Waipahu's Brian Viloria puts his undefeated record (11-0, 6 KOs) on the line against Mexico's Valentin Leon (14-5, 6 KOs) tonight.

ready to rumble

Leon is not afraid of
Viloria, and expects to
be asked for a rematch

By Jerry Campany

BRIAN Viloria has a price on his head.

Knocking the Olympian off his spot as the World Boxing Council's No. 5 flyweight is not enough. Valentin Leon is in town to beat Viloria twice.

Leon, and many boxers like him who are willing to stand in with Viloria, fight the Waipahu flyweight with an eye on the future. Leon is in town to beat him so that he can assure a rematch and a big payday. He figures Viloria would be willing to pay $30,000 to erase the only blemish from his record.

"It means a lot if he defeats Viloria," Augustine Tapia, Leon's manager and interpreter, said. "Valentin is already looking forward to the rematch and the payday. He will leave his soul in the ring for it."

Leon vs. Viloria

Where: Sheraton Waikiki

When: Today; first fight begins at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $75 ringside, $50 reserved, $25 general admission. Available by calling 877-750-4400 or at the Blaisdell Box Office and selected Foodland and Sack-n-Save stores.


>> Eric Alexander (18-7, 13 KOs, Kalihi) vs. Calvin Odom (11-4, 8 KOs, Los Angeles)

>> Jerry Saribay (3-3, 2 KOs, Kalihi) vs. John Lopez (6-6, 3 KOs, Hilo)

>> Tali Kulihaapai (8-3, 7 KOs, Honolulu) vs. John Clark (4-2, 4 KOs, Los Angeles)

>> Jay Saribay (no record, Kalihi) vs. Travis Tandel (NR, Kaimuki)

>> Rodney Joseph (NR, Waianae) vs. Mark Mareko (NR, Kalihi)

Leon is so confident that he has not seen any tapes of Viloria's fights, relying on Tapia to have him ready without "sizing" his opponent. The last time Leon did advance work on an opponent it backfired, when got some bad information and heard that his opponent, Ivan Calderon, was left-handed. The undefeated Calderon turned out to be a righty and beat Leon by decision five days later.

Leon has heard tales of Viloria's right hand, but has sparred 200 rounds over the past three months against big left-handers, including Jon Jon and Polito Velardez. Tapia believes that the training has remade his fighter, who is a natural straw weight.

"Valentin was a very slow fighter, but now he is very fast," Tapia said. "His punching power has increased by 50 percent. Valentin is a Mexican warrior and is going to go as long as it takes to develop a knockout."

Tapia can talk about the fight in such strong terms because he believes in his man as much as he refuses to believe in Viloria. Leon says he respects Viloria's amateur accomplishments but that he has shown nothing as a professional.

"I am not convinced," Leon said. "Who has he fought? Nobody."

Leon counts Calderon and Isaac Bustos, who is the second ranked minimumweight by the WBC, as the impressive names on his resume, but he has lost to both. Bustos knocked Leon out twice but Tapia says that Leon was beating him in the second encounter when the referee stopped it in Bustos' favor.

The only common opponent Leon and Vilora have is Frankie Soto, who Leon beat in a four-round decision way back in 1999 and Viloria stopped in five rounds in 2000.

Soto was the last fighter willing to stand in and fight Viloria, as the three opponents the Olympian has fought since have been content to run away from Viloria's power and hope to win a decision. Leon says that trend will end tonight, that one of the fighters will finish the night on the floor.

"I am going to go right after him," Leon said. "He has never been hit."

As for the payday should Leon knock Viloria from the ranks of the unbeaten, Team Viloria manager Gary Gittelsohn says that even thinking about the possibility is indulging in a fantasy.

"I don't think that way, so I refuse to comment on hypothetical situations," Gittelsohn said. "Valentin Leon is definitely the B-side of this equation and I don't expect him to beat Brian to even make it an issue."

Viloria has his own plans for after the fight with Leon. He received a fax from the White House yesterday inviting him to appear there as President Bush's guest when he entertains Gloria Macpagal-Arroyo, the president of the Philippines. The event happens May 19.

"I'm at a loss for words," Viloria said. "I thought it was a scam; why would the White House be calling me? My dad thought I was getting drafted for the war or something. It is just so cool."

Bihana out: David Bihana pulled out of his fight with Sitafine Talosaga yesterday, leaving the card with six fights. Bihana could not get cleared by the Hawaii State Boxing Commission. The fight will not be replaced, but an exhibition between 12-year olds Gino Ramos and Boston Solomon of the Police Athletic League will be held during the intermission.

World Boxing Council
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