BRIAN ‘Hawaiian Punch’ Viloria is aging like vintage wine.
Supposedly in his dog years in boxing at age 31 (he turned 32 a week after the fight), Viloria showed that he still carries a mean bark after he dismantled Mexican Hernan ‘Tyson’ Marquez in 10 rounds last week for the combined World Boxing Organization (WBO) and World Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight belts. The victory did not come easy as Viloria was forced to bite his teeth and dig deep in his bag of skills to dodge the upset ax.
As in his previous fights, Viloria again walked the tightrope against Marquez. Viloria got off to a good start by knocking down Marquez with a right late in the first round. He was in control of the fight until the fifth stanza, when Marquez came back to life with a barrage of thundering blows. Viloria survived the assault and even managed to floor Marquez again with a counter right in the fifth, but as the fight progressed, the Mexican appeared to be gaining momentum.
Marquez came out like a possessed individual in the 10th round, throwing himself at Viloria and unloading punches laced with bad intentions. Under duress, Viloria kept his composure and retaliated with a picturesque left hook that dropped Marquez to the canvas like a rag doll. Marquez showed a lot of heart by rising to his feet, but referee David Mendoza waived the fight off after Marquez’s trainer Robert Garcia threw in the white towel of surrender.
The fight was exciting from the opening bell down to its classic conclusion. The momentum was as unpredictable as Lindsay Lohan’s behavior as the protagonists traded with gusto. When the smoke of battle cleared, however, Viloria pulled off another scorcher.
Truth be told, Viloria has acquired the habit of going through the grinder before pulling off a win. In April 2009, he appeared to be running low on fuel when he knocked out Mexican Ulises Solis with a solid right straight. Viloria was not as lucky against Colombian Carlos Tamara in January 2010, fading completely in the 12th and final round and ending up in a hospital. Viloria treaded the same nail-biting path opposite the stubborn Marquez but fortunately had enough firepower left to secure the victory.
Viloria improved his record to 32-3 with 19 knockouts. He notched his sixth straight victory (four by knockout) since losing the International Boxing Federation light flyweight title to Tamara. Viloria won the WBO flyweight diadem in July 2011 by defeating Mexican Julio Cesar Miranda on points and defended it two times before adding Marquez’s WBA’s crown. Viloria has won his last three fights by knockout and his last four opponents have been either incumbent or former world champions.
With the WBO and WBA belts in his possession, Viloria needs only to beat the World Boxing Council (WBC) and IBF champions to emerge as the first undisputed flyweight champion of the world since the 112-pound throne was chopped into bits by the said boxing organizations. The IBF champion is South African Moruti Mthalane while the WBC titleholder is Toshiyuki Igarashi of Japan.
However, instead of gunning for the aforesaid division champions, Viloria is reportedly leaning on defending the WBO-WBA hardware against another dynamite hitter -- Nicaraguan Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez. Gonzalez, 34-0 with 28 knockouts, is the reigning WBA light flyweight (108 pounds) champion. In the undercard of the Viloria-Marquez showdown, Gonzalez defended the WBA title for the sixth time with a 12-round unanimous verdict over tough Mexican challenger Juan Francisco ‘Gallo’ Estrada.
Gonzalez, 25, turned pro in 2005 and won his first 16 fights by knockout, 13 within the first two rounds. A former WBA minimumweight (105 pounds) champion, Gonzalez parades a killer left hook to the body and will make for another tough adversary for Viloria. Gonzalez has been hankering for a fight with WBO counterpart Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes, but it appears the Nicaraguan will move up in weight to challenge Viloria instead.
Viloria vs. Gonzalez figures to be another unadulterated brawl. Viloria’s conditioning remains a major concern, but there is no denying that he has emerged a more exciting pugilist in his last few fights. The move up in weight did not diminish Viloria’s punching power.
Viloria has emerged as the hottest ticket in the flyweight class and from hereon, nothing less than thrill-a-minute knuckle-busters are expected from the ‘Hawaiian Punch.’ To his credit, Viloria is up to the task.