SINGAPORE – On Saturday, November 17 (November 18 Manila time) Brian “Hawaiian Punch” Viloria (31-3, 18KO) will look to unify the WBO and WBA world flyweight titles for the first time since 1965 as he takes on knockout artist Hernan “Tyson” Marquez (34-2, 25KO) of Sonora, Mexico.
The Filipino-American from Waipahu, Hawaii will take on arguably his toughest challenge to date in Marquez. If Viloria can come away from the fight as the victor, experts say he has a legitimate shot to land a spot in the mythical top 10 pound-for-pound list along with countrymen Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr.
Marquez is no easy hurdle however, and it will take all the blood and guts Viloria can muster to pull off the win. Let’s break down the fighters’ styles and analyze how the fight will play out.
Marquez is a brawler who has decent speed and good reflexes along with great punch variety, but he isn’t the kind of refined boxer Brian Viloria is who puts speed and accuracy first before anything else.
Viloria is faster and reacts quicker giving him the edge. Viloria, a former US Olympian, is no stranger to the speed game. He’s one pugilist who knows that speed kills.
Marquez may be able to keep up with Brian throughout the fight, but there will be times when Viloria’s speed will become a clear bright spot for the Filipino.
How much of the speed differential Viloria will utilize depends entirely on him. He can choose to outbox Marquez from the outside and use his speed to score points, or he can do some damage with some speedy combinations.
Nevertheless, Viloria is surely faster, but it will only be significant if he chooses to use his speed to his advantage.
EDGE: Brian Viloria
2. Defensive skill
In this matchup, neithre fighter stands out for their defense. Whenever we have that kind of fight on paper, it definitely looks promising. Tyson Marquez is known for the way he finishes opponents within 12 rounds, so it’s safe to say that his best defense is his offense and will look to put the pressure on Viloria the entire night.
Marquez is more than willing to get as good as he can give which doesn’t bode well for his defensive rating. On the other hand, Viloria’s being an Olympian plays another significant role in this category.
Viloria is the more experienced fighter. He’s the more refined and technically sound boxer, so it makes sense that his defense is much better than that of Marquez’s. Expect Viloria to slip and block attacks and, set up counters as opposed to Marquez’s face first approach.
In this all offense bout, whoever has the best defense could be the victor.
EDGE: Brian Viloria
3. Offensive skill
Viloria has been on a tear recently, winning his last five fights, three of them by way of knockout. He has successfully resuscitated his career with notable victories after suffering a few heart-breaking setbacks early on. He’s terribly heavy-handed though, which acts as somewhat of a double-edged sword for him.
Viloria likes to live up to his Hawaiian Punch monicker, hence putting everything into his power shots which in turn severely depletes his stamina. He’s had stamina issues in the past, most notably against Carlos Tamara who knocked him out late even though Viloria was comfortably ahead on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage.
Needless to say, Viloria cannot afford to ‘gas out’ against a fighter of Tyson Marquez’s offensive caliber. Marquez will be all up in his face with his furious brand of offense over the course of 12 rounds and Viloria needs enough firepower to match his opponent punch for punch.
EDGE: Tyson Marquez
Marquez is a young, hungry fighter, ready for the best challenges in his division. He feels unstoppable at 112 lbs. and rightfully so. “It’s my time now,” he claimed, announcing his arrival on the premier stage.
Usually fighters who are inexperienced coming into big fights tend to have some jitters and may take a few rounds to warm up. Marquez cannot go into this fight guns blazing against a veteran like Brian Viloria who has seen it all. To be successful, Marquez has to pick his spots or Viloria will pick him apart.
Marquez may be young and hungry but Viloria is coming into his own right now and his past experiences have taught him well. Viloria knows what he needs to do to win and this may be the perfect time in his career that the stars have begun to align. I believe he’s found the perfect balance between boxer and puncher and continues to refine his game to perfection.
Simply put, Viloria has the “X-factor” going for him and it will be extremely hard to deny him a victory. Never underestimate the heart of a champion.
EDGE: Brian Viloria
Power is a toss-up right now. Both fighters have one-punch knockout potential.
Who can forget the way Brian Viloria battered then pound-for-pound standout Giovani Segura from pillar to post? That grotesque subdural hematoma that formed on the right side of Segura’s head was a testament to the Hawaiian Punch’s unbelievable power.
On the flipside, Tyson Marquez sports a 74% knockout ration in contrast to Brian Viloria’s 58% which is significantly higher. Marquez has mauled opponents numerous times hence gaining the “Tyson” nickname.
It all comes down to who can impose his will over his opponent better. It all comes down to who executes the better gameplan. Both fighters are working with new trainers for this fight.
Viloria is without the services of long-time trainer Mario Morales who had Visa issues entering the United States. He’s now working with Freddie Roach and protégé Marvin Somodio in fine-tuning his game.
Marquez hired Robert Garcia, Viloria’s former chief trainer, to exploit some of Viloria’s weaknesses. How much Garcia can teach Marquez is a different question altogether as Viloria is simply not the fighter he once was under Garcia’s stable.
Brian Viloria is on a roll right now. He took out the highly regarded Segura quite easily, and put a beat down on old rival Omar Nino Romero.
Marquez settles in very nicely at the Flyweight limit and is the number 1 ranked in his division.
Both fighters definitely will look to come forward more often than not, providing for a potentially great night of fireworks.
Of Viloria’s last five fights, three have not gone the distance. In the other two fights, he still showed signs of fading late. Viloria may have solved his stamina issues by stopping fighters before the going gets tough, so it would be interesting to see how he’d look if this fight gets dragged into deep water.
If Marquez can manage to make it to the championship rounds, he has a shot at scoring a late stoppage.
Contrary to what Marquez says however, I believe the time is now for Brian Viloria. He’s finally found his identity as a fighter and it will show once again in this fight. Look for Viloria to use his superior boxing skills and counter-punching ability to outbox Marquez and pick him apart for the middle to late round TKO.
If Viloria doesn’t get the knockout, it won’t be a stretch to say he would get the judges’ nod.
Prediction: Brian Viloria by TKO between rounds 8-10. - Rappler.com
Carlos Cinco is Rappler's boxing analyst and a sports contributor. Read his boxing stories at www.fightcardboxing.net and follow him on Twitter: @CarlosCincoFCB. All opinions expressed in this article are his own.