Brian Viloria: This is The Most Mentally Focused I've Been

By Francisco Salazar

Cool, calm, and collected.

That mostly seems to be the demeanor of Brian Viloria, before and after a fight.

Could that calm demeanor of Viloria's be unleashed into more than just a 'Hawaiian Punch?'

Viloria believes so. He is fighting the best flyweight in the world in Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez. They square off on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City, N.Y.

The bout will precede the middleweight showdown between Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux. Both fights will air on HBO Pay Per View, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.

Both fights have been highly anticipated by boxing fans for months now. The fact that 15,000 tickets were sold in about a week's time reflects the eagerness of fight fans to watch two action-packed fights.

Gonzalez-Viloria could stand alone as a main event, a battle between an unbeaten world champion and a fighter who believes he can defeat the man in the division.

Viloria (36-4, 22 KOs) has been here before, having fought for world title belts and fighting on big stages.

Since a close 12 round split decision loss to Juan Francisco Estrada in April of 2013, Viloria has won his last four bouts in a row. In his last bout on July 25, Viloria knocked out Omar Soto in the first round in Hollywood, Calif.

So what makes Viloria believe he can not only defeat Gonzalez, let alone take away his world title? At 34 years of age, Viloria believes he is a much better fighter.

"I'm very ready for this fight," Viloria told earlier this week over the phone. "This is the most mentally focused I've been for a fight. I had eight weeks of solid sparring (at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood). I've gone through this with other big fights before."

"He (Gonzalez) is a very dangerous fighter. He's well-schooled. I know I have a big task ahead of me. I know it will be a big test for him as well. I'm going to go in there and stick to my game-plan. A lot is at stake."

Viloria held world titles in two different weight classes. He has done well for himself and his longevity in the sport speaks for itself. He represented the United States in the 2000 Olympic Games and has demonstrated he can compete at the highest level.

Which is why he believes he has the intangibles to give Gonzalez a run for his money on fight night.

"I have always fought at or around my weight because of the lifestyle I've lived (since turning pro)," said Viloria, who is promoted by Top Rank and managed by Gary Gittlesohn. "It's easy for me to make weight as opposed for it to be a burden on me."

Boxing has been in Viloria's blood. Chasing the dream of becoming a world champion is motivational enough.

But Viloria has another motivation in life, something he carries close to him. His 18 month old son Tyler has brought about more of a sense of responsibility for Viloria, something he welcomes as a father.

His ambition to win on Saturday has increased ten-fold, considering higher-profile fights with bigger purses could await him if he defeats Gonzalez.

"Boxing is my passion. It will always be number one. Becoming a father and seeing him is what gives me more motivation. I want to win a world title for him in his lifetime and I've had that drive and motivation in my last couple of fights."

The boxing world awaits a sensational match-up between two excellent fighters in Gonzalez and Viloria, It could be a war of attrition or one fighter could get the better of the other.

However this fight goes, look for Viloria to give it his all. While his demeanor may be calm and relaxed, he believes he can live up to the adage of being 'The Hawaiian Punch.'

"This is going to be a toe-to-toe battle. This is going to be a chess match, along with being a grind-out type of fight. I'm going to give it my all to win that world title."

Francisco A. Salazar has written for since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing

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