Omar Nino improved to 24-2-1 with yesterday's surprising win over Waipahu's Brian Viloria for the WBC light flyweight title.
Viloria loses belt
The Waipahu boxer fought 'a stupid fight' in the unanimous decision, his first defeat as a pro
LAS VEGAS » Brian Viloria looked confident last night as he entered the ring wearing his WBC light flyweight title belt.
He appeared stunned 12 rounds later as he departed without it.
Mexico's Omar Nino endured Viloria's early attack, claiming the title by winning a unanimous decision in a fairly uneventful fight at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Viloria, of Waipahu, looked strong throughout, but was never able to find a way to hurt his opponent. With little damage to his body aside from a small cut above his left eye, Viloria attempted to explain the loss after finishing his second consecutive 12-round bout.
"I'm shocked," said Viloria, who fell to 19-1 by losing for the first time in his professional career. "I fought a stupid fight. I just waited for him."
That assessment came about an hour too late.
Though he was quicker and more aggressive in the first two rounds, Viloria appeared reluctant to go for the knockout blow. Nino was unbothered by several moderate punches to the face, and he countered with repeated jabs followed by an occasional body blow.
By the fifth round, the challenger clearly was gaining confidence, while Viloria began to look concerned.
"I heard he was very strong," Nino said of his opponent through an interpreter. "But once I felt his punches, I didn't think they were so strong. I started feeling confident that I could beat him."
Brian Viloria failed to put together enough punches to retain his title yesterday.
Neither boxer ever appeared dominant, but Nino's jabs took their toll as the fight progressed. Fans called for Viloria to end it with his notorious knockout blow, but that punch never came.
"I don't want to make excuses," said the 108-pound ex-champ. "Everyone has bad nights and tonight was my bad night."
Viloria, 25, landed several more blows to Nino's face in the middle rounds, but Nino (24-2-1, 10 knockouts) kept coming back.
By the late rounds, Viloria suspected he'd need a knockout in order to retain his belt.
"In those last couple rounds, I knew I'd have to be aggressive," he said. "I knew I had to go in and throw a lot of punches."
But Nino, 30, backed Viloria against the ropes late in the 11th round with a powerful series of blows to the face, and he did the same to start the 12th. Viloria finally responded with about 20 seconds remaining in the fight, throwing a string of largely ineffective combinations. They weren't enough to undo the damage.
The loss came at a bad time for Viloria, who appeared to be in line for a big-money bout against WBA champion Koki Kameda of Japan. Though Viloria had vowed not to overlook Nino on the way such a high-profile duel, he was forced to rethink his game plan after yesterday's fight.
"I'd like a rematch (against Nino)," he said. "As fast as possible, I want to see if I can get a rematch with him."
How would Viloria approach a second chance?
"I'd be more aggressive," said the former Olympian.
That approach may take some work, as Viloria also looked lethargic in defending his title against former champion Jose Antonio Aguirre by decision in February. But in that bout, he had a legitimate excuse after breaking his right hand early on.
There were no such excuses. His opponent simply fought a better, smarter fight.
Nino, who raised his arms in victory immediately upon hearing the final bell, said he never doubted that he was capable of defeating Viloria.
"That's why I came here," he said. "I didn't come here to do anything but win this title."