The Hawaiian Punch Speaks out: An Interview with Brian Viloria
Interview by Tom Dickey (February 9, 2005) 
Photo © Brendon Pierpaoli
 Doghouse Boxing
Brian Viloria was one of the most talked about fighters coming out of the 2000 Olympics. His exciting hard punching style drew comparisons to Michael Carbajal. At only 24 years of age Viloria is looking solid right now in the flyweight division, undefeated in 16 appearances and ranked #2 by the World Boxing Council (WBC), #3 by the World Boxing Association (WBA), #10 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and #6 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO).

He is coming off an impressive 7th round KO victory, his 10th early night, over Angel Priolo, (30-1, 20 KOs) in Los Angeles, a fight he took on three days notice, because it was a shot to fight on HBO Latino. Viloria was nice enough to talk to me after a recent training session in Hollywood, California. Here's what he had to say....

Dickey: Who are you looking to fight next?

Viloria: I'm looking at fighting one of the world champions in the 108 pound division. I'm dropping down in weight from 112 to 108, and I'm feeling really good at this weight.

Dickey: In your last fight you defeated Angel Priolo on three days notice, what were the circumstances behind that fight?

Viloria: He was a very tough guy. I had a fight scheduled on Showtime that got cancelled. I then took a week off, because I didn't think I was going to fight again until next year or this year. Then two or three days before the fight in Los Angeles started, one of the fighters pulled out, and I got a call and they said we want you to fight, and it will be on HBO Latino. I couldn't turn that down. I got the call on a Monday and the fight was scheduled for Thursday night.

Dickey: Would you like to fight Vic Darchinyan, who just upset Irene Pacheco for the IBF Flyweight title?

Viloria: Yes, he keeps calling me out, he thinks he has the edge over me right now. He came here and sparred with me a while back, and afterwards he claimed he kicked my butt, but I don't remember him being able to even hit me. I think that a world champion calling a challenger out is kind of unheard of, usually it's the other way around. I'm looking forward to that potential fight, especially since Arce moved up to 112. I was hoping to get a title at 108, and move it up to 112 and fight Vic and any one of the world champions.

Dickey: What were your main goals when you got into Boxing?

Viloria: My main goal is to leave a mark in the lighter weight divisions. That was one and still is one of my main goals. A lot of the attention gets drawn to the larger weight divisions, not since Michael Carbajal has the 108 pound division or other light divisions been really recognized. I'm trying to bring that back, I'm trying to say that these lighter divisions warrant the same type of recognition as the heavier weights. A world championship was another big goal of mine when I got started also.

Dickey: You being a 2000 Olympian, and having gone through the transition from amateur Olympian to professional, what advice would you give some of the guys like Andre Ward, Andre Dirrell or Vicente Escobedo from the 2004 class as they start that same transition?

Viloria: A lot of guys are trying to jump in and get contracts as quickly as possible. I would tell them to just take their time, and feel these people out, it's the pro business now. Amateur times are over, and the pro game is more business than actual fighting. A lot of things take place in court rooms, and you have things like breach of contracts, it's a whole new thing. I would tell them just take their time. Actually Vicente Escobedo is my roommate now, and I tell him to just take his time. Don't just jump into a contract because it sounds good; do your homework, find out what accomplishments these people have and what credentials these people have. It was like this for us in 2000, there was a cesspool of managers and promoters trying to get guys to sign up, and a lot of the fighters just jumped on without knowing what the contracts really meant. For a lot of these guys, I would tell them just take your time, find the right trainers, find the right promoters, and find the right managers that's going to help you and show the right road to take, and who will benefit you. Because a lot of promoters are scum and sharks, and they will try to milk the fighters as much as they can, and when they're done they will just throw the fighter to the side. That's the sad truth.

Dickey: How has it been working with Freddie Roach?

Freddie's been great, I've been working with Freddie since the beginning of my career. He tells me the right things at the right time. He's not one of those trainers that's just going to scream at your face, he's not one of those guys. He's going to tell you what to do at exactly the right time, the right place, and how to do it, and what will happen if you do accomplish it. He keeps me focused, and he's one of the guys that I highly respect in the game. You can't have two opponents in the ring, you can't have your trainer fighting with you too. Freddie is a man, there is no other way I can say it, he's trained a lot of world champions. He's been there and experienced a lot of things and he brings a lot of experience to my corner. He knows exactly what to say, because he has been in the ring and was a fighter himself. So he is able to relate to his fighters as a trainer and as a fighter. So, I highly respect Freddie.

Dickey: You kind of touched on this already, but who are some guys that you see and say I want to fight him?

Viloria: My plans right now are fighting at 108, and fighting world champions there. Then I would like to go back to 112, and fight any of the four world sanctioning body champions. Whether it be with Vic, or Arce, or even Pongsaklek (Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: WBC Flyweight champ). Just trying to find the right match, then you got to go through the business aspect of it. Right now I'm just trying to get myself in shape and get the right match. So, those are in my plans for the future.

Dickey: After you turned pro following the 2000 Olympics, you drew comparisons to Michael Carbajal. How did you feel about these comparisons?

Viloria: To tell you the truth, I was flattered. But, at the same time I know that those are big shoes to fill. Because, Michael Carbajal came back with a medal, and he proved himself. I came back with a 2 point loss to the guy who won the gold medal. Having people say that, actually motivated me to become a great pro. It helped me in staying focused, and going into the ring and doing what I have to do. It motivated me in thinking if Michael Carbajal could do it, then I could do it, nobody else could stop me but myself. When people make that comparison, I feel flattered, but I realize it's a daunting task, and I wanted to go in there and prove that I would be a great professional. I feel I proved that I was a great amateur, and now in the professional game I felt I had to re learn the whole sport, and prove again that I am one of the best fighters out there in the division.

Dickey: If there was one thing that you could change about Boxing, inside or outside of the ring, what would it be?

I would get rid of the dirtiest promoters and managers out there that have taken advantage of some of the great fighters. If there was one thing that I could change, it would be that. I would change the humanity of the sport. Being in the sport and watching people do what they do, like robbing fighters, and taking more of their cut than they should have... It's a really, really nasty sport, at least that side of it. That's something I would really like to see changed. I know it's probably like asking for world peace, but if I had to pick one thing, that would be it. You can't feed all the children, you can't help all the sick, you can't stop all the wars and at the same time you can't take out all the bad promoters and managers out there. Unfortunately, they will always be there. But, if there was one thing I could change that would be it
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