for the “Real Deal.”

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After he got up, Lopez continued to punish him with accurate combinations. It didn’t help Concepcion’s cause at all that his counter-attack consisted of wild, looping punches- some of which explicably landed harmlessly on Lopez’s chest and leg.

A final flurry of punches punctuated by another straight left hand provided to be the coup de grace.

VILORIA. It seems like Brian Viloria is making a bad habit of alternately blowing hot and cold—leaving his fans wondering: “Will the real Viloria please step up?

In a performance that was sadly quite emblematic of his rollercoaster career, Brian started out slow, gained momentum, faded, then recovered a bit in the final rounds.

Omar Soto gave the performance of his life, but he wasn’t supposed to be there in the 12th round, hanging with the Hawaiian Punch, punch-for-punch.

Consider that in his last fight before Viloria, Soto’s record was a woeful 2 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw. What’s woeful is that those 2 wins came against opponents who both had records of 0-1.

If Soto can win only against kids fresh out of prep school, I can only hope that it doesn’t say a lot about where Viloria is right now, considering the life-and-death struggle he had with Soto.

REFLECTIONS. Looking back, only Nonito Donaire Jr. truly set himself apart as being the guy to potentially assume flagship fighter-of-the-country duties after Pacquiao retires.

He is fast, powerful and versatile. Just like Manny.

And despite having Buboy Fernandez in his corner, not even all the Last Rounds in my favorite watering hole will make me mistake Abe Concepcion for Pacquiao.

He is a brawler with a prodigious punch and a huge heart. He fought the only way he could have beaten Lopez.

But his limited skills will derail his rise to the top. At least, he knocked down one of the most feared fighters in the lower weight divisions. But that’s about it for the “Real Deal”.

Viloria is a talented fighter and has what it takes to dominate his division. However, he doesn’t seem to have everything put together.

Aside from being beset by stamina problems, you get the impression that his heart isn’t 100 percent into it. That’s a bad sign, especially if you’ve got very big shoes to fill.

BANAL. Of course, another potential fighter to carry the load of Philippine pro boxing beyond the Pacquiao era fought last night.

Hopefully, by the time you read this, AJ Banal would have soundly disposed of Korea’s Big Yoo in Tabilaran City.

Unfortunately, the last time I assumed that, I was shocked and speechless at the Cebu Coliseum as Rafael Concepcion of Panama outlasted Banal in 10 rounds, just hours after I submitted my column.

Let’s hope the jinx is a thing of the past.

LAST ROUND. Allow me to paraphrase an old Chinese proverb and proudly exclaim that I feel complete for I have written a column, planted a tree and last Friday, sired a son in Rodan Benjamin Jericho Navarro- Quijano. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)