Back in November 2012 we got an absolute treat on from Los Angeles in what was a brilliant double header featuring 4 of the little men in the sport. One of those bouts saw Roman Gonzalez take a very competitive win over Juan Francisco Estrada whilst the other featured a Filipino-American taking on one of the most fun to watch Mexican fighters ever. The bout was was the main event of the card, though in reality it's now not spoken about as much as it should be, sadly. That's despite the fact the contest was sensational. Maybe not as good as the Gonzalez Vs Estrada bout, but it was certainly a special bout.
Brian Viloria (31-3-0-2, 18) vs Hernan Marquez (34-2, 25)
Filipino-American fighter Brian Viloria was always a hard man to really predict. At his best he could truly do it all. He was a boxer-puncher, with vicious power and brilliant skills. He was a smart fighter, but he was also someone who seemed to run into trouble in the ring far more often than he really should. He really should be better remembered than he is, but losses at Light Flyweight to Omar Nino Romero, Edgar Sosa and Carlos Tamara all seemed to leave us with question marks over how good Viloria really was.
Whilst Viloria did suffer those losses he also had numerous top level wins at Light Flyweight, including victories over Eric Ortiz, Jose Antonio Aguirre and Ulises Solis. In 2010, after losing to Tamara, Viloria moved up in weight and went on a truly fantastic run of results beating Julio Cesar Miranda, to claim the WBO Flyweight title and the defended it against Giovani Segura and Omar Nino Romero, in the third bout between the two men. He then got a unification bout with WBA champion Hernan Marqueez.
Mexican warrior Hernan "Tyson" Marquez was one of the sport's must watch fighters at the time. Technically he was crude and clumsy, but had incredible power, heart, work rate, aggression and physical strength. To this point his only losses had been an upset to Richie Mepranum and ill fated bout at Super Flyweight against Nonito Donaire. those losses had both come in 2010 and he had bounced back with 7 wins.
The 7 fight winning streak of Marquez had included a 2011 Fight of the Year contender against Luis Concepcion, in which Marquez claimed the WBA Flyweight title, revenge of Mepranum and 2 world title defenses, including a rematch with Concepcion. He had been blitzing fighters and scoring a lot of knockdowns, quickly becoming the man you tuned into for fireworks and excitment.
Coming in we had two men in good form, two men with solid power, exciting styles and two men who both held world titles. We had the ingredients for an instant classic, and that's exactly what we got!
From the first round it was clear we were getting something special. Viloria took the fight to Marquez with an aggressive gameplan. The tactics seemed a risky one against someone with the power of Marquez, and towards the end of the round Marquez actually began to turn the tables on Viloria. That was until Viloria a brilliant left hook put Marquez down. That was the first of the bouts numerous knockdowns.
Virloia would continue to land clean, accurate shots, getting the respect of Marquez and neutralising the Mexican for the most part. Marquez had his moments, but always seemed to pay for them. The class and more rounded skills of Viloria saw him being able to soak up the pressure from the Mexican and land the more clean and destructive blows. Those shots from Viloria saw him scoring a second knockdown in round 5, just as it seemed like Marquez was building some momentum of his own.
Viloria then controlled the action without much bother for a bit before he began to slow.
With the bout slipping away from him Marquez began to pressure and press, trying to make Viloria drain his take and drown him late on. Viloria's work rate began to decline notably in round 9 and Marquez turned it on, as if feeling that Viloria was gassing and tiring.
We'll leave this bout here, but we do need to say this is one of the most entertaining and exciting 1-sided bouts in recent memory. It was over-shadowed by the Gonzalez Vs Estrada bout, but was genuinely thrilling, as pretty much every Marquez bout was during this stage of his career.
With the current decade running down, we've decided to begin looking for who is the Asian Fighter of the Decade. As part of that we have come up with a list of honourable mentions, and will be posting these before we begin our count down to the top 10 later in the year, and very early next year (due to needing to wait for some fights at the very end of the decade to fully come to our ordering of the top 10).
For our Fighter of the Decade, we have tried to weigh up quality of wins, longevity at the top during the decade, and what they've achieved during the decade. Whilst we might refer to their work before January 1st 2010, we won't be considering that in their standing for the Fighter of the Decade.
With that in mind let us bring you the first of our honourable mentions, with more being posted in the coming weeks.
The "Hawaiian Punch" Brian Viloria (38-6-0-2, 23) was rarely known for his consistency. He blew hot and cold through much of his career, and when he was hot he was red hot, as he was for a small, but notable, run during decade. Sadly his overall body of work from the decade was under-whelming, but at one point over a 16 month span, he was one of the most under-rated fighters in the sport.
During the decade Viloria, an American-Filipino, went 12-4 (8). That's not an amazing record, by any stretch, but in terms of opposition few could compete with the fighters he faced. In fact on competition alone he would have been the clear #1...had he beaten them all. Sadly though in his biggest bouts he tended to come up short, and he went 4-4 in world title bouts during the decade.
The decade got off on the wrong foot for Viloria, as he lost just days into the decade to Carlos Tamara, suffering a final round TKO in a bout he was leading. It saw him losing the IBF Light Flyweight title. The following year however he became a world champion once again, out pointing the dangerous Julio Cesar Miranda for the WBO Flyweight title.
The win over Miranda was followed by successive stoppage wins over Giovani Segura, Omar Nino Romero and Hernan Marquez, to unify the WBO and WBA titles. Those 4 wins, coming in the space of just over 16 months, were brilliant. Sadly though they were about it for notable wins for Viloria.
The talented Viloria would lose in his next bout, to Juan Francisco Estrada. A short winning run over lesser competition followed before he was stopped by Roman Gonzalez in 2015 and he would later lose to Artem Dalakian.
Not many fighters in recent years can say they fought fighters on the level of Tamara, Miranda, Segura, Romero, Marquez, Estrada, Gonzalez and Dalakian. Had Viloria gone 8-0 against those, and done nothing else, he would have likely been #1, but going 4-4, whilst understandable, does drop him out of the top 10 and earns him only an honourable mention.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features