Brian Viloria is aiming to make history…and the Hall of Fame
Thirty-seven-year-old flyweights are about as rare as three-legged Buffalo nickels and left-handed third basemen but here you have Brian Viloria facing Artem Dalakian for the vacant WBA flyweight title. This bout takes place at the Forum in Inglewood, California, which takes place before the HBO lights go on for “SuperFly 2,” this Saturday night.
Viloria began his career in 2001, after representing the United States in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. In 2018, he is still in this racket. For the native Hawaiian, time has flown by.
“Yeah, fast,” he said a couple of weeks ago after finishing his day’s work at the Wild Card Boxing Club. “It just feels like yesterday I was fighting for the first world title and in just a blink of an eye, 17, 18 years have passed by. Of course, being in the game you love makes the time go by fast.”
Even in this era with multiple sanctioning bodies, winning five titles is a notable achievement (yes, #BeltsMatter. don’t let anyone else tell you differently) and Viloria winning a fifth would be a capper to an already accomplished career.
When asked what his original goals were coming into the professional ranks, Viloria, 38-5 (23), answered, “Obviously, winning a world title, being on top. That was one of the main goals. I think long-term goal is being remembered in the Hall of Fame. That’s something that I want to try to accomplish within my career. I mean, if you’re going to set out something for your career, in a profession and career, you try to make your mark as much as you can and as much as possible in whatever venture that you’re doing.
“For me in boxing, winning a world title and just trying to see if I can come up in the Hall of Fame is something that I set myself up for at the start of my career.”
Viloria makes no bones about it; getting his fist encased in Canastota, New York, at the International Boxing Hall of Fame is important to him. “Of course,’ ‘he says. “I went there to go visit a couple of years ago. I saw Roberto Duran get inducted. I’ve had a chance to sit down and talk with Sugar Ray (Leonard), who I met in 2004, when I first won my world title. Just seeing the guys, the legends that came before me kind of inspired me to keep going with my career and see if I can set out for another world title and see if I can make my mark as much as I can.”
Viloria actually won his first major belt, the WBC junior flyweight title, in September of 2005, as he knocked out Eric Ortiz in one round at the Staples Center, in Los Angeles. Since then, he captured another belt at 108 pounds and, in the best stretch of his career, moved up to flyweight and won the WBO title against Julio Cesar Miranda in 2011, then unified it by halting WBA beltholder Hernan “Tyson” Marquez in November of 2012. In between was an eighth round TKO of the highly-regarded Giovani Segura and a revenge victory over Omar Nino.
But what might hurt his case for the Hall is that he never truly had a long run with any of the titles he held (the loss to Carlos Tamara for his IBF junior flyweight belt is especially puzzling) and he admits it’s something that has frustrated him.
“Yeah, I’ve always hit a little snag along the way and, knowing that, it does frustrate you a bit,” said Viloria, who, at the same time, has always shown an admirable resiliency as he has had no problems in performing in places like the Alameda Swap Meet, in rehabilitation fights, as he was deftly guided by manager Gary Gittelsohn.
“But at the same time, you’re still in the sport. I thank God I’m still able to do this at this age for so long and still be able be able to compete at the elite level. So I try not to dwell on it too much,” he continued. “I just take it one fight at a time, each fight, and that’s when I feel most loved in the ring. I love what I’m doing, so even though I hit snags, I had wonderful experiences winning world titles.”
And if he should down the tall and awkward Dalakian, then what?
“Right now, I’m just taking one fight at a time. I’ll see how I feel from one fight to the next fight and if I feel as if I’m losing too much, if I’m losing my step too much, I’m going to have to reconsider from fight to fight,” stated Viloria, who is well aware that he is in the twilight of his career.
“But right now I feel great. Come fight night hopefully win a world title and we’re just going to take it one fight at a time.”
The initial installment of “SuperFly” last September at the StubHub Center, in Carson, California, had an attendance of 7,418. Tom Loeffler, the head of 360 Promotions, believes SuperFly 2 has a chance to top that figure.
“Ticket sales are going very well. We’re set to exceed the capacity that we had at the sold out StubHub Center show, with (Roman) ‘Chocolatito’ (Gonzalez) headlining So I’m very happy with ticket sales,” Loeffler said at the beginning of the week.
There is a chance that some upper levels of the Forum will be opened up.
“We had $30 tickets; we priced the show very reasonably. Those tickets will probably be sold out by tomorrow, for this show, at the pace that they’re going,” said Loeffler, a couple of days ago.
Here’s a full two-hour edition of “The Next Round,” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly.
Mario Lopez and I are back on “The 3 Knockdown Rule,” in which we’re joined by Viloria and Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Robert Diaz.
Doors open tomorrow at the Forum at 3:30 p.m. and first bell is at 3:45, with the HBO broadcast going live at 6:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. ET)…Yeah, there were dueling media days on Tuesday for WBA light heavyweight beltholder Dmitry Bivol and WBC lightweight titlist Mikey Garcia. Such is the state of boxing in 2018…Top Rank announced the signing of Genesis Servania (who gave WBO featherweight beltholder Oscar Valdez a real tussle back in September) on Wednesday…So what’s going on with the Dallas Mavericks?…Salute to ESPN’s Mike Patrick on a great career…I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.