Al S. Mendoza

THE art of self-defense it is called.

So, when you get hit with near-lethal blows in boxing, what does that make of you?

A non-practitioner of the sweet science?

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Brian Viloria is the so-called “Hawaiian Punch” of world boxing.

Sadly, he was punched with impunity on Jan. 23 before a totally stunned crowd at the packed Cuneta Astrodome.

Of all people, it was Carlos Tamara of Colombia who administered the mini carnage that was thoroughly unexpected from Day One.

Tamara was as nondescript as an extra in a mammoth crowd of a movie scene.

Look, Viloria did not simply appear in control of the fight.

From Round 1 to Round 8, he was boss--unchallenged, authoritatively methodical.

So precise and clinical, almost, was Viloria that he virtually reduced Tamara into a punching bag.

But did Viloria forget a world championship fight is irreversibly scheduled for 12 rounds?

For, starting in the ninth, Viloria showed signs of fading. Then, with the suddenness of a quake, he started essaying a role that was as Greek to him as mercy is to Hitler.

Suddenly, a reversal of roles blurred the scene. Tamara became the predator, Viloria the prey.

Finally, referee Bruce McTavish, unable to withstand the gruesome beating Viloria had been absorbing, stopped the fight.

At the 1:45 mark of the fateful 12th, Viloria lost his IBF world light-flyweight title he was defending for only the second time.

Grotesquely, Tamara did not only snatch the crown, he also sent Viloria to the hospital.

Fortunately, nothing serious happened to Viloria.

What befell Z Gorres is still fresh in the minds of many. Gorres is recovering from a near-fatal blood clot he suffered in a bout in America late last year.

Did Viloria do something wrong to deserve such a fate?

No. It’s just that boxing is so dangerous a sport it can even kill without warning.

Its capacity to shock can be as common as drinking coffee in the morning.

You are the champ.

You lose steam.

Sorry, you ought to lose.

BYE, NANAY. The mom of my wife died as I was halfway into this piece, stopping to be by her side, seeing her breath her last. She was bathed in peace as she passed on. Salud F. Juvida was 98.