Viloria firmly focused on future


POSTED: Monday, August 31, 2009

Before the sweat that lined Brian Viloria's face had dried, he was already hit with questions about what's next.

“;Maybe two or three more years,”; he said of his future in boxing. “;You never know in this game. I want to box for as long as I can. I want to get out on top of my game and see where it goes from there.”;

It was only moments after his unanimous decision win over Jesus Iribe to retain his IBF light flyweight title at the Blaisdell Arena. His answer was precise and straight to the point, without wavering.

It's clear he knows what lies ahead and understands he doesn't have time to make the same mistakes that ended his first world title run in a hurry.

He'll be 29 in November and fights in a weight class where speed is as crucial as power. After his 30th professional fight Saturday night, Viloria is 26-2 with two no-contests. Seven of those have come in the last 20 months as he's made it a point to get back to the top as quickly as possible.

“;He won't fight quite as much as he has,”; manager Gary Gittelsohn said. “;But we still want him fighting at least three times a year.”;

There's a sense of urgency when it comes to Viloria. After falling from the world title ranks, he had to start his comeback at the age of 27, when most people hit their prime.

But ever since he stepped foot in a ring set in the middle of a parking lot against Jose Garcia Bernal, everything has gone the way he and Gittelsohn have envisioned.

When he wanted to get in rounds against Cesar Lopez and Juan Javier Lagos, he got them. When he needed to show his knockout power, he did so in quick fights against Fred Heberto Valdez and Benjamin Garcia.

Finally, he got his shot at another world title, and he made the most of it, knocking out favorite Ulises Solis in the 11th round.

Immediately, he pondered a chance to fight in Hawaii, but was scheduled for his first title defense to happen in the Philippines. But when the fight fell through last month, Viloria got the chance to check off another goal he set for himself by fighting in Hawaii in front of his hometown crowd.

Now that his dream week is over, he can focus on the true tests that lie ahead. There won't be any fights in parking lots in the middle of swap meets.

Instead, Viloria is looking at the bright lights of Las Vegas and a spot on HBO or pay-per-view. He's set himself up for a unification fight against WBO champion Ivan Calderon or a rematch against WBC champion Edgar Sosa. If he is to lose his title, he's come too far to climb back up the mountain again, and it could be the end of his career. Nevertheless, he's ready.

“;It's up to Gary, my manager, and my team to see where to go from here, but I think I'm ready,”; Viloria said.

He said the same before stumbling in fights against Omar Nino Romero and Sosa. But his lifestyle backs up his words.

After finishing off Iribe, Viloria is free to do what he wants until his next fight is finalized. But for the same reasons he was on weight on Monday, five days before Saturday night's bout, he won't take a break from his training.

“;I have to watch my weight,”; Viloria said. “;In between matches I watch my weight nowadays. I can eat all the poke and the Korean BBQ, but right now I need to watch that.

“;As much as I want to splurge out there, I still have to watch my weight ... if I want to be a champion for a long time.”;

Which he'll have to be if he's to realize his goal of going out on top.