Saturday, July 10, 2010
Concepcion replaces Morel
By Dan Rafael
Interim bantamweight titlist Eric Morel, scheduled to fight unified titleholder Fernando Montiel in a mandatory bout July 17, withdrew Saturday, Top Rank's Carl Moretti told ESPN.com.
Moretti said Rafael Concepcion (14-4-1, 8 KOs) will replace Morel in the fight, which will headline a "Top Rank Live" (Fox Sports en Espanol) card in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico.
Morel adviser Gabriel Peñagarícano told Top Rank in an e-mail Saturday morning that Morel's father, Cirilo, told him that Eric Morel had sustained an unidentified injury and would be unable to train for a month. Top Rank wasn't buying it.
"Morel pulled out because he doesn't want to go to Mexico and fight for a small purse I guess," Moretti said. "He said he's injured. He probably failed the heart test. He says he injured himself Thursday but he didn't tell us until Saturday. He said he would provide written documentation next week."
Top Rank was prepared for this possibility, which is why Concepcion had been scheduled all along to fight on the undercard.
"There's been a guy on the undercard to replace Morel for a reason," Moretti said. "We knew this was coming."
The fight is an overdue WBO mandatory bout.
"The WBO is looking at this situation with raised eyebrows," Moretti said.
Top Rank won the purse bid for the fight in New York last month when it made the only offer, $102,500. Under WBO rules, Montiel, 31, of Mexico, was entitled to 80 percent of the purse offer ($82,000).
Puerto Rico's Morel, 34, a former flyweight titlist, was to receive 20 percent ($20,500).
Morel made a massive miscalculation. He had been offered $115,000 by Top Rank to face interim junior bantamweight titlist Nonito Donaire in Puerto Rico on Saturday night, but declined, believing the Montiel fight would be worth more.
Montiel (41-2-2, 31 KOs), a former flyweight and junior bantamweight titlist, unified 118-pound belts on April 30 by scoring an upset fourth-round knockout of Hozumi Hasegawa in Tokyo.
Concepcion, 28, of Panama, claimed an interim junior bantamweight belt in July 2008 when he knocked out A.J. Banal in the 10th round in the Philippines. Concepcion lost it in his first defense when he was stopped in the ninth round by Mexico's Jorge Arce in two months later.
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.