Ryan Songalia

Viloria mulls options after unifying flyweight title

About 36 hours after unifying the flyweight titles for the first time in nearly 50 years, Brian Viloria’s biological clock still had yet to adjust. It’s 8 a.m. in Los Angeles, and he’s awake, ready to hit the pavement for roadwork. But there’s no need. He may not get all of the sleep he wants on this day, but there will be plenty of time as he revels at the highest peak he has so far enjoyed in his 11-year pro career.

“It’s just sunk into me this morning,” said Viloria (32-3, 19 knockouts), who now holds the WBO and WBA belts at 112 pounds after stopping Hernan “Tyson” Marquez last Saturday in 10 rounds.

“I’m thinking, ‘Do I have to run?’ No, I don’t have to run. I just had to pinch myself to make sure it wasn’t a dream.”

Viloria, 31, has vanquished – in order – Julio Cesar Miranda, Giovani Segura, Omar Nino and Marquez since last July, with only Miranda hearing the final bell. Viloria says he’s taking his mind off from boxing for the next few months to travel with his wife Erica and watch his beloved Lakers attempt to right the course of their season under new head coach Mike D’Antoni.

Viloria says his next stop will be Manila, Philippines later this week to meet with media and celebrate his title win.

When he returns, Viloria says he hopes to arrange a clash with unbeaten WBA junior flyweight titleholder Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (34-0, 28 KOs), but remains unsure if that’s in the immediate plans.

“I think they’re gonna want to fight a couple more times at 108,” he said.

Viloria’s long-time manager Gary Gittelsohn echoed Viloria’s sentiments, saying they are “very interested in a Gonzalez matchup” but that “indications are that Gonzalez is not in any hurry to move up in weight.”

“We will examine the business opportunities and pursue the most lucrative course,” continued Gittelsohn.

An email to Gonzalez’s manager Silvio Conrado was not returned by the time this article was published.

Viloria also threw out the names of former adversaries Carlos Tamara and Edgar Sosa, who remain the only foes that have defeated Viloria without a return bout. Tamara (22-7-1, 16 KOs) stopped Viloria in 12 rounds in January of 2010, but has lost three of his last five since then, including a six-round knockout loss to Ricardo Nunez in his last bout. Sosa (47-7, 28 KOs) remains a viable option after winning his last four bouts in Mexico since losing a competitive decision to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam last October.

On the Marquez bout, Viloria says he wasn’t badly hurt in an exciting fifth round, admitting that he was “buzzed” by the counter right hook Marquez landed in that round but remained poised. Moments later, Viloria dropped Marquez with a right of his own.

“I didn’t mean for it to look like that,” Viloria said with a laugh, when asked if he was trying to pull an “Arturo Gatti” in the fight.

“It looked a lot worse than it was. I wasn’t hurt, I did get buzzed to be honest but I shook it off in like 3 to 4 seconds. But at that point he was still unloading on me. I understood he was a counterpuncher, he tries to counter some of the punches and he fights on the back of his heel. Our game was to slow him down with a body attack. Mainly, we wanted to attack his body and take his power and aggression from him. We knew if he came forward against me, a punch of mine would hurt him, particularly the left hook.”

Viloria also offered praise to Marvin Somodio, the young upstart trainer from Iloilo, Philippines who was imported by Freddie Roach to work with him out of the Wild Card Gym as his chief protege’. The 28-year-old Somodio was working as chief second for the first time in a world title bout against Viloria’s former trainer Robert Garcia, who is a leading candidate to reign in the Trainer of the Year award this year from the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA).

“Marvin is a cool cat, cool under fire,” Viloria said of Somodio, who is currently busy in the Manny Pacquiao camp. “He reminds me a lot of a young Freddie Roach. He’ll get the point across to you quick, won’t have to yell. If he plays poker I’d hate to play against him. He seemed like a veteran out there. He told me this is the biggest fight he had worked and against a great trainer, and it was an honor to win a title against a great trainer like him.”



Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel and can be reached at ryan@ryansongalia.com. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.

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