Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rumble at Rama IX: Jose Lopez vs Marvin Sonsona Preview

Andrew Fruman previews tomorrow night's Rumble at Rama IX show featuring super-flyweights Jose Lopez and Marvin Sonsona.

Photos © Giordano Ciampini

Tomorrow night in Rama, Ontario, Canada, Puerto Rican Jose "Carita" Lopez puts his 115 pound WBO strap on the line against Filipino southpaw "Marvelous" Marvin Sonsona. It’s an intriguing match-up featuring a battle hardened veteran going up against a talented but unproven teenage phenom.

The offensive minded title holder brings a significant edge in experience to the contest, with almost 50 fights to his name spanning a pro career dating back 18 years. During that time, the affable Lopez has endured his share of disappointments, having come up short in four attempts at a major title between 1996 and 2001. He finally broke through earlier this year and claimed a major belt with a unanimous decision win over Thailand’s Pramuansak Posuwan.

If his record is any indication (he's undefeated over his last 16 bouts) Lopez appears to be one of those rare pressure fighters that get better with age – a small man’s Glen Johnson if you will. Like the rugged Jamaican light-heavyweight, he is a dedicated body puncher who loves to come forward and press the action.

Lopez' main weapon is his hard right hand, which he sometimes throws in a slightly overhand style, but he also shoots it straight through the guard. As most southpaws are vulnerable to the straight right, it will be a key weapon against Sonsona.

The steady pressure, which Lopez promises to bring right from the start, combined with his commitment to the body will definitely test the youngster’s resolve - but will also leave the older man open to return fire. How much he has to worry about what comes back will be depending greatly on Sonsona’s ability to stand in under that pressure.

As the naturally bigger man with advantages in height and reach, Sonsona appears to have the physical tools to try and keep the fight at long range, but don’t expect the 19 year old southpaw to play keep away as he prefers to forgo the safety first approach to holding his ground and ripping hard counters with both hands.

That said - its one thing for Sonsona (pictured right working the pads with trainer Jhun Agrabio, while co-trainer Nonito Donaire Sr. looks on) to plant his feet and fire off shots against overmatched opposition, but another to do so against an opponent the caliber of Lopez. This is a huge step-up for a fighter with only 38 pro rounds under his belt – mostly against suspect opposition.

It wasn’t until his previous outing in which he dispatched Wandee Singwancha with a devastating left uppercut, that the heavy handed Sonsona faced anyone of real quality. As impressive as that showing was, the quick nature of the bout didn’t tell us much about his ability to take a shot or how he'll respond when really challenged.

For all his natural talents, we won't know how tough Sonsona is until he's tested and Lopez promises to do just that.

Is the kid ready?

We'll find out tomorrow night in a bout that has all the ingredients to produce some memorable fireworks.

On the undercard...

Steve Molitor, the usual headline attraction at Rama, will be keeping busy with an 8 rounder against Argentinian Dario Azuaga.

The 35 year old Azuaga brings a record of 75-15-2 into the contest and on the surface looks like a solid foe. However, a closer look at his ledger reveals his last victory over an opponent with a winning record came way back in 2003. Since then he’s lost 11 straight when stepping up in competition with 8 of those defeats coming by stoppage.

Canadian broadcaster TSN certainly don’t anticipate Azuaga providing much trouble as they’ve got Molitor penciled in as the television analyst for the main-event. It's not unusual to see fighters in the broadcast booth, but generally not immediately after they’ve fought, and at yesterday’s press conference, Molitor assured the assembled gathering that he was taking his opponent seriously, despite his scheduled double duty.

Also on the card will be unbeaten Canadian heavyweight champion Greg Kiesla (10-0) in a 10 rounder against Michigan heavyweight Kevin Montiy (17-6-1), plus a 4 rounder featuring prospect Felix Mercedes. Mercedes, a welterweight prospect from Buffalo who promoter Alan Trembley speaks highly of, will be attempting to move his record to 3-0 when he takes on Dan Caron.

Rounding out the show are a pair of 4 rounders between super-middleweights Pedro De Melo (1-0) and Steven Boyd (8-3-1) and junior-middleweights Justin Fountain (5-1-2) and Frankie Abbiw (4-2).

e-mail Andrew Fruman


Anonymous said...

go go go sonsana!! u can make it! we believe in your boxing abilities.