World Boxing Organization flyweight champion Brian Viloria told a group of Manila boxing writers in a teleconference on Monday that he just wants to make a mark in boxing before he quits the sport.
Viloria said what keeps him going is his love for the sport. "I love going to the gym, I love waking up in the morning and doing what I have to do. I was born to do this, and every time I step into the ring, I feel as if I'm breathing and I'm alive again. I love that feeling," he says with deep sincerity.
The two-division, three-time world champion made it clear that "as soon as the passion goes away, I think it'll be the time for me to hang it up, but the passion for the sport, the love for it, I just can't get enough of it. And I think that's what's driving me right now, just wanting to see how far I can go in this sport and try to make my name."
Viloria doesn't want to be regarded as a mere footnote when it's time to hang up his gloves. He was emphatic, "I just want to be known as one of the top fighters in my generation and maybe in the eyes of the Filipinos and all the fight fans. I just want to make my mark also before I take a bow."
Viloria has had a great three-fight winning streak, dropping Mexico's Julio Cesar "Pingo" Miranda in the first round en route to a comfortable win in Honolulu, then stunning the boxing world with a classic 8th round battering of pound-for-pound No. 9 ranked Giovanni Segura and finally hammering former tormentor Omar Nino Romero in a rematch to win by a 9th round TKO.
Viloria (31-3, 18 KO's) faces one of the toughest fights of his career when he battles hard-hitting Mexican World Boxing Association champion Hernan "Tyson" Marquez (34-2, 25 KO's) in a unification bout at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday, Manila Time.
Viloria can't seem to wait much longer and his desire surfaced when he told the Manila boxing writers, "It's been great, I'm ready. Wish the fight was tomorrow. I'm ready to go."
When Yahoo! Philippines spoke to Viloria at the ESPN Zone in Los Angeles when the fight was formally announced by Zanfer Promotions Fernando Beltran we asked Viloria about his feelings over former trainer Robert Garcia now training "Tyson" Marquez.
Ever the gentleman, Viloria showed no ill feelings towards Garcia and in fact they greeted each other warmly at the press conference.
Brian brushed aside any concerns that since he had trained under Garcia the former world champion would be privy to his secrets in the ring and his style. It didn't bother Viloria. He pointed out there's no concern about the switch and indicated "It's part of the game. Fighters change coaches all the time. There's no controversy there."
At the same time he comforted those supporters who felt Garcia had an edge after having trained Viloria before. He eased the concerns by underscoring the fact that he is "a completely different fighter now. It was years ago when I was with Robert. If they think that they know my weaknesses, I've corrected my weaknesses. I've learned a lot in training camp and through the last couple of fights that I had.
"It's a new day, a new fight. Come next Saturday, I'll show them what I've become" since moving away from Garcia and returning to celebrated Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach who trained him when he won his first world title — the WBC light flyweight crown with a sensational 1st round knockout of champion Eric Ortiz at the Staples Center on September 10, 2005.
Viloria has come full cycle in a sense but insists that while he started his career at the Wild Card he isn't returning because he's ending his journey. On the contrary, he told us, it's like a homecoming and it was reassuring to see many of the same faces he had left behind.
With Roach deeply involved in preparing Manny Pacquiao for his fourth showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 8, Viloria knows Roach doesn't have the time to personally handle his preparation.
But while we were at the Wild Card watching Brian spar, Roach was watching intently from behind his counter. Viloria acknowledged that Roach "is there just to advise" while young Marvin Somodio, who was recruited by Roach from Pacquiao's previous training camp in Baguio City and in whom the trainer has great confidence, is helping him.
Ruben Gomez, a longtime trainer and friend of Viloria watched Brian spar against Ray "Bad Boy" Chacon who is a southpaw and fights very much like Marquez and during breaks gave Viloria insights into what he was doing and what he should do. It was obvious that Ruben knew the fight game deeply and knew Brian even better.
Ruben and Somodio will be in Viloria's corner when he takes on Marquez while Frankie Escudero has helped with Brian's conditioning.
While Viloria doesn't expect Roach to be in his corner he said "he gave me a few tips and he looked over some of the tapes of Marquez. But Marvin will be the one taking his place. I'm really comfortable with Marvin and Ruben. "
Because of the uncertainty as to when the fight would take place and the many postponements the WBO champion has been training since August. While he didn't take any real time off from training because of the on-and-off schedule, Viloria said he merely " just slowed down on my training. With the amount of sparring I did, I had to start and restart sparring again with a few left-handers."
Super flyweight Bruno Escalante (5-1-1, 3 KO's) who was originally from Hawaii is the primary sparring partner and like Chacon has a similar style as Marquez.
Viloria has lost count of the number of rounds he's sparred but figures it's around one hundred. He is pleased with the preparation and said "training has been great. As soon as we knew date of the fight, we pushed the pedal to the metal."
"Tyson" Marquez's two losses in his fight record have both been against Filipinos. Donaire gave him a boxing lesson before winning by an 8th round TKO in Puerto Rico on July 10, 2010 while Richie Mepranum outboxed Marquez in a ten-round bout in Texas on March 12, 2010 before losing in a rematch after being called in to substitute for Rodel Mayol.
Mayol, the former WBC light flyweight champion, had refused to face Marquez in a title fight claiming the champion was clearly two pounds over the 112 pound limit.
In fact, Mayol's allegations received credence when Marquez fought Mepranum who had weighed-in officially as a super flyweight for a fight on the undercard and won a ten-round decision in a rematch.
There has been speculation that the postponements were caused by Marquez struggling to make the weight but promoter Beltran insists that is not the case and Marquez has no weight problems.
Whatever is the truth, Viloria says, " I pray to God that's gonna happen" meaning he will inflict another defeat on Marquez, stating "I've trained myself well enough for it to materialize, but in boxing anything can happen. I'm confident that this will be a great fight and I have what it takes to beat Marquez."
Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this post.
More Yahoo! PH Sports blogs: