MANNY  PUTS  U.S.  TRIP  ON  HOLD

MANILA, JUNE 10, 2009
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Freddie Roach may end up accepting two awards from the Boxing Writers Association of America Saturday evening (Sunday noon in Manila) in New York: one for himself as the 2008 Trainer of the Year and the other on behalf of Manny Pacquiao, the Fighter of the Year.

With just a couple of days left before the glittery night for boxing, the Filipino pound-for-pound champion is still undecided whether or not he’d fly to New York to personally accept during the 84th BWAA Annual Awards Dinner at the Capitale at 130 Bowery in New York.

“It was postponed. I still have so many things to finish here,” said Pacquiao in a TV interview at the airport upon arrival from Gen. Santos City.

Still, the reason remains unclear on why Pacquiao is having second thoughts on flying to the US, either direct to New York or to the Big Apple via Los Angeles where the house blessing of their new residence in a posh area has been rescheduled to his own convenience.

A lot of people are keeping their fingers crossed.

Pacquiao, just over a month after his two-round demolition of British star Ricky Hatton in Las Vegas, is busy tying up a lot of loose ends, whether it’s in business, politics or anything concerning his showbiz life as an actor, singer and television host.

Pacquiao was originally scheduled to leave for Australia last June 1 for a weeklong vacation with his family, and then should have been in LA on the seventh. His trip to New York was scheduled on the morning of the awards night, based on the old schedule.

On June 13, he also should be at the Madison Square to watch the Miguel Cotto-Josh Clottey welterweight contest. Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, is seriously looking at Cotto as Pacquiao’s next opponent.

But everything now remains sketchy as to whether Pacquiao would be there or not. It was written once that Pacquiao’s itinerary should be “written on chalk” considering how they are changed by the day or by the hour.

It’s the second time the BWAA, composed of the boxing writers in the US, is bestowing the award on the Filipino who scored three big wins in different weight classes — Juan Manuel Marquez (130), David Diaz (135) and Oscar dela Hoya (147).

. The first came in 2006 following his big wins over Erik Morales. The 2007 Fighter of the Year award went to Kelly Pavlik.

On June 12, Roach will get his third Trainer of the Year award, after 2003 and 2006.

The Fight of the Year award went to the down-to-the-wire rubber match between Israel Vasquez and Rafael Marquez.

BWAA awards winners are chosen in ballots cast by full members of the writers’ organization, which has been bestowing honors upon the sport’s best athletes, trainers and other participants since the 1930s, according to the groups’ official website.

Uncovering the 'new' Pacquiao By Joaquin Henson Updated June 10, 2009 12:00 AM

Marvin Sonsona MANILA, Philippines - “We’ve found the new Manny Pacquiao,” gushed promoter Sammy Gello-ani as teenaged “Marvelous” Marvin Sonsona sent Thai veteran Wandee Singwancha to dreamland with a vicious left uppercut at 1:49 of the second round to claim the vacant WBO Oriental flyweight crown before 2,000 believers at the Cebu Coliseum two weeks ago.

“Sonsona has Pacquiao’s power and the moves of (IBF flyweight titlist Nonito) Donaire,” said Gello-ani. “I never expected him to dispose of Wandee so easily. He may be skinny and lanky at 5-7 but he hits like a mule. He’s mature for his age. He’s ready for a world title shot.”

Gello-ani said yesterday he is close to finalizing negotiations for Sonsona to challenge WBO superflyweight champion Jose (Carita) Lopez of Puerto Rico on the Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on July 18. An offer has been made by Golden Boy Promotions, he disclosed.

Gello-ani said he expects the fight contract to be sent this week. Once the deal is confirmed, Sonsona will apply for a US visa. Gello-ani noted that Sonsona recently gave up his WBO Oriental title to pave the way for his recognition as Lopez’ challenger.

Lopez, 37, has a 39-7-2 record, with 32 KOs, and is a crafty veteran. No doubt, he’ll use his experience to thwart Sonsona who has never fought outside the country.

Sonsona, 18, hails from Pacquiao’s hometown General Santos City but the similarity doesn’t end there. A southpaw like Pacman, Sonsona has lightning hand-speed and packs dynamite power in both fists. Due to his frame, he could move up all the way to lightweight over time. Sonsona might just be able to duplicate Pacquiao’s rise as a world champion in six weight divisions.

The win over Wandee raised Sonsona’s record to 13-0, with 12 KOs. He turned pro in 2007 and is clearly one of the country’s hottest boxing prospects. Last October, Sonsona knocked out Joel Rafols in the second round to win the vacant WBO Asia-Pacific Youth flyweight crown and defended it via a fourth round stoppage of Liempetch Sor Veerapol of Thailand three months later.

But the masterful demolition of Wandee, a former WBC interim minimumweight and lightflyweight titleholder, was a strong statement that Sonsona is headed for big things. A smashing combination capped by a left uppercut left Wandee sprawled on the canvas where he lay motionless for several minutes.

Wandee, 29, was no slouch. In 2000, he lost a majority 12-round decision to Mexico’s Jose Antonio Aguirre for the WBC 105-pound diadem and three years later, engaged now undisputed superflyweight champion Vic Darchinyan twice in Australia.

New Zealand referee Bruce McTavish, who worked the fight in Cebu, was impressed by Sonsona’s crisp and accurate punching.

“I didn’t think anyone so frail-looking could hit so hard but he puts a lot of body weight behind his punches,” said McTavish. “He’s got speed and accuracy. His combinations are jarring. This boy is a heckuva fighter. When Sonsona threw that left uppercut, Wandee was out like a light. I didn’t bother to count. I called for the doctors right away because he was out cold.”

McTavish, a veteran of over 130 world title fights as a referee or judge, said Sonsona reminds him of a young Pacquiao. “He’s got the makings of a future world champion,” added McTavish.

Curiously, Sonsona didn’t like fighting at first. His father, a former pro, taught him the rudiments and bribed him with a soda just to get him to lace up the gloves in the gym when he was 12. Before long, Sonsona developed a liking for the sport and racked up over 200 amateur bouts.

Sonsona is trained by local hand Jun Agrabio but Gello-ani said he’s prepared to bring him to someone who can take him to the next level. He raised the possibility of Sonsona training at the Wild Card Gym, if Freddie Roach agrees.

Sonsona’s manager is Dr. Rajan Yraola, a Manila dentist who assigned the fighter’s promotional rights to Gello-ani.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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