Viloria faces his archrival for the third time

Carlos Cinco
If Manny Pacquiao has Juan Manuel Marquez, Fil-Am fighter Brian Viloria has Omar Nino Romero. Viloria faces Romero in a rematch, their 3rd in the Philippines.

VILORIA VICTORY. Brian Viloria raises his arms in triumph after his victory over Giovani Segura in December 2011. Oliver Lucas.

MANILA, Philippines – His boxing career has been an exciting tale of triumphant ups and devastating downs.

A gifted fighter from the beginning, Brian Viloria (30-3, KO 17) an American boxer of Filipino descent with roots in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics representing the United States. He bested fellow Fil-Am stalwart, Nonito Donaire, in the Olympic trials.

Throughout the years, he’s always been the small fighter with the big heart – and in a career which spans 30 quality victories, his heart has been on display in every fight.

It’s no secret however that Viloria does have some glaring flaws which have disheartened Filipino fight fans through the years, especially those who follow him closely.

Viloria has a tendency to load up on powershots with no regard for pacing and energy preservation. He is also most commonly criticized for his lack of stamina. Viloria has visibly lost steam in recent bouts, fading in the second half of fights when he is usually ahead on the cards.

He isn’t a perfect fighter. But what Viloria has is the will and tenacity to succeed. More often than not, it’s what carries him to victory in each fight, overcoming sometimes insurmountable odds to eke out the win.

Heartbreaking losses

He has 3 defeats on his otherwise impressive record, with each succeeding loss more painful than the one before.

In 2007, he dropped a majority decision to Edgar Sosa. Viloria was head-hunting, trying to land the one significant punch that could end the fight instead of working behind a strong jab and firing combinations – a mistake that proved detrimental and attributed a loss when it was expected to be a win.

Three years later, Viloria lost by TKO in the 12th round to Carlos Tamara of Panama. A visibly depleted Viloria, who once again was ahead on the scorecards prior to the stoppage, appeared gassed out and could not keep himself on his feet. Tamara swarmed him as referee Bruce McTavish was forced to call a halt to the action with just under two minutes remaining in the contest.

Had Viloria not run out of stamina, he would have won the fight on points.

Viloria’s other defeat came at the hands of Mexico’s Omar Nino Romero, a tough, scrappy fighter who’s style seems to frustrate Viloria more than anyone else. The pair last fought in 2006, with Romero claiming a victory over Viloria via unanimous decision, out-boxing and out-working the Fil-Am fighter over 12 rounds.

In an immediate rematch just 3 months later, Romero took the victory once again on points although the decision was reversed to a no contest when Romero failed post-fight drug tests.

TOUGH WARRIOR. Will Brian Viloria pull off his first win against Omar Nino Romero? December 11, 2011. Oliver Lucas.

Does Romero have Viloria’s number?

Regardless of the official results, Romero remains a dangerous opponent for Viloria. The two are scheduled to meet again soon in a fight card presented by Solar.

Since the heartbreaking losses, the fighter known as “The Hawaiian Punch” has redeemed himself with sensational victories over previously unbeaten Ulises Solis, former flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Miranda and in his latest fight, former top ten pound-for-pound fighter Giovani Segura. The triumph over Segura is regarded as a career-defining win for Viloria as he displayed the superior boxing skills and thudding power that has attracted fans from all over the world.

The rematch against Romero seems to be a step in the right direction. Viloria looks to avenge his losses to Romero and silence critics once and for all – a bold move by the Fil-Am boxer considering how he fared against the Mexican a few years back.

A win over Romero will validate Viloria’s claim to being back in elite form and will open up opportunities to possible future blockbusters featuring only the best at 112 lbs. Among a list of big names and bright stars, Brian Viloria seems to be the brightest of them all. With just a few more quality wins, Viloria could crack the mythical top ten pound-for-pound list of best fighters regardless of weight division.

Rumors have it that Viloria is on a collision course with another hot young prospect by the name of Tyson Marquez. Should Viloria get past Romero, a feature bout with Tyson Marquez is a possibility for the summer, at Dallas Cowboys Stadium under a Juan Manuel Marquez headlined card.

But before all that, Romero stands in the way. For Brian Viloria to move on to bigger and better things, he’d have to take care of Romero first and remove that thorn from his side.

The fight card which is the 4th installment in the “Island Assault” series is scheduled for April 1 and will be held at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. – Rappler.com

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