One youngster who has already reached the heady heights of being a world champion but has so much left to give in the sport is Filipino youngster Marvin Sonsona (18-1-1, 15) who is amazingly just 23 despite being a professional for almost 7 years.
In Sonsona's career he has not only had high points, such as his win over Jose Lopez for the WBO Super Flyweight world title and his KO of the year contender against Akifumi Shimoda, but also low points, most notably his sole career defeat.
That loss came at the hands of Puerto Rico's Wilfredo Vazquez Jr (23-3-1, 19) when Sonsona suddenly jumped from Super Flyweight to Super Bantamweight. At the time Sonsona was just 19, he had out grown the Super Flyweight division but hadn't come close to growing into being a Super Bantamweight and it showed with Vazquez looking a much bigger, stronger and more powerful fighter. At the time Vazquez was 25 whilst Sonsona was still a kid and it looked very much like a man against a boy as Vazquez took the best shots of Sonsona without blinking whilst every shot Vazquez landed seemed to hurt the youngster.
Now, more than 4 years on from their first meeting back in February 2010, the men meet again, and this time is seems a much fairer fight than it was the first time they met. Sure the fighters don't enter as unbeaten guys on the way up, as they were when they first fought, but both guys are still world class fighters and both know that a win over the other takes them to within a fight or two of a world title bout in the action packed Featherweight division, where both are currently campaigning.
Since the first meeting things have been interesting for Sonsona who has had a bit of a stop-start career. He took 20 months out following his loss to Vazquez and then took an 18 month break soon afterwards as he went 4-0 (3) in the 4 years that followed his loss. It was certainly a time in the wilderness as many questioned Sonsona's heart and desire. Like most prodigies he needed a break from what he was doing and, unfortunately, he lived the play boy life style for a bit.
Thankfully the stop-start period of Sonsona's career now seems to be over with the Filipino now fighting for the 3rd time in 9 months.
Whilst Sonsona has been somewhat inactive since the first fight with Vazquez he has been unbeaten. The same cannot be said for Vazquez who has gone 5-3 (4) in his 8 subsequent bouts with losses coming to Jorge Arce, Nonito Donaire and, most recently, Yasutaka Ishimoto. There's no shame in losing to that calibre of fighter though some do feel that Vazquez has regressed as a fighter and the loss to Arce was certainly a damaging on with Vazquez running out of steam and being beaten down late in the bout.
At 29 Vazquez should have a lot of time left in his career though we have seen more than one person suggest that he's on a very clear slide and may have already become "shot". We're unconvinced by that but he no longer looks like the fighter he once was. He still looks like a strong fighter but more and more fighters are picking up on his faults and he's been beaten in 3 different ways. Against Arce he was worn down, against Donaire he was out boxed, for the part of the bout, and against Ishimoto he was ultimately out worked. It appears that against the best fighters Vazquez just doesn't have what it takes to win and in fact he may well have gotten as far as he via clever match making and physical strength alone.
Although Sonsona was stopped in just 4 rounds when they first met we actually favour him here. He's developed not just as a boxer but also as a man. He's no longer a child fighting in a division too high for himself but instead he's a fighter who has filled his frame a little, developed his man strength and kept the traits that made him exciting early in his career. He's still fast, he's still got good movement, patience and counter punching ability, as shown against Shimoda, he just now has the body that can do it against someone like Vazquez who has got to be doubting himself due to his results since the first bout between these two.
(Image courtesy of boxrec.com
The video below shows the full Sonsona/Shimoda bout, including the thunder bolt KO landed by Sonsona, courtesy of Matthew del Rosario)