Tuesday, May 30, 2023  |



Weekend Review: Viloria’s big night

Fighters Network


Brian Viloria: Ulises Solis was ranked No. 1 among junior flyweights by THE RING and making the ninth defense of the IBF title he won in 2006 when he met Viloria on Saturday. In other words, the guy is a stud. And Viloria took him apart in the finest performance of his career. The former Olympian from Hawaii wasn’t perfect; he was too passive at moments. Other than that, though, he was spectacular in a rough fight. He repeatedly hurt Solis with his powerful right and survived the former titleholder’s dirty tactics, including numerous low blows. And the punch that ended it, a crushing short right, was as perfect as you’ll ever see. It’s safe to say that Viloria is better than ever after struggling in 2006 and 2007.


Raul Martinez: The one-time amateur star out of San Antonio had built an impressive record – 24-0, 14 knockouts – and some respect since turning pro in 2004 only to see his momentum stopped cold by one of the most-talented fighters in the world. Nonito Donaire overwhelmed Martinez with his remarkable power, putting him down four times before the referee finally stopped it at 2:42 of the fourth round Saturday in the Philippines. Martinez was highly ranked only by the IBF, which means there were doubts about him going into the fight against Donaire. After this, he’ll have his work cut out to be taken seriously.


Nonito Donaire: The Filipino-American isn’t as good as Manny Pacquiao but might not be that far behind. He lost some momentum after knocking out Vic Darchinyan in 2007 after switching promoters but has stopped each of his three subsequent opponents, including then-unbeaten Raul Martinez in a ridiculously one-sided fight on Saturday. The Californian lost a decision in his second fight and is 20-0 since. He’s quick, strong and skillful. It’s difficult to image anyone beating him. Gary Shaw, Darchinyan’s promoter, says he won’t his fighter to face Donaire because he bolted to another promoter. Could it be that Shaw just doesn’t believe Darchinyan can beat Donaire?


Ulises Solis: The longtime Mexican titleholder responded to adversity against Brian Viloria by throwing low blows on Saturday; in other words, he cheated. Sadly, such tactics are all too common in boxing. Steroids? Doctored hand wraps? Fouls? Boxers often say how much respect they have for one another. If so, where’s the code of honor? On Saturday, the Kiwi referee didn’t help. He must’ve warned Solis a half dozen times for low blows but deducted only two points. In a perfect world, boxers would have the integrity to fight cleanly and referees would come down hard on them when they don’t.


Yuriorkis Gamboa: The Cuban’s doubters will continue to point to his defensive limitations. He’s fought only 15 times. And he has yet to beat an elite opponent. All that said, he sure looked good against Jose Rojas on Friday. The experienced Venezuelan was far too concerned with avoiding punches – rather than throwing his own – to give Gamboa a serious test. Still, Gamboa was as quick and athletic as ever and also was patient and calculating, which he hadn’t shown in previous fights. He already must be considered one of the better featherweights in the world. It will be interesting to see how he fares when he faces the very best.


Jose Rojas: The guy is experienced and obviously a skilled boxer; his defensive skills are impressive. However, it’s very difficult to win a fight when you’re so preoccupied with not getting hit that you fail to mount your own effective offense, as was the case against Gamboa. As an astute reader pointed out, Rojas did give himself a puncher’s chance to win by throwing a shot here and there. It just wasn’t much of a chance. Perhaps that was all Rojas could muster against a fighter who was simply too quick and too good for him – and too scary.


Manny Pacquiao bobblehead doll: The San Francisco Giants will be provide Pacquiao bobblehead dolls to fans who purchase a special ticket for Tuesday’s game against the San Diego Padres as part of a Filipino American Heritage celebration. The likeness is uncanny; it looks a lot like Pacquiao. However, the artist made one of the nicest guys in boxing look like “Chucky” of horror film fame. Of course, that’s probably exactly how he looks to his opponents inside the ring. Chucky ÔǪ er, Manny will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.


Klitschko vs. Haye: An estimated 30,000 tickets for the June 20 Wladimir Klitschko-David Haye fight in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, reportedly were sold on the first day they were available. The fight will take place at Schalke Stadium, which holds 60,000 fans. Promoters say they’re certain the event will sell out. The crowd undoubtedly will be mostly German but many Brits, quite enamored with Haye, will cross the channel to attend the event. That’s a long way to come to see your fighter get knocked out cold by a big Ukrainian.


Manny Pacquiao: “I hope they keep one to give to me!” he wrote in his Yahoo! diary, referring to the Manny Pacquiao bobblehead dolls the San Francisco Giants will be giving out at Tuesday’s game. We’re fairly certain they’ll save him one.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]