Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Viloria: Segura fight means P4P recognition

Posted by chardyboy on Wednesday, September 07, 2011 0 comments


World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight champion Brian Viloria didn't pick his next opponent, his opponent chose him.

The 30-year-old Hawaiian native Viloria, who now resides in Los Angeles, California brought himself back from the brink of irrelevance when he dug deep to come out on top against titlist Julio Cesar Miranda last July, but in the process inherited Giovani Segura's mandatory challenge.

The 29-year-old Segura (28-1-1, 24 knockouts) of Bell, California by way of Guerrero, Mexico is the reigning champion from the division below (light flyweight). He is coming off of two statement-making knockout victories over the legendary Ivan Calderon.

Segura is the eighth-ranked pound-for-pound fighter by The Ring Magazine.

It's not the ideal situation to walk into, but it's one that affords Viloria a unique opportunity to cement his legacy.

"This is the type of fight that will put you on the map," said Viloria, 29-3 (16 KOs). "These are the kind of fights that will put you on the top 10 pound for pound list. These are the type of fights you have to take in order for you to be remembered in this sport. It’s a big gamble, it’s gonna be really tough, but I think I have what it takes to defeat Segura."

Viloria, who was a US Olympian in the 2000 Games, has now won three world titles at 108 and 112 pounds and is poised to take on his biggest test of his professional career.

The fight was ordered by the WBO, which recognizes Viloria as champion, but was delayed due to a nasty cut suffered over his right eye. Viloria insists the cut is healing well, despite redness from the scar being visible upon closer inspection.

His first defense will likely be in early December, either in the Philippines or Hawaii, Viloria says.

Yet while his doctor cautioned him against sparring for the time being to protect the fresh wound, Viloria continues to log miles in roadwork to stay in shape.

The rise in weight from 108 to 112 pounds has given him extra leniency in his daily life, which he credits with being the difference between fading late in a fight (against Carlos Tamara) and pulling out a close victory (against Miranda).

"That extra four pounds is what gives me that extra boost of energy. It's really tough to come down, especially when you don’t have anything to lose around the waist area."

Viloria will need all the energy he can muster against Segura, who has collected the scalps of Filipino fighter Sonny Boy Jaro and Juanito Rubillar with his relentless, awkward pressure and prodigious knockout power.

The brash Segura went as far as to promise a dramatic victory over Viloria, telling GMA News "I will knock him out, no doubt."

"I've heard it all," said Viloria. "Before my last fight with Miranda, he said the same thing and I became the winner in that fight. It's all hype. I guess it's their way to keep themselves motivated. Being in this sport for so long, you hear things like that all the time, so I welcome that. It'll only put fire in my eyes and in my heart to do well."

"As far as who hits the hardest, anybody can hit hard in this division with the right type of punch. Or you can get hit with a lucky shot. It's how much work you put into the gym that will pull you out as a winner. All I need to do is work hard and anything can happen after that."

A win over Segura could be the tipping point for a spot in Canastota, N.Y. in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, an honor that Viloria says would be nice but that doesn't occupy much of his thinking. Yet despite his presence of mind on current affairs, Viloria says he does think about the future.

Having studied broadcast journalism at Northern Michigan University on a boxing scholarship, Viloria says he'd like to become a sports writer and "write other fighters' stories and just share that with the people." Or he'd like to star in a television show. Or he'd like to start a music career.

But foremost on his mind is Segura. And the feeling is mutual.

Viloria on Pacquiao-Marquez III

Viloria's career will forever be intertwined with that of Manny Pacquiao, having won and lost title fights in the undercard of the Filipino ring icon. Viloria feels that Pacquiao's improved versatility will enable him to defeat Juan Manuel Marquez for a second time when they meet in Las Vegas on November 12.

"I think he's (Pacquiao) a different fighter than he was the first couple of times," said Viloria. "I think he's learned a lot more; he's become more of a tactician. He's refined his skills a lot more. I think he's a lot better technically as a fighter than he was when he faced Marquez the first couple of times."

Viloria on Donaire-Narvaez

When asked about fellow California resident Nonito Donaire Jr. and his upcoming bantamweight title defense against undefeated Argentinian flyweight champion Omar Narvaez on October 22 in New York City, Viloria said with certainty his vote is for Donaire.

"I think Donaire has this fight. Donaire's too quick, he has too much power in his hands. But Narvaez is a scrappy fighter too so that fight I would love to watch. It will be an interesting fight but I think Donaire is too quick for him."

On the future of Filipino Boxing

While everyone will freely credit Pacquiao with the current popularity, the question remains: Will Filipino boxing maintain its popularity once the fighting congressman from Sarangani finally decides to hang up his gloves.

"It will," said Viloria. "There’s so much great fighters out there in the Philippines that all they need is a stage for them to perform on and to show their skills. When we're long gone, there will be lots of great fighters coming out of the Philippines."

Viloria noted Mercito Gesta and Denver Cuello as emerging talents he believes will carry the torch in the future. — JVP, GMA News

Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News and the Filipino Reporter newspaper in New York City. He can be reached An archive of his work can be found at Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.


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