Brian Viloria in good spirits, contemplates his future
MANILA, Philippines – Brian Viloria says he is in good spirits after his ninth-round technical knockout loss to Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez this past Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Viloria, 34, underwent a precautionary check-up at a local hospital after his fight with THE RING’s number one pound-for-pound boxer and flyweight champion. Now he’s focusing on enjoying a few more days in New York with family before heading back to Los Angeles to contemplate his future.
“I’ll take a few days off and rethink my position and think about what I want to do now with my future, not just in the sport of boxing but in life in general,” said Viloria (36-5, 22 knockouts). “We’ll figure out what the next steps are.”
“We never anticipated the possibility of a loss last night, so it’s too early to speculate about next steps,” adds Viloria’s manager Gary Gittelsohn.
The 2000 US Olympian Viloria was knocked down for the first time in his career in the third round before referee Benjy Esteves stepped in during round nine to halt the fight as Gonzalez unleashed a combination along the ropes. This was preceded moments earlier by a Viloria left hook to the body that seemed to hurt Gonzalez.
“I caught him to the body and he slowed down. I noticed he had a little grimace on his face; he started going backwards,” said Viloria.
“You know fighters; you never feel like it’s a good time to be stopped. I felt I could’ve kept going. I had the strength to keep going and I did. I felt I wasn’t too hurt. It was my fault for not throwing back, for not responding to his attack, so that gives the reason why the ref stopped the fight.”
Despite the loss, the former junior flyweight and flyweight titleholder Viloria earned praise for his brave stand against the three-division champion Gonzalez.
“I am proud of Brian’s performance although, naturally, disappointed about the outcome,” says Gittelsohn. “Brian has the soul of a champion and he showed tremendous heart, character and grace. He deserves to hold his head high.”
Regarding the flyweight division that Gonzalez now reigns atop, Viloria says he doesn’t see anyone on the current scene who can beat the undefeated Nicaraguan for the time being.
“At this point, I don’t think anybody could. He’s really short, crisp with his punches. Very methodical. Right now, I don’t think anybody could beat Roman at that weight division,” said Viloria.
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to THE RING magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.