Sonny Fredrickson is out to show he’s more than an afterthought to Alex Saucedo
Sonny Fredrickson is not really used to this. He was a highly touted amateur who was greatly sought. He was fighting on the undercards of major fights. His future seemed pointed in an upward arc.
Then one loss came, a third-round knockout to Shohjahon Ergashev in January 2018. Then another setback arrived 22 months later, when he dropped a 10-round majority decision to Samuel Teah in November 2019.
All of a sudden, Fredrickson found himself a “B-side” fighter.
He knows he’s not.
Tuesday night, Fredrickson (21-2, 14 knockouts) is out to prove it when he battles 140-pound title contender Alex Saucedo (29-1, 19 KOs) in a 10-round junior welterweight fight live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT) from the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas.
The Teah fight was the last time Fredrickson, 25, fought. That was seven months ago. It’s the same time span that Saucedo has been away from the ring.
A 6-foot-1 native of Toledo, Ohio, Fredrickson feels he is more educated about himself. He’s looking to turn that knowledge into practical purposes against the 26-year-old Saucedo, who in 30 fights has never gone beyond eight rounds.
“I realize even when I think that I’m doing enough, it’s not enough and I have to push through beyond what I think I’m doing,” said Fredrickson, who’s gone 10 rounds twice in his career. “I keep saying to myself to keep pushing it. I thought I had the Teah fight won, and I kind of let up on the gas when I shouldn’t have.
“After the Teah loss, I took a couple of weeks off from the gym to give my body a rest, and then went back. In January (2020), I started sparring with (former IBF lightweight titlist) Robert Easter again to shake off our losses.”
They did 109 rounds together before fights were scheduled.
Fredrickson realizes something, too.
“I know I’m the underdog now,” he admitted. “This is my opportunity to shine on national TV, and if anything, they’re going to try and rob me, so I have to go above and beyond for this one. I’m definitely ready for it.
“You never know. I have to be decisive. He may have more fights than me, but I’ve been in tough fights and I’ve been 10 rounds. He hasn’t been there.”
Lamar Wright has been Fredrickson’s trainer since he began his career. He knows his fighter has more levels to reach.
“I think what was learned off the Teah loss is that Sonny has to work harder and dedicate himself more to his craft,” Wright said. “Sonny never had an issue with finishing. He’s a finisher. Samuel Teah didn’t come to fight. It was a learning lesson, because that was a fight we thought we clearly won.
“Against Saucedo, I guarantee that you’ll be seeing the best version of Sonny. The version of Sonny that I have been telling everyone about. This is a fight that could lead to a title shot. And I would agree Sonny is fighting for his relevance.”
Wright likes the fact that Fredrickson has gone 10 rounds—and Saucedo hasn’t.
“That gives us the advantage,” Wright said.
Not that Fredrickson needed any added incentive for this fight, but his manager, Rick Torres, made sure Fredrickson knew he wasn’t even mentioned when the fight was first announced.
Torres bristled at Fredrickson being an afterthought.
“A lot of people can think that this is a tune-up or get-back fight for Saucedo, but we think it’s a toss-up fight,” Torres said. “We think it will be a very competitive fight. In boxing, it’s a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately sport, as much as any sport. Sonny is looking to prove the doubters wrong.
“Sonny was the up-and-coming star and all eyes were on him. The setbacks came for various reasons, but they made him grow and mature. He is determined to show what everyone originally thought of him.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.