Sonsona avenges loss to Vazquez Jr.

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NEW YORK -- When Marvin Sonsona and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. first met in 2010, Vazquez scored a fourth-round knockout to win a vacant junior featherweight world title.

Oh, how times have changed.

Four years later they met again, this time as featherweights and, in a much more competitive fight, Sonsona won a split decision on the Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto undercard on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

Two judges had it for Sonsona on scores of 96-92 and 96-92 and the third judge had it for Vazquez, 96-92. ESPN.com also had it for Sonsona, 95-93.

"It was a tough fight even though I didn't fight as well as I should have," Sonsona said. "I tried my very best. I am so happy about the win. I had a hard time with him. He's a really good fighter."

Said Vazquez, "He's a dirty, rotten fighter. I tried to pressure him. He kept holding. He got in one good punch, the one that knocked me down. I thought I won easily."

Sonsona, a southpaw, started fast, dropping Vazquez in the first round with a left to the body. But Vazquez did not seem hurt and got right back into the fight.

In the sixth round, referee Steve Willis took a point from Sonsona for hitting Vazquez behind the head.

Sonsona (19-1-1, 15 KOs) was badly shaken up in the seventh round when Vazquez hit him in the nose with an accidental head butt that was enough to cause him to go to the mat. He had time to recover and then was hurt again when Vazquez, who had swelling around his left eye, nailed him with a low blow.

They tumbled to the canvas near the start of the 10th round when they got tangled up and they closed the round in messy fashion as Vazquez (23-4-1, 19 KOs) swung wildly and nearly caught Willis.

Sonsona, 23, a former junior bantamweight titleholder, is now 5-0 since first Vazquez fight, including a third-round destruction of former junior featherweight titlist Akifumi Shimoda in February in Macau, China. Vazquez, 29, is just 3-4 in his last six fights.

Maciel outslugs Melendez

Junior middleweight Javier Maciel (29-3, 20 KOs), who took the fight on 1½ weeks' notice, outslugged Jorge Melendez (28-4-1, 26 KOs) to win a 10-round majority decision in an action fight.

Maciel won 97-91 and 96-92 on two scorecards while one judge had it 94-94. ESPN.com also had it for Maciel, 96-92.

Melendez, 25, a Puerto Rican fighter promoted by Cotto, was originally supposed to face former junior middleweight titlist Yuri Foreman. However, Foreman pulled out a week-and-half ago because of a dispute with his manager, even though he had already been training for weeks.

Maciel, 29, of Argentina, was the third choice for the fight. Melendez's handlers preferred Delvin Rodriguez or Luciano Cuello, but neither were available and Maciel got the fight.

Maciel had a big fourth round. First he took a low blow that referee Harvey Dock docked a point from Melendez for. The then Maciel dropped Melendez late in the round with a right hand and had him in trouble as it came to an end.

Maciel had another big round in the seventh, when he trapped Melendez in his own corner and teed off on him with overhand rights and looking for cover. After the round, Melendez was greeted in his corner with three slaps to his face from Edwin Diaz.

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