As the fight date became a moving target (with the earliest reports stating this fight could take place on September 29th at the Home Depot Center in Carson), Viloria had to adjust his training camps and the intensity of his work. “I had to restart like twice; the first time around, I took like four days off. But I was still trying to stay active, still running in the morning, trying to come to the gym every other day. Second time around, I took like a week off. I went back to Hawaii; I got to attend some family events and just reset myself a little bit, tried not to think about boxing too much.”
Trainers will tell you; overtraining and getting stale in the gym can be just as detrimental as not working hard enough in the gym. In fact, it might be worse. And there was the issue of timing out the sparring and tapering off the work. As Viloria explained, “You don’t want to overwork yourself and spar two, three months and then find yourself a little flat when the fight comes. So you try to gauge it. That’s why you have to have a deadline; you have to know when a fight’s going to be so you can adjust your schedule and your sparring sessions accordingly so you don’t overwork yourself at the end of your training camp.”
Viloria admits without a set date and venue, it’s difficult to train with the same vigor.
“It’s really hard because you don’t want to go 100 percent in training and just go full-blast when you don’t know when the end result is going to be at or when the finish line is at. It’s really hard to maintain that way. That’s why we had to take a few days off when the fight got moved back,” he said of this promotion which has relocated more than a military family. Throughout this process, Viloria was in constant contact with his adviser, Gary Gittelsohn. “I pretty much had a lot of my faith and trust with Gary; he handles those types of things. Still, you want to know what’s going on, try to gauge when you can start training again. I was calling Gary back and forth; he called me every once in awhile to let me know how the negotiations were.”
More than once, Viloria read reports of a “done” deal. There was a lot of “Dewey Defeats Truman” going on at this point.
“A lot,” said Viloria, laughing. “I mean, a lot of these people were just putting up false dates and I’m like, ‘Really?!’ It was news to me but it got to the point where I was staying away from all of that and not trying to psych myself out. I just went to the sources and talked to my management, Gary and Zanfer [Promotions], and got everything in line. You try to see when the right date is going to be at, when they made the fight. So as soon as I got the word, we kicked into high gear and got the ball moving.”
There was even a report that the fight would be staged at the L.A. Coliseum. The reality is there was a better chance of this taking place at the Roman Coliseum. Finally, the former home of the Clippers was tabbed and November 17th was nailed down. On October 11th, the formal announcement was made at the ESPN SportsZone at LA Live.
Yes, this fight was on.
A relieved Viloria says, “That was the first event that told me this is really going to go down now.”
And this fight is the biggest of his career, one that will not only consolidate belts at 112 pounds but perhaps mark Viloria as an elite fighter.
“This will be the fight that determines that and I’m going to have to really look good in this fight and turn on a great performance for me to reach that and try to turn some heads, especially with the HBO and Showtime people, to try to get me onto those platforms. This is the fight that is going to propel me towards that atmosphere,” said Viloria, well aware that the premium cable networks’ reluctance to purchase this fight was one of the issues that hindered the process of this fight becoming finalized.
In Marquez, not only is he facing a heavy-handed puncher but one who is a southpaw.
“I fought a lot of left-handers as an amateur, not so much as a pro,” Viloria pointed out. “Giovani Segura, he was switching; he turned from left-handed to right a little bit. So did [Julio Cesar] Miranda but this is the first, I guess, or maybe my second left-hander that I’m going to fight and he’s going to be a crafty fighter, a strong fighter. So it’s going to take all my knowledge I acquired as an amateur and try to use it.”
In the past, Viloria has been as up and down as the Dow Jones (as Dicky V. would say” but he thinks now he has found a level of consistency. He admits, “I think that had a lot to do with the learning experiences. I’ve had to re-evaluate myself, the maturity of understanding what I need to do to prepare myself for each fight and what I need to do with it when I step into the ring and how to garner and take out all the best out of me each fight. So I don’t think that would’ve happened if I didn’t go through some of those mishaps. Right now, I understand what I need to go through in each fight and how to prepare myself physically and mentally to bring the best out of me.”
At the ripe age of 31, Viloria believes he is now just finding his stride. It’s only here and now when he could’ve dealt with the uncertainty and fickle nature of the boxing business. In the past, well...
“I don’t think so; I think that would’ve thrown me off my game a little bit,” he admitted. “I think I’ve been through it so much now and I’m more of a seasoned fighter than I was then. So I think I’m capable of adjusting to the schedule, adjust to things I need to at this point in my career. Back then, I don’t think I would’ve adjusted as well as I did now with the fight being changed.”
On Thursday, it was announced that the Secretary of Sports and Recreation of Puerto Rico has pardoned Juan Manuel Lopez’s one-year suspension, meaning he’s now free to resume his career immediately. Lopez had been suspended for a full year for the incendiary remarks he made toward referees Robert Ramirez Sr. and Jr. after his second consecutive knockout loss at the hands of Orlando Salido in March.
“It’s about time,” said Bob Arum, whose company, Top Rank, co-promotes “JuanMa.” Now the focus is on making a fight with Lopez and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. on January 19th at the Theater at Madison Square Garden as part of an HBO tripleheader. “Hopefully we can make the fight; we’re trying to make the fight now. I don’t know where we are exactly but [Top Rank Vice President] Carl Moretti is negotiating the fight.”
One of the hurdles in making this Puerto Rican grudge match a reality is the weight in which this bout will be contested. Lopez is said to be moving up to 130 while Vazquez Jr. still campaigns at 122 pounds. “The weight is one of the issues,” Arum admitted, “but y’ know, my guys will get it done. I’m optimistic.”
As for Kelly Pavlik facing Andre Ward in late January, Arum told Maxboxing, “We told [Goossen Tutor] how much we need and we’re waiting to hear back from them.”
It’s very simple. Can Goossen Tutor (or really, HBO) make it worth its while for them to throw in Pavlik?
“We told them what we needed; we’re willing to play ball and get it done. But Kelly wants a certain amount of money and we have an investment in Kelly; we have to get paid,” said Arum on Thursday afternoon from Mexico. “So if it’s too much money, we’ll have to get another opponent. But again, it’s a business deal; everybody is working together and if it can’t be done, it can’t be done. Kelly, if we can’t make the fight with Ward, we can perhaps make Kelly against [Julio Cesar] Chavez Jr. in the spring.”
Here’s the ticket info for Viloria vs. Marquez (from a press release):
Main Events announced that on January 19th from the Mohegan Sun, the season premiere of “Fight Night” on NBCSN will have the rescheduled bout between light heavyweights Sergey Kovalev and Gabe Campillo. I’ll give that boxer versus puncher match-up a thumbs up...Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions says that the Showtime undercard on December 1st at the Garden before Austin Trout vs. Miguel Cotto will have Jayson Velez against Sal Sanchez Jr. and middleweight Danny Jacobs...Any coincidence that shortly after Mike Brown is fired by the Lakers, Time Warner Sports and DirecTV come to an agreement? I mean, as unwatchable as Brown-ball (AKA Princeton) was, there was no real urgency on DirecTV’s side to make a deal...Are Jeff Van Gundy and Magic Johnson serious when they call Brown a “great coach”? C’mon, guys; he may have gotten a bit of a raw deal from the Lakers but let’s not kill our credibility here...And yeah, Mike D’Antoni’s team may not play any defense but I’d much rather see 120-115 games than 90-85. Yeah, I’m not a purist in that sense...I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.