Veteran Brian Viloria stays busy Saturday, remains in flyweight mix
One has to admire the career of Brian Viloria. He represented the United States at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and has won four world titles in two weight classes.
On top of his impressive accomplishments, Viloria is still considered one of the best punchers in the sport.
Viloria, who just turned 34 last month, could hang up his gloves knowing that he met his goals as a professional prizefighter. But he’s still hungry and eager to prove he is a legitimate contender – which he is, as he is ranked in the top 10 by all major sanctioning bodies and is rated No. 2 at 112 pounds by THE RING – deserving of another title shot.
Viloria stays busy on Saturday with a scheduled 10-round bout against Armando Vazquez at the Civic Auditorium in Glendale, California. The bout will headline a Top Rank/ Bash Boxing card and will be broadcast on UniMas at 11:00 p.m. ET/ PT. It’s a non-title bout but Viloria takes it as seriously as if a major belt was on the line.
“For 15 years, I’ve always trained for every fight as if it is for a world title fight,” Viloria told RingTV.com in a recent telephone interview. “It’s been a long and arduous road, so you have to take care of yourself. I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t blow up in weight in between fights like some fighters do. I take care of myself.
“It says a lot that I’m one of the last ones from the 2000 Olympics to still be fighting at the top level. It’s just how I take care of myself for the last 15 years.”
The Hawaiian-born Viloria (34-4, 20 KOs) has wins over the likes Hernan “Tyson” Marquez, Omar Romero, Giovani Segura, and Ulises Solis. In April of 2013, he lost a 12-round split decision to Juan Francisco Estrada, now considered one of the best active fighters in Mexico.
The 112-pound division has had compelling fights amongst the aforementioned fighters and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, THE RING/WBC champ who has fought at this weight class for the last year or so.
While BeIN Sports and TV Azteca have televised some of these bouts, not all boxing fans have been able to watch these fighters compete. Viloria believes networks such as HBO and Showtime could do a service to the division and the fight fans by buying the broadcasting rights to these fights, which would give more publicity to one of the more competitive divisions in boxing.
“I do feel short-changed at times because these fights that I have fought in have a lot of action,” said Viloria, who has dual citizenship between the United States and the Philippines. “My fight with (Hernan) Marquez was made for TV and the fight against Segura deserved a lot of attention. The flyweight division is a solid weight class with guys like Gonzalez and Estrada.”
Viloria has fought all over the world. From his home state of Hawaii to Las Vegas to Los Angeles, and more recently Macau, Viloria has fought on some of the biggest stages in boxing.
But there is one venue he considers as his favorite because of the meaning behind it. It is not the gleaming and modern venues in Macau and Las Vegas. In fact, it is the complete opposite.
“The Alameda Swap Meet (in Los Angeles) is my favorite venue,” he said. “I remember when I fought there (against Jose Garcia Bernal in January of 2008), I had to get carried into the ring because it was raining and there were puddles everywhere. It showed me who my true friends were because they showed up and were freezing in that tent to watch me. That place has a special place in my heart.”
Viloria has his eyes set for next year. After winning his last two bouts and with an expected win coming on Saturday, Viloria is looking to secure the big fights in 2015.
“If everything goes well in this fight, not that I’m overlooking Vazquez, but I’m ready to make a move in 2015,” he said. “I want these fights against Estrada and Gonzalez. In fact, I’m willing to take on all comers.
“I’m getting up in age, so It’s now or never.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Salazar also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing