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Friday, November 28, 2014         

FERD'S WORDS


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It's still fun for Viloria, so he keeps on fighting

By Ferd Lewis

POSTED:



It isn't the rat-a-tat-tat collisions of his twice-operated upon hands against the duct-taped heavy bag that tell Brian Viloria he's been around boxing a long time.

Or even children addressing him as "Mister."

On this day in Kalihi Valley Gym it is the curled newspaper clippings on a makeshift bulletin board and encased yellowed photographs of him as a young pro and even younger amateur that speak of the passage of the years.

"From 1994, I think," Viloria says of the clippings. "Makes me feel old ... and nostalgic," Viloria acknowledged as he jumped rope.

At age 30 Viloria will step into the Blaisdell Center ring July 16 against Julio Cesar Miranda of Mexico for the World Boxing Organization flyweight title. But it won't be nostalgia driving him there.

Going on 300 fights — 250 or so as an amateur — the once seemingly ageless Viloria knows there is a shelf life on a career that began during elementary school in Waipahu. He appreciates, after a 17-month wait, that title fights, once plentiful, will no longer be so. That fighting for a championship back home in Hawaii is a precious opportunity to be taken seriously and capitalized upon.

"A lot of things are riding on this title fight," Viloria said. "It is late in my career, so it is that much more important for me to look good, do well (and) win."

After owning two world light flyweight titles, the last ending in a 12th-round technical knockout loss in the Philippines, Viloria realizes the opportunities are thinning. It is part of why he'll step up four pounds to the 112-pound flyweight division for a shot at Miranda's crown and be thankful not to be doing it in Mexico.

Remarkably to many who glimpsed him as a world amateur champion and 2000 U.S. Olympian with well-defined pro aspirations, Viloria is still fighting in the pro game 10 years and 31 fights (28-3) later. And still doing it with a smile as crisp as his left hook.

He's still pounding away at an age when some of Hawaii's other past world champions, Andy Ganigan and Ben Villaflor to name a couple, had already hung up the gloves. And not because Viloria is desperate for the paydays or lacks for other employment options.

College educated, personable and well-spoken, Viloria said he thinks he might someday like to work in boxing from the other side of the microphone and camera. He tells reporters at an impromptu press conference he'd like to try being one of them. But not for a while. Not until "I start feeling this is more work for me than it is my passion," Viloria said. "Then, I think it will be time."

In the meantime, he still manages to roll out of bed at 4:30 a.m. for 5-mile runs and get himself to the gym to trade punches. "I love it," Viloria said. "I look forward to the days of my morning runs. I look forward to sparring with guys. Those things are still fun to me."

Because they are, he's not ready to consign his career to dog-eared clippings and a place in the trophy case just yet.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@staradvertiser.com






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