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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson

Viloria driven by son’s birth

By Joaquin Henson
02 May 2014

LOS ANGELES – Former WBC lightflyweight and WBO/WBA flyweight champion Brian Viloria said yesterday he has no plans to retire from the ring and the coming birth of his first child, to be named Tyler Braden, will motivate him even more to win another title.

Viloria, 33, is fresh from pounding out a unanimous 10-round decision over Puerto Rico’s Juan Herrera in Las Vegas last March 29. He’s booked to appear in a Top Rank promotion headlined by Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux in Macau on July 19 but no opponent has been confirmed.

“I’m staying in shape by running every day,” said Viloria in an interview at the Wild Card Gym here. “I’ll be back in the gym on the second week of May to start preparing for Macau. Right now, I’m staying close to Erica because she’s due to give birth anytime. The delivery date is May 12 but doctors say the baby can come earlier. Erica and I are very excited and scared. This is our first child and we’re expecting our life to change. As a fighter, I’m definitely more motivated to win back the championship for my family. I want to make sure we have a secure future.”

Viloria said the win over Herrera was workmanlike. “I needed the rounds because I hadn’t fought in nearly a year since losing the WBO/WBA titles to (Juan Francisco) Estrada,” he said. “I knew I hurt Herrera but didn’t really go for a knockout. I felt good at the end of 10 rounds and I think I could’ve gone another 10. I didn’t get tired. I still don’t know whom I’m fighting in Macau but it could be a title fight. I’d really like a rematch with Estrada. I felt I let our first fight slip away. I hear he doesn’t want to fight me again. If it’s not Estrada, I could fight for any other title and there’s talk of a rematch with (Tyson) Marquez.”

Since wresting the WBO/WBA crowns from Viloria via a split decision in April last year, Estrada has turned back two Filipino challengers Milan Melindo and Richie Mepranum. Viloria said he didn’t bother to watch Estrada’s ninth round stoppage of Mepranum.

“I’m not thinking retirement at the moment,” said Viloria. “I’m not even putting a timetable on how many more years I’ll fight because that would only put pressure on me. I’m feeling good and I think I can go on for several more years. Look at Bernard Hopkins and even Juan Manuel Marquez, they’re in their 40s and they’re still fighting. I’ve fought the best in the lightflyweight and flyweight divisions and if I fight inferior fighters, it would be a step down so I’d want to keep fighting the best out there.”

Viloria said he leaves it up to trainer Freddie Roach and his assistant Marvin Somodio to decide where to train for his Macau assignment. “Marvin will be in my corner, he’s an extension of Freddie,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll train a few weeks in Los Angeles and a few weeks in Manila before going to Macau or I could train only in Los Angeles then head for Macau. It’s up to Freddie and Marvin where they want me to train. I’ll be ready to do what they think is best.”

Viloria said he’s happy Manny Pacquiao is back on the throne as WBO welterweight champion. “Manny deserved to win over (Timothy) Bradley,” he said. “Manny deserved to win their first fight, too. As for Manny fighting (Floyd) Mayweather, I hope it happens. It’ll be a tough fight. Mayweather’s defense is tight and he’s hard to hit. He’s slick. But Manny can beat him. He just has to be at his best. I remember Mayweather had some difficulty with Chico (Corrales) who was aggressive and put pressure on him. That’s how Manny can beat Mayweather, to be aggressive and put pressure on him.”

On the coming birth of his son, Viloria said he’ll try to expose him to different options on what to do in life. “I won’t push him to boxing but if that’s what he wants, I’ll support him,” he said. “Erica would rather not have our son get into boxing. She jokes that she has enough white hair taking care of one boxer. We’d like to show him what it’s like to become a doctor or a reporter and to try a sport like golf. But whatever he wants to be, Erica and I will support him all the way.”

Viloria has won seven of his last eight fights with the loss to Estrada the only bump. His record is 33-4, with 19 KOs. The IBF flyweight champion is Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng who outpointed Filipino Rocky Fuentes for the vacant throne last January. Amnat will stake the title against Kazuto Ioka in Osaka on May 7. The WBC champion is Akira Yaegashi who repulsed Mexican challenger Odilon Zaleta in Tokyo last April 6. Then there is Estrada who holds the WBA and WBO belts. The titleholder who may be available to defend his crown against Viloria this July is Yaegashi but it’s not certain if he’s willing to fight outside of Japan as he has never fought abroad.

On another subject, Viloria said he has heard disturbing news of Filipino fighters getting short-changed in Mexican mismatches. “Who’s bring Filipino fighters to Mexico?” he wondered. “They’re overmatched, they have virtually no chance of winning and there is talk that they get paid only $5,000 when their actual purse is $20,000 so somebody’s making a lot of money at their expense.”

Photo: Viloria (L) works out with trainer Marvin Somodio at the Wildcard Gym.

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