CONTROVERSY, BUM DECISION AND BAD LOSS IN THREE TITLE FIGHTS FEATURING FILIPINOS
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Sun, 28 Feb 2010
Its been a day of controversy in Mexico, a bum hometown decision in South Africa and a bad loss in Puerto Rico in three world title fights featuring Filipinos.
WBC light flyweight champion Rodel Mayol whose handlers had expressed concern over the judging in his title defense against former champion and mandatory challenger Omar Nino Romero in Guadalajara was assuaged by the appointment of three American judges and referee Vic Drakulich.
Ironically, it was Drakulich who has refereed pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao’s fights in the past who almost cost Mayol his title by his failure to act swiftly after Omar Nino Romero caught Mayol with a low blow in round three.
Mark Vester of Boxing Scene reported that Drakulich was coming in to pull Nino back as Mayol dropped his hands in pain but Romero stepped on Mayol’s foot and hit him with a left that knocked him out cold.
Vester said that as Nino was throwing that hook, the referee was trying to pull him back to warn him for the low blow - or at least that's what the replay showed.
In a very controversial ending the ring announcer first announced Romero the winner by TKO but in the end it was declared a technical draw which means that Mayol retains his title. However, the Filipino champion was taken out of the ring in a stretcher.
Omar Nino Romero did well in the opening round but Mayol had the Mexican in trouble in the second with some big punches. But Nino Romero fought back and both fighters traded punches with the hard-hitting Mayol getting the better of the exchanges.
In South Africa, veteran Filipino southpaw Juanito Rubillar lost in his bid to win the IBO light flyweight title when he was the victim of another blatant hometown decision which has regrettably become a norm for any visiting fighter in South Africa who fails to win by knockout.
Super Sport of reported that two judges scored the fight for South Africa’s Hekkoe Budler in a fight card at Emperors Casino, Kempton Park by margins of 117-113 and 115-113 and said “gave may be the operative word.” The third judge scored it even at 114-114.
The report added that Rubillar and “ many in the crowd, will call it a home-town decision. It will be hard to argue against them.”
While the undefeated Budler started aggressively to take the early rounds, Rubillar came back in the fourth and connected with a number of solid shots to the body as Budler backed off.
Leading with his head as much as with his gloves which is Rubillar’s style, the Filipino actually staggered Budler on a number of occasions and while referee Pete Podgorski who refereed the IBF/IBO flyweight title defense of Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire against then undefeated Raul Martinez at the Araneta Coliseum on April 19 last year cautioned the Filipino a couple of times for using his head he did not penalize Rubillar.
Rubillar took control of the fight in the seventh round and hammered Budler with solid hooks to the body and although Budler stayed on his feet he didn’t regain control of the fight although the official scorecards told a different story and as Budler improved his record to 14-0, with five knockouts. Rubillar's record dropped to 48-14-7, with 23 knockouts.
The only legitimate loss was that suffered by former WBO super flyweight champion “Marvelous” Marvin Sonsona who was knocked out in the fourth round by Wilfredo Vazquez Jr at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
With the smashing victory Vazquez Jr not only won the WBO super bantamweight title he also created history by joining his illustrious father Wilfredo Vazquez to become the first father-and-son tandem from Puerto Rico to win world titles.
Vazquez Jr. improved to 18-0-1 with 15 knockouts and inflicted the first knockout of Sonsona who dropped to 14-1-1 with 12 knockouts.
Sonsona who won the WBO super flyweight title with a rousing twelve round decision over Puerto Rican champion Jose “Carita” Lopez at Casino Rama in Ontario, Canada last September lost the title on the scales when he failed to make the weight in his frst title defense against Alejandro Hernandez at the same venue last November.
Sonsona’s handlers led by Filipino promoter Sammy Gello-ani, international matchmaker and promoter Sampson Lewkowicz and trainer Nonito Donaire Sr decided to have Sonsona move up to weight division to super bantamweight.
Prior to his departure fir the US to begin training at the Kennel Boxing Gym on the outskirts of San Francisco, Sonsona was making it difficult and delayed his departure but only after Gello-ani went to his hometown of General Santos City and accompanied him to Manila where he caught a flight to the US along with Donaire Sr and Ciso “Kid Terrible” Morales who also lost in his WBO bantamweight title bid getting knocked out in the first round by Fernando Montiel.
Both fighters started off cautiously although Sonsona appeared to have a slight edge.
The action picked up in round two as both Vazquez Jr and Sonsona began to throw more punches with Vazquez Jr counter-punching effectively against the lanky Filipino southpaw and ending the round with some solid shots and opening up a cut under Sonsona’s left eye.
Sonsona, fired up by the cut, threw some big punches at the start of round three but Vazquez fought right back and caught Sonsona with power punches of his own. The 25 year old Puerto Rican appeared to be getting the better of his 19 year old opponent.
A series of punches to the head and body capped by a vicious left hook dropped Sonsona for the full count.During the fourth round, Vazquez landed a series of punches to the head and body to send Sonsona down as referee Luis Pabon counted him out at 2:01 of the fourth round to the delight of Puerto Rican fans and the dismay of Sonsona’s handlers.
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