I caught up with former unified flyweight world champion, Brian “The Hawaiian Punch” Viloria (36-5, 22 KO’s) recently and while the Filipino-American stalwart is himself wrapping up a boxing stint that has seen him win multiple world titles in two divisions, Viloria can’t help but look back at the career of one of his sports heroes — Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.
While fans, observers and his own promoter, Top Rank chief Bob Arum, believe this isn’t the last we’ll see of him, Pacquiao, 37, is adamant that his next bout which takes place April 9 in Las Vegas against Timothy Bradley will serve as his graceful exit before he takes on politics full time.
Viloria, a resident of Los Angeles, California by way of Waipahu, Hawaii, credits Pacquiao for inspiring him and having an impact on his performances.
“A lot. He’s motivated me many times in big fights. Just watching him train, watching him prepare himself the way goes about it, it makes you want to do the same thing. It pushes you even more,” Viloria told this reporter when asked what impact Pacquiao had on him throughout his career.
“You see Manny train and prepare himself, that’s one way he’s impacted me in my career. When I watch him train and I go, wow, I’m not doing enough in my training sessions because look at this guy, he’s doing everything in and even outside of the books to prepare for each fight,” Viloria added.
Indeed, Pacquiao’s training regimen and his dedication to pushing himself past his limits is the stuff of legend. Many days have been spent behind the closed doors of Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in LA, wailing away at heavy bags and dancing on rough canvas, somehow it’s slowly sinking in that all of it soon fades into distant memory.
Viloria himself has trained alongside Pacquiao at times, pouring hours of dedication into the confines of the same musty gym. It is there that he was witness to countless moments of Pacquiao in his element.
Viloria just concluded the biggest fight of his life as a prizefighter, when last year he took on newly minted pound-for-pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and lost by technical knockout. While Viloria may seem to have no possible opponents on the horizon at the moment, he expressed his interest to continue fighting.
When he does find himself back in the gym of course, flashes of Pacquiao’s inspirational impact will drive him to push for greatness.
“When I look at Manny, it pushes me to train harder — pushing me with the passion that he has for the sport. It’s something that I have always looked up to all these years,” said Viloria.
On the lookout for Viloria is a rematch against former conqueror Juan Francisco Estrada, whom he says he desires a second go at.
“I still feel like I have a few more fights left in the tank. We’ll see when we sit down with the team to figure out what moves we can make at this point,” said Viloria.
“It’s not the end of the road for me now, it’s just a matter of which fights are available for me out there.” – By Carlos Miguel Cinco