By Gary Purfield
This Saturday in Manila, Philippines two hard-nosed, tough fighters will square off in what should be an exciting action packed fight for however long it lasts. One fighter has a world title belt and the challenger is moving up a division after previously being the lineal title holder in his previous division. Both men even have interesting back stories that would play well in your typical TV feature piece before big fights.
So, obviously, this fight is going to be televised on Showtime or HBO. Neither network had any interest. Well at least ESPN or another cable network would go after it. Not even a sniff from anyone. In fact, the WBO Flyweight title bout between champion, Brian Viloria 29-3 (16 KO) and challenger Giovani Segura 28-1-1 (24 KO) was just recently picked up by Integrated Sports PPV. While this at least provides the hardcore boxing heads in America a chance to see the fight, they will have shell out $29.95 to watch the action. Considering boxing fans have shelled out for two $50 plus PPV cards recently, those on a budget may not have the option.
Considering the elements of this fight, one simple reason exists as to why this fight is being ignored. The participants are 112 lb. flyweights, otherwise known as little guys. This could end up being a fight of the year candidate. Segura’s berserker style, two-fisted attack is pure action. He has simply never been in a bad fight. Viloria is also no stranger to mixing it up.
As stated above, both fighters bring good stories to go with their fighting style. Viloria, who is Filipino but born and raised in Hawaii, is known as the “Hawaiian Punch” and is known as a decent, respected man outside the ring. He had an excellent amateur career, defeating Nonito Donaire on the way to making the 2000 Olympic team in Sydney. As a pro, Viloria is a two-time title holder at light flyweight and reigning WBO flyweight title holder.
He has junior flyweight title wins over Ulises Solis and Eric Ortiz and most recently won a flyweight title by defeating Julio Cesar Miranda. All three losses were in title bouts and came against respected opposition including Omar Nino Romero and Carlos Tamara. Viloria has fought in the Continental States, his native Hawaii, and the Philippines, where he fights again this weekend.
Segura is just simply likeable and great to watch. He comes off in interviews as an easy going, fun loving guy appreciative of what he is getting to do for a living. He started boxing as a teenager, much later than some, but what he did not get in fundamentals he makes up for in sheer tenacity and power. El Guerrero Azteca (the Aztec Warrior) lives up to his nickname during his ring entrances, garbed in Aztec gear and helmet and lives up to the lofty nickname in the ring by being a true warrior. He is simply must see TV that not enough people will get to see.
Segura’s only loss was to Cesar Canchila by decision but he avenged that defeat several months later with a fourth round knockout to win his first world title. After several defenses, he went on the road to Puerto Rico to take on longtime light flyweight division kingpin and undefeated boxing master Ivan Calderon in a unification match. Segura used his size, pressure, and tenacity to walk down his smaller more skilled foe to earn the biggest win of his career with an eighth round knockout. Segura then finished things faster in the rematch, stopping Calderon in three.
While the casual fans will always prefer the heavyweights, middleweights, and welterweights, the lower weight divisions often provide the best “fights” and bang for your buck. They throw tons of punches and most know they better be entertaining to attract a crowd. The fight should have a good live audience in Manila supporting Viloria which will not deter Segura one bit considering the Mexican-American walked into Puerto Rico to dethrone Ivan Calderon last year. It is probably also being offered on TV in other nations where the smaller fighters are appreciated.
But, for whatever reason, it is not appreciated enough in America. This is a shame because Segura especially has everything to become a fan favorite if he got the exposure. He fights hard, scores exciting knockouts, and has a likeable, almost comical, personality. Viloria should also be appreciated considering he fights for his country and represented the United States in the Olympics. But unfortunately, Segura and Viloria will not get the exposure they deserve unless a whole lot of people suddenly find $29.95 they can part with.
- I watched the first Calderon-Segura fight (for $29.95 as well ) at a friend’s house, he happened to have four guys over that night for a fantasy football draft. Of the five people other than myself , only one was a boxing fan and they all made faces when we began watching two little 108lb guys get into the ring. By the second round they were hooked on the fight. By the end they had become fans of Segura and applauded Calderon’s effort. The little guys can attract viewers if given a chance.
- I am traveling to DC this Saturday to cover Khan-Peterson (as much as I want to see Segura-Viloria, I will always take live action) but if I was sitting at home I would not blink about paying up $29.95 to check this out. It should be a heck of a fight for however long it lasts.
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