Sonsona hopes to emulate Pacquiao

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

In the Philippines, it's Manny-mania as the recently crowned WBO welterweight champion waits in the wings for the fight everyone wants to see -- Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather.

Pacquiao made headlines around the world when he took the title off Miguel Cotto last weekend and is arguably the biggest name in boxing these days.

Hoping to follow in those footsteps is fellow countryman 19-year-old Marvelous Marvin Sonsona and local boxing fans have a chance to say: "I knew him when."

Sonsona, the youngest fighter to presently hold a world title, won his at Casino Rama in September when he defeated veteran Jose Lopez for the WBO Jr. Bantamweight title in a unanimous decision.

He's back at Casino Rama for his first title defence tomorrow against Alejandro Hernandez in Rumble at Rama X.

Hernandez is a 23-year-old who hails from Mexico, and with a 22-7-1 record emphasizes the fact he has never been stopped in a fight. Mentioning that he lost his most recent fight gets left out.

Sonsona, though, appears to be the real deal with a 14-0 record and 12 knockouts. He says he's not looking past Hernandez.

Allan Tremblay, the president of Orion Sports Management, which owns a 25% stake in Sonsona with three partners, said they targeted Sonsona with a specific goal.

"We set out a strategy when we obtained Marvin under contract to fill the void in the marketplace that we feel will exist when Pacquiao moves on which we feel will be in a year or a year and a half -- a couple more big fights and then he'll probably go into politics," Tremblay said.

With just 14 fights under his belt, the hype might sound a bit overdone, but Tremblay says it is as much about who identified Sonsona as the next great Filipino fighter as it is about what he has accomplished in the ring.

Sampson Lewkowicz is Sonsona's international promoter as well as another stake owner. he was the one who identified Sonsona as the potential heir apparent to Pacquiao and he should know having been the man who found Pacquiao in the first place.

"Unfortunately he was working for someone else when he found Pacquiao," Tremblay said.

MIKE.GANTER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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