By Ronnie Nathanielsz
For all his gallantry and incredible courage, former two division world champion Brian Viloria succumbed to the power and the relentless aggression of undefeated World Boxing Council flyweight champion and pound for pound No. 1, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday.
In a classic doubleheader anchored by the middleweight unification title fight between Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin and Canadian David Lemieux on a fight card telecast by TV 5, Viloria who had trained hard for the biggest fight of his career started off well, rushing out of his corner at the opening bell and connected with an overhand right as he kept up the pressure before Gonzalez countered with a late flurry to end the round.
Viloria tried to go toe-to-toe with Gonzalez as his trainer Marvin Somodio had predicted but Gonzalez cracked Viloria with a deadly short right and dropped him for the first time although the game Filipino-American survived.
Brian, displaying courage Filipino fighters are known for engaged Gonzalez who out-gunned him and by the 7th round it appeared to be only a matter of time before Gonzalez would end proceedings and reinforce his stature as the Ring Magazine’s pound for pound king.
Prior to the start of the 9th round the ring doctor visited Viloria in his corner to check on his condition considering the number of big shots he had absorbed. That gesture somehow seemed to suggest that unless a minor miracle happened and Viloria was able turn things around, the referee would likely call a halt.
And that’s exactly what happened as Viloria wilted after taking a couple of thunderous body shots and referee Benjy Eteves decided to stop the fight at 2:53 of the ninth round.
With the win Gonzalez improves to 44-0 with 38 knockouts while Viloria drops to 36-5 with 22 knockouts.
"Roman is a tremendous fighter," said Viloria. "I have nothing but respect for him. I had prepared for a different Roman and he surprised me with his defense and his speed. I do feel like the fight was stopped prematurely, I feel good and can keep going. If I had an opportunity to take him on again I would. I feel like I learned a lot today and would use that for the next time around."