By Reni M. Valenzuela
Wow, the “Hawaiian Punch” couldn’t have done it better.
It was another version of Brian Viloria who stopped Giovani Segura in round eight in his first defense to retain the WBO flyweight title. That was a surprisingly impressive performance from the underdog Filipino champion. Viloria looked splendid in that “Island Assault” championship bout held yesterday at the Ynares Sports Center, Philippines. He did very satisfactorily in each round not because he has become remarkably better than his usual “cautious” fighting style as a technical boxer with sting in both hands, but because he was at his best as a brave fighter, dominating a high rated knock out punching Mexican opponent who is considered to be the best in his division. But it was a brave fight for both boxers.
Viloria was obviously well-conditioned physically which made him durable to withstand the power of Segura. The pressure was on Brian at the start of the fight, but his range and distance were correct. He knew how to swing his head and cover his body to avoid much of Segura’s attacks. Viloria was precise in his offense and counter punches and too smart for Segura’s game plan.
The Hawaiian Punch confidence soared from the start as if a greater Someone had been summoned to be by his side within the ring every second of each round. He knelt down and looked up before the initial bell rang. The gesture was real. And true enough – he was heard.
Third round was the turning point.
Repeated “hidden” left hooks were effectively thrown by the Hawaiian Punch which damaged the upper right part of Segura’s head in an unusual way. The strange swelling was too much and the danger to the challenger’s health was not something to be taken lightly. So I thought the fight wouldn’t be allowed to continue beyond round five.
Viloria rampaged in the latter rounds, but the corner of Segura seemed heartless for their man. They should have thrown in the towel earlier seeing that the condition of their fighter was not getting any better. I am sure majority of those who saw the fight felt some serious concern for the welfare of Segura due to his bizarre look and weakening condition. But thank goodness, American referee Samuel Viruet couldn’t bear the pitiful sight any longer and so he decided to save Segura’s life at the start of round eight by raising his hands to signal it’s all over.
And before another ugly blot could be inflicted upon boxing as an ailing sport.
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