Aftermath: Weekend Roundup With Donaire, Lopez, Concepcion, etc.

Mike Jones, who looked like a super middleweight by the time the opening bell rang, knocked out Irving Garcia in the 5th round of a scheduled 12 for a pair of NRBQ welterweight titles. Garcia, 17-5-3, had some success early, especially with his jab, but Jones gradually overwhelmed him with an impressive array of combinations. In the 5th round, Jones was all over Garcia, battering him around the ring with a hard volley of shots. The finishing sequence was punctuated by a flagrant low blow that dropped Garcia to his knees. Referee Randy Neumann, who probably wanted to get home for a warm glass of milk and the latest issue of Civil War Times, ignored it and tolled “10” without hesitation. Jones, 22-0, received the usual rave reviews from folks willing to generously forget the fact that Garcia had not been in the ring for over a year and was coming off of a taxing KO loss to Luis Carlos Abregu.

*****

In a vicious set-to, journeyman Lanardo Tyner, 24-3, scored a minor shocker by stopping Antwone Smith in the 9th round. Smith had been on a nice ESPN2 run and had recently signed a contract with Lou DiBella. The two fighters traded hard shots throughout, but Tyner was relentless whenever they milled on the inside, and some of the body shots he landed thumped out like the sound of a big bass drum. One of them dropped Smith, who falls to 18-2-1, heavily in the ninth. He beat the count, but conceded defeat and elected not to continue. Smith, with a badly swollen eye, was a beaten and battered man by then. He still has a few action fights left in him on future ESPN2 shows. For his part, Tyner fought with the intensity of a man who was tired of the holding the short end of the stick that boxing often forces on so many of its participants.

*****

For the most part, clowns belong in rodeos, circuses, and birthday parties. Every once in a while, however, they somehow find their way into a boxing ring. Hank Lundy, garrulous Philly lightweight, clowned his way out of a fight with hardpunching John Molina via 11th round TKO on Friday in Rhode Island. Lundy, who woofed incessantly before the bout, stuck out his tongue, threw a punch behind his back, and showboated tastelessly throughout. His Krump dance practically shut Molina out for the first eight rounds before one of his pirouettes led him smack into a cannonball of a right hand, slamming him to the canvas. Lundy showed heart beating the count and surviving the next few rounds, but he could not help his foolishness, and when he decided to grab the top rope with his right hand for more razzle dazzle in the 11th round, he took several flush shots for his efforts. Lundy was in a daze from that point on. Molina chased him down with a two-fisted attack for a stoppage that a sagging Lundy predictably protested once he regained his senses. All fighters deserve respect—boxing is the hardest way to make a hard living—but Lundy showed none to his opponent and none to his profession and deserves all the abuse sure to be heaped his way. As for Molina, he has little more to offer than heart, power, and the kind of gravitas no fighter can enter the ring without.

*****

Saul Alvarez, now 33-0-1, stopped a Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. retread, Luciano Cuello, via TKO in six rounds to win a WBX fuchsia belt in Guadalajara. Cuello, 26-2, was out of the running within seconds of the opening bell and took an awful lacing. It was nice win for a young fighter with a classy style. Hopefully, Golden Boy Promotions paid him in full.

*****

The only way Bernabe Concepcion was going to beat Juan Manuel Lopez was if Lopez got reckless and left himself open for a counterpunch. Well, it happened, but poor Concepcion landed his miracle shot just before the bell rang to end the first round. Who knows what might have happened if he had landed the blow twenty or thirty seconds earlier? Even so, Concepcion, 28-4-1, did himself no favors by following a puncher around aimlessly. Intelligent pressure was not part of the game plan, apparently, and Concepcion merely came at Lopez head-on with little thought of guile. To make matters worse, when he was hurt he neither held nor stayed away. Lopez, 29-0, is a finisher, reckless, yes, but a finisher nonetheless, and his power cannot be stood up to for long. Next for Lopez is a bout with creaky Rafael Marquez in a fight no one should have cared about last week, but now that Lopez has been hurt in two of his last three bouts against longshot underdogs, it seems that Marquez backers have a boost. Lopez is one of the most exciting fighters in the game today, and it would be fantastic to see him up against some of the bigger names in the division.

*****

Ultra-talented Nonito Donaire decided to experiment in his fight with Hernan Marquez, boxing southpaw over the first four rounds before settling on switch-hitting until scoring an 8th round TKO. Marquez, now 27-2, is tough and tried hard all the way, but Donaire was two or three levels above him and hurt him whenever the feeling came over him. Occasionally Marquez would land with a straight left or bull Donaire into the ropes, but he took every punch imaginable from Donaire, and the bout had a look of inevitability about it the moment the opening bell rang. Donaire scored a knockdown in the 5th round and doled out a steady beating from then on. When Marquez hit the deck again in the 8th, his corner wisely surrendered. Thankfully, Arthur Mercante Jr. was nowhere near San Juan on Saturday night. If an opponent is outclassed and taking a drawn-out beating, all parties involved should be looking for excuses to intervene. Donaire is a special talent, but he was clearly bored in the ring, and Top Rank has done a poor job of moving a potential star (as far as a super flyweight or a bantamweight can become one) along. Engaging, athletic, multi-lingual, and eager for the limelight, Donaire needs to be in the ring more often and with better competition. That way he will be less inclined to “experiment” to the detriment of his performance.

Topics: Antwone Smith, Bernabe Concepcion, Hank Lundy, Hernan Marquez, John Molina, JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ, Lanardo Tyner, Mike Jones, Nonito Donaire

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