Julio Cesar Miranda / July 5: Rest and relaxation may have been on many people’s post Fourth of July agenda, but Waipahu’s own Brian Viloria was up at 4:30 in the morning ready to partake in a 7-mile jog. Following a workout and spar session, in preparation for his title fight against WBO Flyweight Champion, Julio Cesar Miranda, the “Hawaiian Punch” spoke with the Weekly from Los Angeles about why he doesn’t talk trash before a fight, what it’s like to play the underdog role and what it will take for the two-time world champion to get title number three.
So, you started boxing at the age of five and went on to win your first 80 fights. That must be some kind of record or something. I’m guessing that first defeat stood out a little more. As far as in-ring learning experiences go, what did you take away from all of your early successes and your first loss?
It humbled me and taught me an important lesson: No matter how good you think you are, there is always someone out there that may be better than you. Sometimes you can’t help but accept that. But what you can do to level the playing field, or even overtake the opposition, is how much work you put into the training. How determined you are to achieve your goal, and how much you are willing to sacrifice to reach it. It wasn’t an easy lesson to swallow but I’m glad I learned it at a very young age.
Miranda is the champ and the favorite. In your preparation for this fight, have you relished the underdog role?
I try to take everything in stride, not let who should win or who is the better man distract me from what I set myself out for. I work hard. I train hard. I love doing what I do. Be it the favorite or the underdog in a fight, at the end of the night, it all comes down to enjoying my profession.
Trash talking in boxing is what it is, but when Miranda came out and said “I’m excited to fight in Hawaii, and after I knock Brian out, I’m going straight to Waikiki for a cold cerveza.” Were you offended? Even just a little?
Honestly, it made me giggle, being in this profession for so long, I’ve heard it all and seen it all. There are fighters who talk a lot of shit. If that’s their thing, then that’s their thing. It’s part of the business. I, on the other hand, would rather let my fist do all the talking. It’s the quiet ones that scare the hell out of me. Seriously.
It’s not your style, but why not send a little trash talk his way just for the heck of it?
Nah, I’ll just let the action speak for itself. Besides, poco poquito mi español.
Shifting gears away from boxing a bit to the Lakers and the NBA, something you are also very passionate about, what’s your early Laker forecast for the 2012 season, lockout permitting?
[The] 2011-2012 season will have a different feel, but an interesting one. Gone is the Phil Jackson era and taking its place is Mike Brown and his defensive prowess. Basketball fans saw the complacency the Lakers fell into during the post-season. Some would argue the three final appearances bled the two-time champions dry, and that the lackluster performance was the result of it. Others say that the rest of the league just got better and hungrier. Whatever the case, confetti did not fall this past season and there was no parade in Los Angeles. If the Lakers keep the core intact, there should be no reason the Lakers couldn’t win another championship, right? I mean, they didn’t win back-to-back chips for no reason. However the Lakers aren’t getting any younger and [they need] some patching up. But if the backcourt got some youth and athleticism, if Kobe’s knee surgery worked wonders, if Artest–Mr. World Peace–keeps his sanity in check, if Pau finds his mojo again, if Bynum stays healthy, and Odom keeps playing the way he did last season, then yes. There will be another parade for LA and awesomely wacky interviews from the basketball player formerly known as Artest.
I’ve got six words for you, “Brian Viloria, three time world champion.” What’s it going to take to make that statement a reality?
Letting my fists fly like there’s no tomorrow.