Brian Viloria, The Incredible Story Of The Hawaiian Punch
Out of need springs desire, and out of desire springs the energy and the will to win.
Last weekend Brian "The Hawaiian Punch" Viloria showed the desire to win. From then on the energy and the will to win sprang out.
He never looked back and eventually the inevitable happened as he landed a perfectly timed counter punch that sent Ulises Solis down to his knees.
Viloria was world champion once again.
A great champion, a great person, another inspiring story.
"This is more for you guys and to do it right here, I trained doubly hard for this because everybody thinks that I didn’t have the heart but I showed it tonight" - Brian Viloria, April 20, 2009, Business Mirror
A small and skinny boy, Viloria started boxing during 1989 at the tender age of nine years old.
He compiled an outstanding 230-8 win/loss record during his storied amateur career that was highlighted by splendid performances against elite fighters such as Ivan Calderon, Glen Donaire, and Nonito Donaire, who he defeated in the finals of the 2000 US Olympic trials.
By defeating the younger Donaire he earned himself a slot at the US Olympic team but was eliminated at the second round of Olympic competition.
After his failure in Sydney, he decided to turn professional.
The glamour brought about by being a member of the US Olympic team was overwhelming, and so were expectations early in his professional career.
Viloria almost always received red carpet treatment and VIP considerations early on.
He was expected to win and, likewise, he did not disappoint. He went on to win fight after fight.
In his 18th bout he ended the boxing career of journeyman Ruben Contreras, almost killing him in the process (thank God he recovered some days after the fight).
Contreras suffered a seizure and underwent brain surgery after the contest.
It was yet another masterful performance from Viloria. However, the psychological effect of the Contreras bout went under the radar.
On the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Hector Velasquez bout, Viloria entered the prizefighting ring for the 19th time.
On that glorious day, September 10, 2005, Viloria scored an emphatic first round knockout win against then WBC light flyweight champion Eric Ortiz.
From then on, his fame reached a much higher level, especially in the Philippines.
A hero's welcome, flamboyant parades, a courtesy call to the President; the attention being given to him was Pacquiao-like, a Jordanesque treatment.
He would go on to defend his WBC crown twice; the first was a definite success, the second was an abyssmal failure.
His streak of 20 straight wins come to an end when he faced Omar Nino Romero.
He lost his title but the fame and the name were still there.
With his superb credentials and superstar status, he didn't have a tough time getting another shot at the world championship.
Twice he tried to regain his crown and twice he failed.
The first was in a rematch with Romero in which he put on a mediocre performance and was lucky that the fight was ruled as a no-contest.
His second opportunity came after his rematch with Romero. He faced Edgar Sosa in a fight that saw a slow, unfocused, and flustered Viloria.
Two of the judges scored the bout in favor of Sosa while the other had it as a tie.
At this moment, people were unanimous in saying that he was done.
In the blink of an eye, the charismatic Viloria fell from the pinnacle on which he was placed. In an instant he lost the heart, the desire, and the enigmatic quality that put him on top of the boxing world.
He came crashing down. Sports analysts and experts alike had often concluded that the fight against Contreras left him scarred mentally.
It was evident that he wasn't the same fighter who brutally massacred Contreras. He lost the "killer instinct." He appeared reluctant to launch his destructive right hook.
From the luxurious casinos of Las Vegas and the elegant arenas of Los Angeles, to which Viloria had become accustomed, he moved to small clubs and flea markets.
"I fought in a swap meet and in places where people didn’t even want to go" - Brian Viloria, April 20, 2009, Philippine Star
The glitz and glamor was replaced by rags and paper dolls.
But that didn't discourage Viloria.
There's something special in the slumps. It makes champions.
Viloria has clawed his way back to the top, just like he did some years ago, but this time his reign will be much longer.
It was a fairytale ending. After a long and winding journey the champion has been resurrected.
"It ain't about how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward" - Rocky Balboa, 2006
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