Brian Viloria knocked down Mexico's Omar Nino twice but his fight was declared a draw.
Viloria exits ring without belt
LAS VEGAS » Waipahu's Brian Viloria let his World Boxing Council 108-pound title rematch fall into the hands of the three judges last night at the Thomas and Mack Center, and they didn't treat him kindly.
For the second consecutive bout, Viloria failed to decipher Mexico's Omar Nino, who kept his title with a majority draw as two judges scored the fight 113-113 with the third giving Nino the nod with a 115-112 score. Despite two knockdowns by Viloria and being more active in the ring, it wasn't enough to recapture the title he lost three months ago to Nino, who is now 24-2-1 with 10 knockouts. Viloria is 19-1-1 (12 KOs).
"What were those judges watching?" Viloria said. "I felt I clearly won the fight."
Viloria knew coming into his first professional rematch bout against Nino that this was a make-or-break type fight, one that would either end with his WBC title back around his waist, or one that could end his career.
"I didn't lose this fight, so I am not going to retire," said Viloria, who is anxious for an unlikely third shot at Nino. "That's what I want most and that's who I want next. Next time I will take it out of the judges' hands and knock him out."
As Viloria waited for his rematch with Nino to begin, Nino's cornermen held the WBC belt high for everyone in the arena to see. Viloria focused his attention on the title that could have been his once again, while Nino danced in his corner getting warmed up for another grueling match.
Riding on the coattails of the Philippines' favorite son, Manny Pacquiao, and Mexico's Erik Morales, it was clear where the fans of Viloria and Nino were seated around the arena as legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer projected their names around the arena's sound system.
Once the first bell sounded, Viloria came out and swung first with a wide right hook. He landed the first punch of the night in the form of a crisp, short left jab. Viloria got the attention of his opponent with a straight right that put Nino against the ropes, and the crowd was on its feet, alive with excitement that this could possibly be a short night for Viloria, and that he would soon have his title back.
It was clear Viloria was more focused than he was when he faced Nino the first time around. Nino, however, attacked the body of Viloria, but using his quickness, the Waipahu native countered with a combination of hooks and crosses that landed flush to the head of Nino.
Viloria scored his first big punch of the fight in the third round. After a low blow by Nino, Viloria answered with a right-hook, left-cross combination that buckled the knees of Nino. This forced Nino to grab Viloria in order for his head to clear, while the crowd cheered.
The beginning of round four saw Nino throw another low blow, and this time the referee stopped the action to give Nino a warning. Once the fight resumed, both fighters bobbed and weaved in front of each other, as they looked for an opening on their desired target.
With a minute left to go in the round, Nino missed with a wide left hook, allowing Viloria to answer with a left hook of his own, landing it flush on the head of Nino, and putting the crowd into a frenzy.
When the bell sounded to end the fourth round, Nino attempted to touch gloves with Viloria as a sign of respect, but Viloria turned his back and would have none of it.
Viloria scored his first knockdown in the fifth round with a wide right hook that included both glove and forearm, landing them on the head of Nino, causing the champ's glove to touch the canvas, and forcing the referee to give Nino a mandatory standing eight count.
Nino landed a huge right hook to Viloria's head in round seven followed by a left hook upstairs that got the Mexican crowd vocal for the first time since Nino entered the ring. Both of Nino's punches sprayed the ringside observers and Nino continued his successful attack on Viloria's head until the timekeeper rang the bell.
In the eighth frame, Viloria allowed Nino to get inside and land telling blows to Viloria's head. Knowing that he was taking the round on the judges' scorecards, Nino wisely chose to stay outside of Viloria's reach, only coming in to counter Viloria's quick jabs with wide right and left hooks that landed flush on the head of Viloria.
In the ninth round, Nino followed a similar game plan that worked so well for him in the previous round. Taking a page out of Muhammad Ali's book, Nino did the old stick and move, coming within reach of Viloria's arsenal to land a quick right jab, and then moving to Viloria's side to dodge the challenger's counter punches.
However, Viloria quickly wised up to Nino's tactics, and when Nino came in to throw one of his scoring jabs, Viloria met him with a right-left-right combination to Nino's head that put the WBC champ on his seat.
Nino was given another standing eight count, but time had run out before Viloria could take advantage of the damage he had done. But it was the last round that Viloria clearly dominated.
Nino told reporters after the bout that the first knockdown was a push and should not have counted. Obviously disappointed, Viloria told reporters, "What do I have to do to beat this guy? I controlled Nino with my pressure and I knocked him down twice, what more do I need to do?"