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List of Articles by Dr. Allan Recto


By Dr. Allan Recto
09 Jun 2014

Manhattan, New York City (6/7/2014) - In a gallant effort showing sheer courage and determination, 23 year old Filipino sensation Marvin “Marvelous” Sonsona (19W, 15KO, 1L, 1D) scored a split decision win over 29 year old Puerto Rican fighter Wilfredo “Papito/WV2” Vazquez, Jr. (23W, 19KO, 4L, 1D), in their highly anticipated grudge rematch Saturday night at one of boxing’s biggest stage - the Madison Square Garden (called MSG or simply The Garden). Two judges (Julie Lederman and Michael Pernick) scored it 96-92 in favor of Sonsona, while one judge (John Poturaj) saw it 96-92, for Vazquez, Jr., for which Sonsona earned the vacant NABF Featherweight title after 10 gruelling but sometimes nasty rounds, filled with some non-stop filthy action.

The Garden was filled to almost capacity and the energy was electrifying, majority of which Puerto Ricans cheering wildly for their fighters (and their country) like it was part of their 56th annual day parade tomorrow, Sunday, June 8th. However, silence could be heard when the scores were anticipated then announced as Sonsona’s hands were raised by the referee. The Filipino boxing fans were scattered so no loud cheers were heard from the audience, but no boos or complaints came from the crowd as well. When Sonsona was declared the victor, his Team and supporters inside the ring were ecstatic and Sonsona cried with joy.

Although their fight did not steal the show, most concluded that Marvin Sonsona did enough to win the rematch. The southpaw Sonsona hit Vazquez, Jr. with a body shot to the liver in the 1st round, causing the knockdown, however Vasquez, Jr. recovered slowly and beat the mandatory 8 count. Up until round 3, Sonsona was working at a fast aggressive pace, but became tentative going into the middle rounds. Sonsona had some moments in the late rounds, but did not connect with his signature left uppercut which could put any opponent down to sleep. It seemed that the body shots by Vazquez, Jr. slowed him down. There were times that Sonsona swung wildly, missing the body or the head with his power punches. Vazquez, Jr. was quick to evade and fired shots of his own. Sonsona would wince when hit in the body or tried to break away from Vasquez, Jr. but mostly clinched.

Further fight actions include accidental headbutts, low blows, and multiple clinches, prompting referee Steve Willis to deduct a point to Sonsona in Rd 6 due to an illegal blow to the back of Vazquez, Jr.’s head as he was being held. Both boxer fought very tough or rugged, with the referee being hit in the face with a left hook from Vasquez, Jr. when he missed with a punch to Sonsona’s head, at the final bell ending the bout in round 10. Both fighters raised their hands after the fight and Vasquez, Jr. was even carried around the ring by the shoulder of his cornerman.

The audience displayed some degree of discontent at the performance of both fighters. Some members of the audience stated that the fight became sloppy and not exciting.

The main event was so exciting especially for the Puerto Rican fans as their marquee fighter Miguel Cotto (39W, 32KO, 4L, 0D) proved that he was indeed a sensational fighter. The crowd was up in their feet during round 1. Betting odds’ underdog Cotto scored a 9th Rd RTD (Referee Technical Decision) win over Argentine Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (51W, 28KO, L3, D2). Martinez went down three times in Rd 1 and again once in Rd 9. The fight ended because his corner refused to let Martinez continue for the 10th Rd. They had seen enough and wanted to avoid further injuries to Martinez. Scores were 90-77, all in favor of the winner Miguel Cotto earning a fourth division title and making history by being the first Puerto Rican to do so. The crowd erupted wildly when Cotto won, receiving praises and admiration for an incredible and spectacular performance.

Another Filipino named Marvin but surnamed Somodio, who was at Cotto’s corner during the fight, told this writer as we exited The Garden, “Cotto’s performance was because of Coach Freddie Roach who trained him well and developed the strategy to defeat Martinez.” Somodio praised multi-awarded BWAA six times trainer of the year Freddie Roach whose brilliance as a trainer was again evident in Cotto’s accomplishment tonight. Somodio will stay behind for another week as he said he will still train and be at Ruslan Provodnikov’s corner when he fights Chris Algieri next Saturday, June 14th at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Much later after the event concluded, Sonsona was seen with his Team entering the Affinia Hotel Manhattan. This writer congratulated Sonsona and then asked how he felt if he had any significant head or body injuries. Sonsona replied, ”I’m okay Doc, no cuts or headache, some minor body aches but I did not urinate blood. I feel great.” Sonsona’s face was indeed clean with no bruises or cuts. His nose looked fine even after receiving the accidental headbutt during the fight. Sonsona seemed exhausted yet very pleased with the outcome. He excused himself to go up to his room to change and rest. His Filipino promoter Sammy Gello-ani expressed contentment and stated, “The important thing is that we won tonight!” He was thankful to owner Dong Secuya and this writer for the support as only a handful of Filipinos were present to watch the fight live.

Even Dr. Rajan Yraola, manager of Sonsona said, “We’re glad we won, although Marvin’s performance was not what we expected due the the awkward fighting style of Vasquez, Jr., a difficult boxer to deal with and a tough competitor.” His wife Dr. Christine Yraola jokingly stated that you could count how many Filipinos were present inside Madison Square Garden at the fight. Sampson boxing representative Eddie Carrera stated that his boss Sampson Lewkowicz should help decide what’s next for Sonsona depending on his ratings from the different boxing organizations - WBC, WBO, IBF and WBA, as Sonsona has established high rankings with them already. Team Sonsona flies Sunday morning via JFK Airport to California prior to heading back home to the Philippines.

Photo: Sonsona downs Vazquez Jr in the first round during their fight Saturday night in New York.

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