What’s next for Marvin Sonsona?

Marvin Sonsona is losing popularity just as fast as he gained it. At the end of 2009, he emerged as the world champion at the 115 lbs division via a unanimous decision against veteran Jose Lopez.  Sonsona, all of 19 years old became the first Filipino ever to win a championship belt.  He did it too in spectacular fashion.

The veteran Lopez must have contemplated on retiring after that lost because the Filipino simply dominated the fight.  Sonsona boxed and turned.  He jabbed and stabbed.  He punched, moved and connected with practically everything he had.  He caught the eye of boxing fans worldwide not just because of the win but of how he disposed of the Puerto Rican.

Expectations were high during his first title defense which was scheduled only 2 months after he won the belt.  Curiously, he did not make the weight thus automatically giving up the crown.  Although the fight went on, his performance was nowhere near the skill level he displayed in the previous fight, in the end it was a draw.

Team Sonsona explains that the young man was growing so fast that he could not make the weight.  Physically, they said,  his young body was maturing into manhood at a much more rapid pace than in recent pass.  It was an acceptable excuse for most as it seemed to be very logical explanation.

This is why, his fight with the also undefeated Wilfredo Vasquez Jr.  was a good prospect as well because it was said that Sonsona has now grown into a natural 122 lbs. super bantamweight fighter. 

There were however concerns about his ability to take punches in that weight division. Questions were also raised regarding  his  ability to dish out blows with the same power and intensity as when he was throwing them at the 115 level.

The answers to these questions were clearly answered in the championship fight for the WBO super bantamweight title which was vacated by Juanma Lopez.

In the first round, although both fighters opted not to engage early, Sonsona seemed hurt after being tagged by a right straight from Vasquez even as it looked like he won the round.

Sonsona attempted to throw his vaunted left hand straight and did clip Vasquez with some of them but the latter just took it stride.  The Filipino again took shots to the face which he clearly felt, reeling 3 steps back after a solid right straight from the Puerto Rican.

A dizzy Sonsona seemed to have lost steam early in the third and was content to lean against the ropes continuously in the third.  Vasquez continued to open up Sonsona’s defense with jabs and right straights but would ever so often go to the body.  The body shots were clearly giving Sonsona problems.

The fourth round ushered a visibly shaken Sonsona.  Slowing down considerably, he was hit with a vicious right straight which just destroyed his defense and send his head snapping back.  That connection was followed by a left hook to the body which many said was the blow that brought him down.

This was Sonsona’s first lost and his first ever knockdown.                                        

The Filipino was not prepared for the power of Vasquez who has campaigned in this division for most of his boxing career.  Even Marvin’s trainer,  Nonito Donaire Sr., said in a pre-fight interview that he was worried about Sonsona’s ability to take a punch in this division because a move from 115 to 122 lbs is a big jump.

There was also a nagging question on why Sonsona opted to fight with a counter punching strategy rather than press the attack with jabs or left straight leads to enable him to leverage his obvious height and reach advantage.

He decided to stay in front of his opponent hoping to counter after Vasquez throws either a jab or a right straight lead.

The strategy was not implemented well and he clearly was not prepared for the onslaught from a natural 122 lbs. boxer.

The hope of boxing enthusiasts is that Sonsona is not a flash in the pan.  The prayer is that he finds it deep inside of him to come back and maximize the skill set that he possesses. 

Sonsona needs to find it in him to dust himself off and press forward if he truly wants to be great name in boxing.  Many are anticipating that he will be able to bounce back and prove that his first belt is not a fluke.