ALL indications pointed to an excellent, exciting fight and that’s just what we got yesterday at ”Collision Course” which was held at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Unfortunately, our very own Brian Viloria was on the losing end of it and for that, we can blame Carlos Tamara’s superior conditioning.

Or depending on which way you look at it, probably Brian’s lack thereof.

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BODY WORK. The early rounds belonged to Brian although Tamara gave as good as he got. Most were close, but Brian easily shaded them by landing the stronger blows.

“The Hawaian Punch” even exhibited some nifty body work in the fourth round. Too bad, he couldn’t sustain it. In retrospect, that could probably have won him the fight.

Brian started to slow down in the ninth round and this seemed to enliven Tamara into action. The latter proceeded to introduce a frenetic pace into his offensive arsenal which seemed to have overwhelmed Viloria’s work rate.

For every blow that Brian landed, “El Olimpico” would issue him two or three delivery receipts.

GAMEPLAN. If you ask me, Tamara obviously took a page out of Jesus Iribe‘s performance against Viloria last year.

In that fight, Iribe took the fight to Brian in the final round where the latter faded badly. He was rocked but he gamely hung on to secure the decision win.

Tamara came into the fight with a carefully crafted gameplan. Perhaps his team noticed that Brian had a bad habit of fading in the latter stages of the fight and planned to increase the tempo in the later rounds.

This strategy worked to perfection.

Starting in the ninth, Tamara started coming forward unleashing punches in bunches. I thought Brian was lucky to survive the eleventh especially in the first 10 seconds where Tamara started out like a house on fire.

In the 12th , a visibly spent Viloria was reduced to fielding haymakers—clearly the mark of a spent fighter. Tamara wisely sidestepped those wild swings and trapped Viloria on the ropes which led to the stoppage.

It’s disappointing that Brian had to lose the title this way. I don’t think Tamara was the superior fighter skills-wise, but in boxing, skills is not everything.

Conditioning and endurance play a crucial role and we have seen numerous fights where the better fighter loses simply because his opponent outlasts him.

Maybe Brian needs to hit the road more often or maybe he is having a hard time making the weight which drains his reserves coming into the fight.

Either way, tough luck for Brian who lost his IBF junior flyweight crown. And just like that, we are minus one boxing world champion.

AHAS. Luckily, WBO Minumweight champ Donnie Nietes evaded the upset ax by scoring a TKO in the 10th against Mexican Jesus Silvestre.

A beautiful uppercut landed by Donnie in the first round which led to a knockdown determined the complexion of the fight.

Beginners to the fight game would do well to review a tape of that picture-perfect uppercut. It was preceded by a left jab which set up that sneaky blow. Down went Silvestre who never saw it coming.

Though it was billed as a non-title fight, it was important for Donnie to get the win, nonetheless. A cacophony of events had somehow conspired to deprive him of a title fight in his own hometown.

Remember that Donnie went all the way to Mexico not once, but twice to defend his title.

Maybe the timing is not right, but this likable, soft-spoken kid is definitely ripe for superstardom.

Let’s hope he finally nails that huge high profile fight every champion dreams of.

LAST ROUNDS. It’s on Californians Herbert and Yvonne Ong who are in town for some much needed R and R. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)