Brian Viloria had his way with Cesar Lopez last night.
Viloria gets decision over Lopez in Vegas
LAS VEGAS » The last time Brian "The Hawaiian Punch" Viloria stepped foot in the ring, it was under a rain-drenched tent at a swap meet in Los Angeles.
Viloria (21-2, 12 KOs) had been humbled the last two years when his poor performances resulted in the Waipahu product losing his junior flyweight title, and two attempts of trying to get it back. His victory over Jose Bernal last month in an arena where masses of people usually buy bootleg DVDs and large Persian rugs inspired Viloria to get back in the good graces of the boxing world, and fighting once again under the Vegas lights.
Last night at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, "The Hawaiian Punch" won a unanimous decision over former super flyweight titlist Cesar Lopez 20-6 (4 KOs) in an eight-round battle in which Viloria put down a fighter who had never been knocked off his feet before.
Once the bell sounded to get the fight underway, Viloria used the first few rounds to feel his opponent out, knowing that Lopez possessed an awkward style that could cause him problems if their fight went the distance. Having watched some of Lopez's previous fights on tape, Viloria had seen his opponent be elusive with other fighters, and "The Hawaiian Punch" did not want to run the risk of being outboxed by a sly fighter who could look impressive in the eyes of the judges.
"I wanted to first see how Lopez was in the speed and power category," said Viloria. "Once I started trading with him, I realized in the early rounds that he didn't want to trade with me."
It was in the third and fourth rounds that Viloria really began pressing the action. By throwing solid combinations to the head and body of Lopez throughout the rounds, Lopez was left wide open for Viloria to land monstrous uppercuts that made Lopez's entire body tremble from Viloria's devastating power.
"I had to press the fight," said Viloria. "I didn't want to walk into any of his punches, so I continued to throw solid combinations and uppercuts until I got the result I wanted."
After breaking down Lopez over the previous four rounds, Viloria set up an amazing string of punches that put his opponent on the floor for the first time in the fifth round.
"I had been hurting him with body shots from the moment the fight began," said Viloria. "I knew he was coming in to throw one of his rights, so I threw a jab of my own, and followed it up with my right hand."
Viloria's perfectly timed shot jerked Lopez back until he landed on his back for a mandatory eight count. With both his Olympic and championship experience, Viloria was cautious in rushing to finish off his stunned opponent.
"I didn't want to finish him off right away," said Viloria. "I didn't just want to take the knockout. I wanted to get some more rounds in to build my level of confidence."
When the judges had their say, they were all unanimous in favor of the "Hawaiian Punch" with scores of 78-73 (twice), and 77-74.
"We're very pleased," said Gary Gittelsohn, Viloria's manager. "Brian showed dramatic improvement against a solid opponent. I'd love to get him a fight in late March or early April, and then talk about a title fight this time next year."