Sonsona edges Vazquez Jr; Maciel defeats Melendez; Lee destroys Jackson
By Jim Dower: #4 WBA, #4 WBC, #5 WBO Marvin Sonsona (19-1-1, 15 KO’s) defeated former WBO super bantamweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (23-4-1, 19 KO’s) by a 10 round split decision on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York. The final judges’ scores were 96-92, 96-92 for Sonsona, and 96-92 for Vazquez Jr. Sonsona knocked Vazquez Jr. down with a left to the body in the 1st round.
Vazquez Jr barely beat the count in getting up at the count of 9. Sonsona held frequently throughout the fight despite being warmed by the referee repeatedly. In the 6th round, Sonsona lost a point for hitting Vazquez Jr. when he had his back turned.
The bigger 5’7″ Sonsona fought in spurts, and looked good at times when he was letting his hands go. However, did so much holding in the fight, and it took away from his performance. Vazquez Jr. didn’t couldn’t really build on much due to the constant holding by Sonsona.
The hard hitting #15 WBO junior middleweight contender Javier Francisco Maciel (29-3, 20 KO’s) gritted out a tough 10 round majority decision in beating Jorge Melendez (28-4-1, 26 KO’s). The final judges’ scores were 96-92, 97-91 for Maciel, and 94-94 even.
Maciel, 29, took the fight on 3 weeks’ notice, but he proved to have enough power in his shots to get the victory. Maciel knocked Melendez down in the 4th round with a grazing right hand to the head. In the same round, Melendez was docked 1 point for hitting low.
While Melendez was the busier fighter in many of the rounds, it was the Argentinean Maciel’s big shots that got the attention of the crowd. Mcaiel was very similar to countryman Marcos Maidana with the way he loaded up with everything he threw. Melendez showed a really good chin in taking some mammoth shots during the fight. He was hit really hard in every round of the fight, but he took the shots and was able to return fire.
In the 10th, Melendez flurried on Maciel in the first part of the round in trying to score a knockout. But Maciel came back in the 2nd half of the round and was able to dominate the action as the final bell rung.
In a shocking KO, Andy Lee (33-2, 23 KO’s) saved his career tonight in stopping knockout artist John Jackson (18-2, 15 KO’s) in the 5th round. Jackson knocked Lee down in the 1st round with a huge right hook, and he was head on the scorecards 39-36 by all three judges going into the 5th.
Jackson got a little too ambitious in the 5th and was caught a solid right hook from Lee that knocked Jackson out cold face down on the canvas. Jackson was too hurt to get up from the KO, and he just laid on the canvas for a long time before he was finally brought to his feet.
Lee was having major problems with the young 25-year-old Jackson’s speed and power, as he was by far the much stronger and quicker puncher compared to Lee. Jackson was able to dominate the 2nd and 3rd with powerful right hands to the head of Lee. Things looked pretty bad for Lee going into the 5th round because Jackson was getting the better of him with every exchange. But where Jackson blew was by failing to keep his hands up when he went after Lee when he had him cornered in the 5th. This allowed Lee to land a perfectly timed right hook that knocked Jackson out cold on the canvas.
The win gives Lee, #6 WBC, the vacant NABF light middleweight title and will likely see him pushed further up the rankings. He’s obviously not going to ever get a world title shot against WBC junior middleweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr, but Lee at least will be in position to get a title shot once Mayweather gives up his WBC title in the future.
Lee still looked very vulnerable tonight, and it’s difficult to picture Lee going far in the 154lb division because eventually he’ll face someone who can handle his power, and he’ll likely get knocked out again.