This weekend, our very own Brian Viloria will square off against Roman Gonzalez, the undefeated knockout artist who aims to make the Filipino his 38th knockout victim. And as expected, Viloria is the underdog but one that I would hate to write off.
Gonzalez (43-0 with 37 knockouts) is The Ring magazine’s flyweight (112-pound) champion and holds the World Boxing Council title for the division. And with Floyd Mayweather Jr. already announcing his retirement, Gonzalez is now No. 1 in The Ring Pound-for-Pound rankings. He was also champion at minimum weight (also known as straw weight at 105 pounds) and light flyweight (108 pounds). Summing it up, the Nicaraguan is an accomplished fighter in his own right and the most prominent boxer to come out of his country since Alexis Arguello. He is even a better role model compared to compatriot Ricardo Mayorga.
On the other hand, Viloria (36-4 with 22 KOs), was the former champion at flyweight and light flyweight that can make him the toughest opponent for Gonzalez. For Viloria, the fight with Gonzalez this coming weekend would be a chance for him to get back in the limelight – just imagine what the future would be for Viloria if he beats Gonzalez, especially by stoppage or knockout.
The Gonzalez-Viloria flyweight championship match-up is the undercard of the middleweight title bout between Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux.
So how do I size up Gonzalez-Viloria?
Although Gonzalez is undefeated and is The Ring Pound-for-Pound’s top fighter, he cannot write off Viloria as another potential knockout victim. And Viloria has lost one once by stoppage or in the 12th round against Carlos Tamara on January 2010. Many believed Viloria lost by stoppage to Tamara because he was already exhausted by the last round.
Viloria, for one, is known for his applying constant pressure on his opponents and has respectable punching power at flyweight. Since losing to Juan Francisco Estrada on March 2014, Viloria has scored three consecutive knockout (not stoppage) wins over moderate opposition.
Gonzalez, however, is expected to be the favorite to win until fight night because of his unblemished record and his stopping 37 of his 43 opponents. That is scary!
If Gonzalez-Viloria fight was to be held somewhere in Nicaragua, that would make it harder for Viloria to win because of an expected patriotic and hostile crowd.
But the flyweight title fight will be held at the Madison Square Garden in New York City that can be considered a “neutral” venue for the bout. Also, the bout being an undercard of the Golovkin-Lemieux will take away some pressure from Viloria because the spotlight on fight night will be on the middleweight championship fight.
So this Sunday at Madison Square Garden, it’s either make or break for Viloria.
If he loses, the future for Viloria may no longer look bright for him because at 34 years old, he may have only two to three more good years in the sport that will make it hard for him to chart a path to recovery and another championship bout.
If Viloria wins, the Filipino can see bigger fights in the next two to three years and even make it to The Ring Pound-for-Pound rankings. A rematch with Gonzalez can also be expected and that will surely make Filipino fight fans take notice of “The Hawaiian Punch” one more time.