the lead-up to his bout this summer against then-WBO flyweight titlist Julio
Cesar Miranda, Brian Viloria did his daily grind at the Azteca Boxing Club in
the city of Bell, a working class suburb of Los Angeles. That gym just happens
to be the property of the family of Ricky Mota, who handles the career of
Giovani Segura, the man in line to face the winner of that July battle. Viloria
would capture the title by defeating Miranda via unanimous decision.
this whole stretch, everyone involved knew Viloria and Segura could face each
was kinda awkward, yeah,” admitted Viloria of the situation. “It's always
awkward when you know you're going to be in the ring with a possible opponent
like him and it was kinda weird just looking at him train and watching you
train.” Viloria likened it to two football teams practicing on the same field
knowing they would play each other down the line.
maybe two roommates vying for the same girl?
could say that. It's weird but what do you do?” he says, laughing at the
thought. “It's a small-knit family, the boxing world. It's small and you always
run into people like that.” During this period, Viloria and his team were
mentally preparing for the move. “We did, even before the fight took place for
the world title. I knew we had to look around again and find a different gym
because I couldn't get comfortable in that area because that's his gym.”
Punch” began training for this bout back at his old haunts at the Wild Card Boxing
Club in Hollywood, where Viloria began his career under the stewardship of
Freddie Roach. He finished up at the East L.A. Community Youth Center, a few
miles down the 710 freeway from Azteca, where he and Segura have sparred many
was good work, just working on things you need to work on in the gym. Nothing
much than that, just going into the sparring sessions and getting good work,”
he said of those rounds. You hear boxers all the time claim they got the better
of future opponents during sparring. To Viloria, that talk is inconsequential. “It's
overrated,” he states. “You work on things you need to work on and you don't
really bring your best out during sparring because you're working on things.”
much is clear; Segura, who is a windmill of activity, does hit hard.
admitted, “It's pretty much hard to gauge. [Segura]’s heavy-handed and
everybody knows that but he's also wild. He lets his hands go but he leaves
himself wide-open also. So I think he leaves himself open to counterpunching
and things like that.”
Segura lacks in precision, he more than makes up for in sheer volume. His
pugilistic philosophy is “Swing hard and often. You just might hit something.”
So with that, it's clear to Viloria how to counterattack that blunt strategy.
have to go out there and box,” he said. “[Being active]'s what he's comfortable
in doing. I have to try and bring something to the table he's not comfortable
with and I know that he gets frustrated when you put a lot of movement on. If I
frustrate him, if I go out there and do what I do best, it should be a good
said, there's a fine line between boxing and retreating. There will come points
in time when Viloria will have to stop Segura in his tracks and not let him
roll downhill on him. Ruben Gomez, who will work Viloria’s corner this weekend
at the Ynares Sports Arena, says, “With all due respect in the world to Giovani
because he's such a hard worker, he's bringing nothing new to the table and I
think Brian can win two ways: by boxing him or Brian can stop him. Brian, every
single knockout that he's had has been a one-punch KO. So Brian does have the
ability and I think at times, we're going to have to trade with him and see how
heavy-handed he is. So I think there will be some trading and see how it goes
and then go to the boxing. I know movement gives Giovani a lot of problems.”
Segura for 36 minutes, though, will be like running a marathon while someone
tries to continuously assault you. In the past, Viloria has failed to find the
finishing kick in his championship bouts.
gonna tell you something. Win or lose, I'm very, very happy and very satisfied with
the way he's been working,” said Gomez, a veteran cornerman. “He's been working
his butt off. He's been running like crazy. We've done mountains. We've done
sprints. This year, with the camp for Miranda, it's probably the hardest Brian
has ever worked in his life. These are two camps he's worked the most and we've
been there every morning, four o'clock out there. So regardless of the outcome,
I'm totally satisfied with the way he's prepared himself.”
first and second major world title reigns, he didn’t get past the second
defense. He didn't so much have a cup of coffee with his belts much less a
short sip. Viloria would like to settle in this time as a long-standing world
time is now,” said Viloria, who is 31 years old, no longer the fresh-faced kid
who represented the United States in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney,
Australia. “I can't keep doing that and I'm working my butt off and only to
have a short reign as a champion. I need to work now and I feel like the
urgency right now is the time to do it.”
now or never (especially for this particular weight class).
think at this stage, every fight for Brian is an important fight and this is
every bit as important because there's no tomorrows for Brian,” said his
manager, Gary Gittelsohn, who doesn't downplay the impact of this match-up. “Beating
Segura will put Brian on the stage that he feels- and I feel- he belongs on.
Not beating him would be the kind of setback that might be too difficult to
says that he is now better equipped to handle the rigors and sacrifices
necessary to be a boxer who keeps his titles for years rather than a couple of
fights. “Mentally, yes, I am. I know how hard it is to stay as a world
champion. I know how hard I have to work for me to be ready every time I step
into the ring. I think, mentally, I know what it takes and I know how to go
about trying to keep myself mentally prepared as well as physically prepared
for each fight. Come that night, I'm going to have to bring my best.”
just might represent the toughest challenge Viloria's ever faced.
going to be my most difficult fight,” he opined. “I know I've sparred with him.
I know his style but I know he comes into the fights in shape and ready to go to
war, so this is going to be up there. It's going to be up there as one of my
most difficult fights.”
it looks like I'm back to watching Dick Clark (or is it Ryan Seacrest now?) on
New Year’s Eve. The doubleheader scheduled to take place in Anaheim, California
featuring the WBA super bantamweight title tilt between Rico Ramos and
Guillermo Rigondeaux and IBF light heavyweight titlist Tavoris Cloud (who was
supposed to meet Zsolt Erdei before he was felled with a hand injury last week)
was scrapped by Showtime.
network’s Vice President of Sports Communications, Chris DeBlasio, released
this statement on Wednesday night:
Unfortunately, we had to cancel this
telecast. But the good news is we are
actively looking for a new night to showcase these talented fighters on SHOWTIME. Ramos
vs. Rigondeaux is an important fight in the deep Super Bantamweight division.
And Tavoris Cloud is a force at light heavyweight. We anticipate his
moving forward, I was informed by Mike Miller, attorney for junior middleweight
James Kirkland, that “‘Mandingo,’ who is coming off a thrilling victory over
Alfredo Angulo on November the 5th, will face Carlos Molina in
Houston, Texas on January 28th. Word is that WBC junior welterweight
titlist Erik Morales will take on the up-and-coming Danny Garcia.”
following week could be a doubleheader on HBO featuring WBC middleweight
champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (and yes, I love putting his title in there
because I know how much it angers some people) and Nonito Donaire facing
Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. for the vacant WBO 122-pound title.
I got a few responses to my story on the induction of Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson
into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (http://www.maxboxing.com/news/promo-lead/sharp-enough-for-canastota
) and my assertion that Ray Leonard is from Maryland and, therefore, more of a
Raven than a Redskin. That specific mention brought about these emails from a
few locals in that region:
Hey Steve I read your articles
religiously but we who live in Maryland don’t all live in Baltimore. There are
more Redskins and Dallas fans who live in Maryland than Ravens fans. Just
thought you should know. Keep up the good work on Maxboxing.com you
are one of the best if not the best.
I read you a lot and I hail from the DC area just like Mark Johnson and Ray Leonard. As a matter
of fact I went to the same high school Ray did. Ray Leonard is from
Palmer Park, MD which is in PG County and very closely associated with
DC. Folks from PG are DC people (think go-go and not Baltimore
club). As a matter of fact we hate Baltimore and the Ravens (for the most
part). The Redskins play in Landover which is minutes away from Palmer
So Mark's right, he and Ray are both DC area guys and thus both Redskins.
People tend to associate us with Baltimore because we're in MD but PG County is
definitely more closely related to DC.
Keep up the good work.
I stand corrected but the Baltimore is still home of “The Wire,”
will forever maintain that Ray Charles Leonard before every Ravens game
a Ray Lewis jersey and does his version of Lewis' signature entrance
Viloria-Segura fight card, “Island Assault 3” is a pay-per-view card that has a
suggested retail price of $29.95. For more info, log on to www.integratedsportsnet.com...The
Chavez Jr./Donaire card on Super Bowl weekend might end up in San Antonio,
Texas...Will Jason Kapono make any real contributions to the Lakers this
season?...My gut feel is that Showtime, when it was all said and done, didn't
really want to do a New Years Eve card”...