QUEZON CITY – So we come to close another year, another Brian Viloria headlined card in Manila, one of the many things to be thankful for. As a writer and as a Boxing fan, it’s a great way to cap off a 2011 filled with memorable fights, some good (Pacquiao-Marquez III, Cotto-Margarito II), some great (Kirkland-Angulo, Morales-Maidana) and a few forgettable ones (Mayweather-Ortiz, Pacquiao-Mosley). What would be a better way to end things with a bang before the real fireworks of the succeeding year begin to spark their flames?
Brian “The Hawaiian Punch” Viloria has always been one of my few favorite fighters because of his fearlessness and calculated yet go-for-broke approach on top of the ring, and his cool, easy going demeanor outside of it. Above all, his humility is what strikes me the most. Brian Viloria is a fighter who knows where he came from and never lost sight of his goal, nor his values. For Viloria, there is no trash talking, there is no drama at the weigh-ins or the press conferences; he’s just a guy trying to make a name for himself in the best possible way he can.
As the story of his career nears the last few chapters, he looks to forever engrave his name upon history as one of the finest fighters the Philippines has ever produced. From his memorable 1st round KO of Eric Ortiz in Las Vegas, he entered the spotlight, winning his first world title – to recapturing it via scintillating KO of then undefeated Ulises “Archie” Solis in Manila a few years back. He finds himself faced with quite possibly the toughest opponent he will be matched up against to date in Giovani “El Guerrero Azteca” Segura.
Giovani Segura is certainly no pushover and is indeed the favorite to win this fight. The Mexican is known in Boxing circles as a knockout artist and is currently Ring Magazine’s #9 Pound-for-Pound best fighter in the world. The publication is highly regarded as ‘the bible of boxing’ – and indeed they were correct to rank Segura atop his lofty perch in the lower weight classes. He earned his distinction by stopping then unbeatable Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon of Puerto Rico, former P4P entrant himself before Segura destroyed him, knocking him out twice. Segura is a monster of a little fighter, possessing thudding power in both fists. His gameplan entering the Viloria fight should come as no surprise, he’ll try to overpower the Filipino-American with his brute strength and relentless aggression.
Think of Segura as a beefed up, enhanced version of Panama’s Carlos Tamara, who Viloria dropped a TKO victory to in January of 2010. In the Tamara fight, Viloria led all judges score cards up until the 10th round before Tamara started to come on late. Appearing to have run out of gas, Viloria didn’t box intelligently and instead of getting on his bicycle to avoid running into a stray punch, he opted to instead slug it out with the Panamanian which reaped poor results. The referree called a halt to the action at the 12th round after Viloria absorbed a flurry of unanswered punches. He just didn’t have enough to finish the fight. Should he have reached the final bell, he would have won a decision. It was a heartbreaking loss for the former olympian.
Both Segura and Tamara share many similarities in their respective styles. They both have solid boxing skills but consquently both love to brawl and fight on the inside. They try to overwhelm opponents with power punching and superior conditioning.
But Giovani Segura is an entirely different beast altogether. His victories against Ivan Calderon were no fluke. Calderon at the time was known to be the Floyd Mayweather of the lower weight divisions. He was a slick and elusive speedster who put defense first and was extremely hard to hit yet Segura overwhelmed him with his power punching and hellacious body work – which coincidentally is The Hawaiian Punch’s weakness. It’s no surprise given Segura’s immense talent that he’s listed in most experts’ top ten.
Brian Viloria has his work cut out for him but if there ever was a fight that could define his career, it would be this one. Against all odds, Viloria must overcome this obstacle in front of thousands of adoring Filipino fight fans. A win against Segura will raise his stock once again and put him back on the elite level. Make no mistake about it, he is the underdog in this fight and if he does pull off the victory against his opponent this Sunday, it will definitely be considered an upset.
Look for Segura to attack Viloria’s body early to try to slow him down. Viloria is notorious for fading late in fights and it would be smart for Segura to build a foundation with his body work and aim to KO Brian in the later rounds.
For Viloria to win he must box an intelligent and tactical fight, and would best keep his distance from Segura avoiding any firefights along the way. Like his opponent, Viloria must attack the body to take some mustard off of the power punches which are known to deck many who dare to test it. He’s got to work behind a strong and authorative jab, dictating the pace from the outside all the while scoring points and winning rounds. Though both fighters possess one-punch knockout power, I give the edge to Segura by a landslide. Brian Viloria must aim to make the fight a chessmatch rather than a brawl and try to eke out a decision if he has any hopes of pulling off the upset and unifying the titles.
This is a very important fight fought on Philippine soil and with rumors of Nonito Donaire facing Jorge Arce in the country later next year as well, the local fight scene is starting to look very good.
Many thanks to Solar Sports, Dana Errazo and Grace Baniqued for once again accommodating the FightCardBoxing team!
Tickets for the fight are still available:
P500 – VIP
P400 – Ringside
P250 – Courtside
P150 – Bleachers