Viloria sees tough wins for Pacquiao, Donaire in title fights
MANILA, Philippines – Since the beginning of this century, 3 Filipino boxers know what it feels like to experience the height of success in the United States. Two of them will fight at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, November 5 (Sunday, Manila time) when Manny Pacquiao challenges WBO welterweight titleholder Jessie Vargas and WBO junior featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire Jr faces Jessie Magdaleno.
The third is Brian Viloria, a two-time light flyweight titleholder and former unified flyweight champion who made the 2000 Olympic team representing the US. The 35-year-old Viloria of Waipahu, Hawaii, of Ilocano descent, hasn’t fought since challenging pound-for-pound champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in October of 2015 but has been in the gym gearing up for a fight either by the end of this year or the beginning of the next. He says this will be “my last campaign” before calling it a career but on Saturday, he’ll just be another fan observing from the stands.
Viloria says he expects Pacquiao to handle business and become the first sitting senator to win a boxing world title, but thinks it’s a more difficult fight than the long betting odds would suggest. (READ: Pacquiao vs Vargas pits ‘young lion’ against living legend)
“I think it’ll be a lot tougher fight for Manny than everybody believes it’s gonna be. It’s gonna be a younger, more hungry, taller, longer reach fighter in Jessie that’s gonna try and take it to Manny. But I think Manny has too much speed, too much experience behind him to give Jessie a very, very hard time and probably a win over him,” says Viloria (36-5, 22 knockouts).
“If Vargas stands toe-to-toe with Manny, then he’s gonna feel Manny’s power. But I don’t think Jessie’s gonna do that tomorrow night, I think he’s gonna try and be a smart boxer, try to use his reach to his advantage, so it’s gonna be tough for Manny to try and get inside and exchange punches with him.”
As a fighter on the comeback trail, Viloria can identify with Pacquiao’s unwillingness to leave the sport behind. It’s something he deals with himself.
“A lot of people may be like, ‘[Pacquiao] is a little too old to be coming back, or he’s made enough money, but you really can’t distinguish that feeling of wanting to be a world champion again. And you always try to pursue that, and you always try to go after that,” says Viloria. (READ: Pacquiao estimates he's given away $200 million during career)
Though Pacquiao and Donaire are sharing a card for the first time ever, Viloria has fought on the same card as both. He's even shared a ring with Donaire, defeating him at the 2000 Olympic trials as an amateur. Viloria expects Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) to retain the title for a second time against the unbeaten Mexican-American Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs) from Las Vegas. And it’ll be speed that does the job for Donaire, he believes.
“Jessie’s gonna be a tough fight for [Donaire] but I think he’s too fast. I think Nonito’s a little too fast for him. Like [Vargas] he has the reach, he has the height advantage over Magdaleno, I think he’s gonna give him a hard time. I don’t think Magdaleno can stand up to his speed which I think is gonna be his downfall,” says Viloria. (READ: Nonito Donaire warns Magdaleno: 'This is not a joke')
For himself, Viloria just wants to get everything out of the sport he’s been a part of since he was 5 years old. He feels he has one last chapter to write in his career.
“Just somebody who gave it their all, and somebody who didn’t back down from any challenge, whatever it calls for, fighting this one guy in [Alameda] Swap Meet or fighting a guy in New York who is the number one pound for pound," says Viloria, when asked how he wants fans to remember his career.
"Just a guy who didn’t say no to nobody. I want people to always remember that I always faced whoever stepped into the ring against me." – Rappler.com