by Robbie Pangilinan
LOS ANGELES - Five years ago, the US Embassy denied his Visa to enter the United States. With sheer determinaton and the help of SCOOP President Eddie Alinea and this writer who made a story about the denial, Marvin Somodio is now living in a dream in the land of milk and honey. “When the US Embassy called me a day after your story came out, my dream started to become a reality,” he says in the vernacular.
The assistant boxing trainer of legendary Freddie Roach handles professional boxers like eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao and six-time world champion in four different weight divisions Miguel Cotto, who recently had his last fight against Sadam Ali.
Cotto lost in a unanimous 12-round decision, likewise losing his World Boxing Organization light middleweight world title. “I am happy with Miguel’s retirement because now he can focus on his family,” says Somodio, who trained with Cotto for seven weeks. Marvin is now married with two kids, and is a US citizen already. He gets to work with Hollywood stars such as Mickey Rourke, Mark Wahlberg, and Robert Shapiro, among others. NBA players also frequent the Wild Card Gym, like Julius Randolph who underwent cross training at Wildcard Boxing off season.
Baseball players like Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez are also Marvin’s clients. With Freddie Roach, Marvin trains world champions. For all these, Marvin is thankful to Roach for taking him under his wing. “I learned how to condition fighters from Alex Arisa, Justin Fortune, Gavin McMillan and other conditioning coaches of Freddie. I learned a lot from them, but most especially from being Freddie’s assistant trainer. I really gained experience and knowledge from Freddie and the boxers, especially the world champions like Manny and Miguel Cotto.
We use different styles in training them, and I can easily adjust to what the fighter wants,” he shares in Filipino. He is Freddie’s right hand, as the Hall of Famer put him in charge of the gym in his absence. Freddie lets him strategize the training of the boxers and just gives him some ideas. For the boxers and boxing trainers in the Philippines, Marvin has this message: “Persevere and love the job you have now. Give boxing enough of your time and hard work, enjoy it, and always do your best. Determination is the key, and never lose hope.”