Quijano: Viloria hungers for recognition

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By Jingo Quijano

Last Round

Saturday, November 17, 2012


A RELIABLE metric of a fighter’s popularity is the buzz generated by his fights. In addition, pay-per-view numbers and attendance records are also invoked in assessing a fighter’s pull.

Though it may come in handy, a world title is not even a guarantee of popularity.

Manny Pacquiao currently occupies the apex of the fistic world but currently does not hold an alphabet belt. Yet, his popularity is beyond cavil.

Though not yet at the level of the Pacman, and despite his pay-per-view fights not being gravy trains yet, Nonito Donaire Jr. nevertheless electrifies the fight fans and so there can be no denying his popularity.

BRIAN VILORIA. Enter the “Hawaiian Punch”, currently the WBO flyweight crown. Today, he will actually be figuring in a unification bout against Hernan “Tyson” Marquez who holds the WBA diadem.

But did you know about it? Chances are only the hardcore fans do. But the rest of the dilettantes couldn’t care less.

Mind you, he is not in the same level as Johnreil Casimero, another one of our current world champions. Or with Donnie Nietes, but for varied reasons.

Casimero only became a champion this year and has never fought in the USA, so he’s basically unknown.

As for Donnie, despite being the longest reigning Pinoy belt holder, he also has yet to strut his wares before an American arena and figure in a career-defining fight that will boost his stock.

So it’s perfectly understandable.

Viloria (31-3, 18KOs) on the other hand, is an American and has fought and won championship bouts on American soil.

He has also figured in some spectacular fights that have merited press coverage in leading magazines and websites.

He is thus no tepid acolyte to the spotlight. But the latter curiously seems to miss him on its radar.

Is it a style thing? That would be hollow since Brian has one-punch knockout power and he figures in close fights where he runs out of steam and is in danger of being stopped in the championship rounds.

If that isn’t ring drama for you, then I don’t know what is.

Is it a weight thing? Probably. But when Donaire was a flyweight, the fans took notice. More people were also intrigued with the flyweight duke-out between Rodel Mayol and Ulisess Solis.
Your guess is as good as mine.

TYSON. Ever since suffering back-to-back losses to Pinoy fighters in Richie Mepranum and Donaire in 2010, Marquez went on a 7- fight win streak.

Curiously, he is also coming off two straight victories against Pinoy fighters, a majority decision against Fernando Lumacad and a unanimous decision win in a rematch against Mepranum.

STYLE. Marquez likes to storm the gates right off the get go; hence, the ring epithet “Tyson”. He likes to inflict constant searing pressure on his opponents, relying on his stamina and durability.

With a record of 34-2, with 25KOs, he has decent pop in both hands and can be a dangerous opponent to anyone who comes unprepared for battle.

Viloria is an accomplished boxer-puncher who relies on hand speed to catch his opponents with explosive flurries. He has Olympic pedigree and championship experience on his side.

However, his stamina is a recurring Achilles’ heel and he has lost fights he was supposed to win solely on account on his suspect physical condition.

MY TAKE. The first few rounds will be explosive and I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends early. It is imperative on Viloria’s part to let Marquez feel his power early in order to establish control and dictate the complexion of the fight.

Marquez will expectedly come on strong in the middle rounds and target Viloria’s mid-section. Ergo, Viloria’s stamina and conditioning will be a crucial factor in determining the victor.

I’m expecting Viloria to hurt Marquez early, get mugged and brutalized in return by the middle rounds, but hang on to win a unanimous decision.

LAST ROUNDS. Are on my sis-in-law Atty. Rene Chanco, my frat brod Atty. Filmore Gomos, and David Barnes who recently celebrated their birthdays. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 18, 2012.

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