Waipahu's Viloria taking the 'low-key' approach
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
Brian Viloria's 2008 campaign for another world championship begins today.
The Waipahu boxer will face Jose Garcia Bernal in a super flyweight (115 pounds) non-title bout at the Alameda Swap Meet grounds in Los Angeles.
The card will be televised at 2 p.m. (Hawai'i time) on the Telefutura Network, which is not available to Oceanic Time Warner Cable customers in Hawai'i.
"It's low-key — Brian's not even the main event — and that's exactly what we wanted," said Gary Gittelsohn, Viloria's manager. "Brian is going back to his spartan beginnings, sort of going back to the basics, with the goal being to go for the 112-pound belt later this year."
Viloria, who is 19-2 with 12 knockouts, has lost his last two bouts, including a loss by majority decision to Edgar Sosa for the WBC light flyweight (108 pounds) world title last April.
"Brian fought only once in 2007, and it's been an eight-month period since his last fight," Gittelsohn said. "He just needed some time away, and I think that really helped him focus."
Viloria, 27, won the WBC light flyweight world title in September 2005, but lost it in August 2006. He is still ranked No. 6 in the world in the 108-pound division.
Viloria's last three bouts resulted in two losses by decision, and a no-contest because his opponent failed a drug test. All three bouts were for the WBC light flyweight world title.
"Brian has experienced all the life shifts that come with being on top and falling from grace," Gittelsohn said. "I think he's a much more mature man for it, and I think it will show in 2008."
In an effort to start anew in 2008, Gittelsohn said Viloria will move up to the flyweight division (112 pounds), which is a more natural weight for him.
Viloria started his professional career in the 112-pound division, but trimmed down to 108 to win the WBC world championship from Eric Ortiz in 2005.
Today's bout will be at 115 pounds as part of an agreement with Bernal's camp.
In preparation for the bout, Viloria has been training at the La Colonia Boxing Club in Oxnard, Calif.
Robert Garcia, a former world champion, was Viloria's primary trainer for the past month.
"Brian stayed in Oxnard for the entire month (of December)," Gittelsohn said. "He didn't go home for the holidays or anything like that. He trained every day, all the way through."
Gittelsohn said the La Colonia gym features "team work," and there are several top-ranked boxers on the team, including Fernando Vargas.
"They wake up early, run together as a team, then go to the gym," Gittelsohn said. "It really is like a training camp atmosphere. This was a time for Brian to eat nails, so to speak, and I think these guys all helped him to prepare for this fight."
Bernal, who is from Colombia, should provide a good test. He is 27-9-1 with five knockouts. Bernal, 37, was a world title contender in the late 1990s.
"This is not going to be an easy fight for Brian by any means," Gittelsohn said. "Bernal is probably a little more of an opponent than I would have liked at this point, but if Brian wants to fight for a title again, he needs to face a guy like this."
In any case, Gittelsohn said he expects to see a more aggressive approach from Viloria.
"If he stepped up his game in his last few fights, he would have retained the title and things could be a lot different now," Gittelsohn said. "Brian realizes that, and he wants this more than anybody."
Reach Dayton Morinaga at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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