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List of Articles by Ronnie Nathanielsz


 

WAS RUBILLAR MANEUVERED OUT OF A TITLE SHOT AT VILORIA?

By Ronnie Nathanielsz
PhilBoxing.com
10 Aug 2006

WBC light flyweight champion Brian Viloria should have no trouble retaining his title when he clashes with Omar Nino Romero of Mexico at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas this Friday, Manila Time, in a fight scheduled to be telecast by Solar Sports.

Viloria who spent most of his years in Hawaii and represented the United States in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games came back to his roots after winning the world title in a sensational first round KO over Eric Ortiz on September 10, 2005. Viloria's parents are from Narvacan, Ilocos Sur and he has regularly returned home to huge welcomes and has earned the admiration of Filipino fight fans.

However, one cannot help but think that Viloria avoided defending his title against fellow Filipino and mandatory challenger Juanito Rubillar (39-9-7, 17 KO's) citing an injured right hand he suffered in his first title defense against former champion Jose Antonio Aguirre as the reason. Viloria's inability if not unwillingness to give Rubillar his long overdue mandatory title shot forced the No. 1 contender to fight No. 2 ranked Wandee Sinwangcha of Thailand in a WBC mandated interim title fight in Bangkok which is notorious for hometown decisions.

It all boiled down to a case of money and Rubillar's manager Gabriel "Bebot" Elorde lost in a purse bid forcing him to fight in Thailand. Meantime Viloria appeared to recover very quickly from his injured hand the moment the Ruibillar-Wandee fight contract was signed.

In fact this prompted Elorde to publicly ask the WBC fight supervisor at a press conference prior to the interim title fight, why there was an interim fight when the champion was ready and was scheduled to defend his title in August. The meek answer was that the fight contracts for the interim title fight had already been signed and they had to go ahead. The result was that Rubillar lost a unanimous decision and has now been dropped to No. 5 in the latest WBC ratings.

Meantime Omar Nino Romero sneaked in to the No. 10 spot in order to qualify for a title shot at Viloria who is undefeated with a 19-0 and 12 KO's record while Romero, a Mexican, has a record of 23-2-1 with 10 KO's which is terribly deceiving.

Romero lost to Gilberto Keb Baas by a fifth round knockout on September 26, 1998 and suffered a ninth round KO at the hands of undefeated Juan Alberto Rosas on February 21, 2004. What should be remembered is that Keb Baas was knocked out by Viloria in the eleventh round of a NABF title fight on June 4, 2004 and last February 16 dropped a lopsided decision to ageing world champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam.

More revealing however is the list of the fighters Romero beat which made his record, at least on paper, look good. According to boxrec.com whose records we must admit are not one hundred percent accurate, Romero beat Javier Angeles by a first round KO on June 29, 2001. Angeles hadn't won any of his 9 fights up to that point and today his record stands at 0-14!

Romero scored a third round TKO over Alejandro Sosa on October 19, 2001. When the fight took place Sosa had a record of 1 win as against 13 defeats with 1 draw. Today its worsened to 1-18-1!

On February 8, 2002, Romero scored a third round technical decision over Rafael Orozco who, at that time, had won 20 but lost 23 fights. Today he is 21-24-2.

On July 12, the following year Romero defeated Salvador Rosales who was then 0-3 and today is 0-8. On September 24, 2004 Romero scored a fifth round knockout over Cruz Molina whose record was a pathetic 0-20! Last December, Viloria's challenger beat Juan Gamez who had lost all his four fights in 2005 including a fourth round TKO to Sammy Gutierrez in his previous bout.

Of course one must concede that Romero scored a stunning first round TKO over hard-hitting Jorge Arce on June 21, 1996. Arce was then 17 years old and it was only his fifth fight but this does not take anything away from Romero's performance against a champion today and one of the most courageous and hard -hitting fighters from Mexico.

It seems the cunning and wily Bob Arum maneuvered to get Rubillar out of the equation because they knew that Rubillar had stretched Arce to the limit twice in fights held in Mexico with the second title fight result, particularly controversial . Rubilar may have proven difficult for Viloria because he is a southpaw and tough although he doesn't have a big punch.

The hype surely helps but knowledgeable boxing fans know Arum better than that. Viloria defends his title against Romero, a fighter who won his last four fights but two of his opponents hadn't won a fight. Viloria should win handsomely and we can all be happy. I guess that's the difference between him and Manny Pacquiao who never hesitates to battle the best.


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