One thing we all talk about is how successful a fighter is. How many titles they won, and how well they did in the sport. One thing we rarely talk about, for better or worse, are the fighters who should have done so much more in the sport than they did. Today we look at one such fighter. A man who should have been a star, but was arguably the most frustrating, inconsistent and unprofessional Filipino fighters ever. He was also one of the most naturally gifted, and had he committed to the sport we would be talking about him as a genuine sensation.
That is Marvin Sonsona (21-1-1, 1). Arguably the most naturally gifted Filipino fighter in a generation. He had all the tools to be something very special, but instead he had just a single short world title reign, at Super Flyweight, and lost the title on the scales just 2 months later. His battle with the scales saw him going from Flyweight to Welterweight, at the end of his career. That battle was worsened by the fact he was so unprofessional, unpredictable, and a complete nightmare for the trainers and teams around him. The teams that knew he was a special talent, but couldn't get him to train, or turn up for camps, or put the party lifestyle on hold when he needed to.
Rather than going any further into explaining how badly Sonsona screwed up his career we're instead here to look at some of the positives, and take a glance at the 5 most significant wins for... Marvin Sonsona
Wandee Singwancha (May 28th 2009)
In May 2009 Sonsona actually fought twice. He started the month by stopping Lowie Bantigue at Super Flyweight before dropping 3lbs and taking on Thai veteran Wandee Singwancha. Whilst Singwancha, a former WBC "interim" Minimumweight champion, had seen better days he was still very serviceable as an opponent and just 2 months before facing Sonsona he had gone 6 rounds with Daiki Kameda. Sonsona showed his class by taking out the Thai veteran in just 2 rounds and claimed the WBO Oriental Flyweight title as a result. Whilst that wasn't Sonsona's first title it was his first senior title, having previously held a WBO regional Youth title, and showed just how good he was at the age of just 18!
Jose Lopez (September 4th 2009)
Just 5 months after Sonsona beat Wandee he made his international debut and took on WBO Super Flyweight champion Jose Lopez in Canada. He entered the bout with a 13-0 (12) record, but was still a kid at just 19 years old. Lopez on the other hand was a 37 year old veteran, sporting a 39-7-2 (32) record and had never been stopped. Despite the gulf in experience Sonsona was the clear winner on the cards, dropping Lopez en route to a 12 clear round decision win over the Puerto Rican veteran. The win saw Sosnona claim the WBO Super Flyweight title, the only world title he would win, but also seemed to be the beginning of the end of Sonsona as a truly special fighter. Just 2 months later he would return to a ring in Canada and lose the belt, when he failed to make the Super Flyweight limit. Not only did he fail to make weight, not for the final time in his career, but he also failed to show what he could do, fighting to a draw with a Alejandro Hernandez.
Akifumi Shimoda (February 22nd 2014)
Following his title loss Sonsona would move up to Super Bantamweight and suffer a stoppage loss to Wilfredo Vazquez Jr in 2010. Following that loss he pretty much vanished off the boxing world for 4 years. In fact he would fight once a year in 2011, 2012 and 2013. In 2014, with his career looking about over he returned to fore with a bout against former world champion Akifumi Shimoda in Macao. The card was a stacked one with a lot of international attention, thanks to Ryota Murata, Zou Shiming, Rex Tso and Miguel Vazquez all on the card. Given his inactivity this was pretty much do or die for Sonsona, and for 2 rounds he didn't do much. It was as if he had phoned it in. Until he landed a brutal uppercut in round 3 that left Shimoda out cold. It was one of the KO's of the year and gave Sonsona a much needed career boost. It essentially gave him a second chance in the eyes of fans.
Wilfedo Vazquez Jr II (June 7th 2014)
On the back of Sonsona's win over Shimoda he got a second bout with Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, with the Filipino looking to avenge his sole defeat. This time both men were fighting at Featherweight, with the NABF title on the line, and the loser was going to be left with no where to go. Sonsona got off to the perfect start, dropping Vazquez in the opening round and tearing through the early rounds, looking sensational for the first half of the fight. Then Sonsona's lack of dedication showed it's self as he spoiled and stank the joint out for the second half of the fight. He had done enough in the first 5 rounds to secure a win, but had done everything he could to kill any desire for fans to want to see him again. It was, pretty much, the final nail in the coffin of Sonsona being a top level fighter. He was simply too inconsistent to care about and had made it clear that fans weren't an interest to him.
Arief Blader (May 13th 2018)
After the Vazquez win we saw Sonsona fight in the US once more, around a year after that bout, as he narrowly defeated Jonathan Arrellano. That would be his final bout for almost 3 years before he returned in May 2018 to take on Indonesian journeyman Ariel Blader. Originally this bout was agreed at 141lbs, but Sonsona missed weight. By 6lbs. He was 8lbs heavier than Blader on the scales and had to wear 12oz gloves as a punishment. Despite the heavier gloves he was too good for Blader, taking a 6 round decision over the Indonesian. The bout wasn't a big one, or a meaningful one in the grand scheme of things. But it was significant. It was the win that finally saw everyone give up on him. He was only 27 but no one was willing to risk using him, and his career has pretty much finished.
As we write this Sonsona is still only 29 years old, but it's almost impossible to think of him returning to the ring. It's been 2 years since he last fought and it seems hard to imagine him ever returning to the ring. He had promise much and truly under-delivered. What should have been a spectacular career will be known more for what could have been, than what was. Sonsona should be the guy that every trainer shows any young, promising fighter as a sign of what to not do. He is the perfect example of why talent alone can't take you all the way. You need dedication and work ethic. Two things Sonsona lacked.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces