Steven Luevano retained his WBO featherweight thingamabob in inglorious fashion last night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas when Bernabe Concepcion was disqualified for pole-axing him with a thunderous shot that landed well after the bell ending the seventh round. It was a flagrant foul by Concepcion and Referee Jay Nady made the proper call in disqualifying him.
Luevano, 125.5, appeared well on his way to another tame unanimous decision when Concepcion lowered the dishonest boom. After taking a few lunging rights during the opening three minutes, Luevano unleashed his pesky jab in the second round and put his southpaw stance to perplexing use for the rest of the bout. Concepcion, also 125.5, appeared stymied at every turn and spent most of the night bobbing and feinting from four or five feet away. When he did throw punches they were usually isolated shots that often left him off-balance.
Again and again Luevano, now 37-1-1 (15), poked out his jab and crossed with his left. Occasionally, he tossed a right hook in for good measure. But it was a drab affair until Concepcion decided to take a cheap shot. When the bell clanged three times to end round seven, Luevano dropped his hands and nodded, with a smile, to his opponent in a sporting gesture. He was still smiling when Concepcion brought over a vicious right hand–one of only a handful of punches he landed the entire night–that dropped him flat on his back with a sickening thud.
Nady immediately disqualified Concepcion, who trailed on two of the scorecards, with the third apparently turned in by the ghost of William Moon.
Claims that Concepcion did not hear the bell are specious; after all, he heard the previous six bells and the bout was not exactly staged in a cavernous arena overflowing with thousands. Instead, it appeared that Concepcion saw an opportunity to finally land a telling blow on an elusive target and took it. “The disqualification was justified,” said his trainer, Freddie Roach.
Luevano limped away with the victory, but, at 28, appears to be past his physical peak. Although he was decked by a punch after the bell, Luevano was, indeed, knocked senseless, and he has now been floored in three of his last four fights.
As for Concepcion, now 29-2-1 (16), if he is allowed to take sucker punches at all of his opponents between rounds he might some day become a force to be reckoned with.