Brian Viloria: He might be done…but what a run!
Last Saturday night, from the Forum in Inglewood, California, Ukraine’s Artem Dalakian, 16-0 (11), bested former two-division world champion Brian Viloria, 38-6 (23), over 12 rounds to capture the vacant WBA flyweight title.
The fight, which all three official ringside judges saw as 118-109, across the board for Dalakian, was one of the support bouts on the “SuperFly 2” card headlined by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada, who put on a “Fight of the Year” performance.
This card, the second event in what is fast becoming a very popular series among fans of the little big men in boxing, also saw Donnie Nietes stop Juan Carlos Reveco in the first defense of his IBF world flyweight title.
Viloria, a former champion who had held the IBF and WBC world light flyweight titles, and the WBA and WBO flyweight titles, had hoped to capture a fifth world title in the twilight of his impressive career.
It’s difficult not to root for a boxer like the friendly, soft-spoken Viloria, who has carried himself with such class and professionalism throughout his near-17-year career. However after 46 bouts as a professional and a long, storied amateur career, once again, Father Time showed why He remains undefeated.
On Saturday night, the younger, slicker Dalakian was able to use his reach from the outside and frustrate Viloria throughout the fight. Viloria was never able to solve the distance puzzle and, as a result, was on the receiving end of Dalakian’s offense throughout most of the fight.
To make matters worse, Viloria had to contend with a bad cut on his forehead from a Dalakian elbow that saw the Waipahu, Hawaii-born fighter bleeding badly as the fight came to a close.
Before the fight, Viloria had indicated in interviews that, at age 37, he knew his career was coming to a close sooner than later, conceding that he only had a few fights left.
In a post-fight interview, he seemed more frustrated and dejected than anything else. “It was a tough fight, (Dalakian is) a real tough guy”, he said. “He kept the distance and I never got inside like I wanted to. The headbutt really made me woozy.”
Lighter weight fighters tend to not be active in the hurt business, as they get into their late-30s.
Maybe the time has come for Viloria to walk away. Maybe he will continue. Both decisions are understandable and time will ultimately tell what he decides to do.
With a mix of boxing skill and knockout power, Viloria has very much been one of the fighters whom has done so much to bring attention to the smaller divisions throughout his career.
“The Hawaiian Punch” – 17 years, 46 fights, 15 world title bouts and four world championships.
If the time has come and Brian Viloria decides to finally shut it down, he can walk away from a great career with his legacy intact, his trophy case full and his head held high.