By Ivan G. Goldman
Two Saturday night cards have so far overshadowed a genuine title unification match in the flyweight division, which these days gets even less respect than the heavyweight roster.
But buried beneath publicity for HBO’s Antonio DeMarco-Adrien Broner and Carl Froch-Yusaf Mack on pay-per-view, WBO titlist Brian “Hawaiian Punch” Viloria meets WBA titlist Hernan Marquez of Mexico in a fight that’s been kept a secret almost everywhere, including Los Angeles, where it will be fought. Both men have been involved in seriously brutal engagements in their pasts, and this one could easily turn into a war.
Viloria-Marquez appears to be the brain-child of Mexico’s Fernando Beltran and his Zanfer Promotions. He usually partners up with an American promoter for cards in the U.S., but this time he’s relied on the cable channel Wealth TV, which will be carrying the fight, to get the word out. If you’re like me, you actually have Wealth TV at home but weren’t aware of it until you checked. Everyone with Verizon FIOS can find it on channels 169 and 669. If you don’t have the channel, Wealth TV says you can purchase the fight for 99 cents and watch it on a live Web stream at www.wealthtv.com.
The Los Angeles Times, which doesn’t like boxing much anyway, has so far granted not one inch of space to the card, not even in a small-print list of events. It’s set for the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, another entity that, like the late, great Rodney Dangerfield, can’t get no respect — at least not since Staples Center opened its doors just up the freeway as home to the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, and the NHL’s now-locked-out Kings.
Although heavyweights get little coverage in the U.S. these days, the Klitschko brothers still manage to make millions per fight, thanks to the loyalty of European fans. Flyweights are loved in places like Mexico and Nicaragua, where it’s tough for any boxer to make a living. And Viloria’s home turf of Hawaii is hardly a boxing Mecca.
But both of these guys can hit. Viloria, 31-3 (18 KOs), has scored three stoppages in his last four outings. Southpaw Marquez, 34-2 (25 KOs), scored five stoppages in his last seven outings, although one was against Omar Martinez, who is now 2-5 (1KO) and has been stopped four times. Marquez fought the much bigger Nonito Donaire in July 2010 and won some rounds before he lost by TKO in round eight.
Dangerous Viloria has held the WBC and IBF light flyweights titles. He lost his IBF belt when he was stopped by Colombia’s Carlos Tamara in January 2010. Shortly after that he moved up four pounds to 112, and hasn’t lost since. He picked up the WBO flyweight belt last year when he beat Julio Cesar Miranda by unanimous decision.
If Marquez, 24, shows up in shape, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t, Viloria may find the pace more than he can handle. At 31, he’s an old man as a flyweight. Wealth TV is calling this “one of the most anticipated bouts of 2012.” That seems like a lot of anticipation for a fight that’s received such little attention, but ironically, it could conceivably end up as the best fight on any channel Saturday.
In the co-feature, also on TV, Roman “Chocolatio” Gonzalez 33-0, (28 KOs), of Nicaragua defends his WBA light flyweight title against Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico, 22-1 (18 KOs), who, like Gonzalez, carries thunder in his little fists.
Ivan G. Goldman’s critically acclaimed novel The Barfighter is set in the world of boxing. Information HERE
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