THERE was every reason to believe deposed world flyweight boxing champion Brian Viloria deserved a rematch, but only if you based it on the split verdict submitted by the judges.
A totally different story—the real thing—however surfaced around Manila in the replay of the world championship, the day after it was contested in Macau.
As some of those at ringside tried to put it, all that Viloria needs to do is wait until his younger conqueror, Juan Francisco Estrada, has fought Milan Melindo, the Cebu-based toy bulldog who mangled a lowly Indonesian in one of the Macau undercards.
“I’ve been through that before,” Viloria explained with undiminished pride. “I suffered a bump, but I will be back.”
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If to a car, Viloria wanted to make it clear all he needed was minor repair.
No repainting, no makeover, not even an engine check.
But it was not a normal bump Viloria had suffered.
The welts, wounds, bandages over his badly beaten head spoke of a very ugly war where he was on the pitiful receiving end in the closing rounds.
Viloria, whether he likes it or not, came tumbling down over the hump in fragments.
* * *
Viloria did try to drop a funny line in the postfight, saying sorry if he now appeared completely different from the proud, luminous hero who entered the ring earlier in the evening.
Of course, it was never funny for adoring fans who themselves felt all the terrible thuds to Viloria’s innards all the way from Macau to the Mandaluyong wet market, and everywhere else in the country where Viloria had started to be revered.
He fell from the top of the hill at the supposed height of his brilliance and competence.
Viloria may not have realized it, but his humbling loss to a young Mexican also carried with it the kind of national heartache felt hereabouts when Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez crushed and humbled Manny Pacquiao.
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In Pacquiao’s case though, it was easy to believe his ability to spring back and seek vengeance against his Mexican nemesis.
How and why? The Pacman, still full of fight, suffered a mere bump and, in fact, had appeared headed for a sensational stoppage when he got tagged by a masterful, clinical cleaver to the chin at the close of the sixth round in Las Vegas last year.
It was totally different in Viloria’s case.
All through the shallow, senseless swinging, Viloria was totally incoherent.
If to a debate, he was trying to speak only for the sake of speaking.
He was not only being outboxed and outfought.
He appeared so wasted, helpless he seemed to have aged horribly overnight.
* * *
Viloria was so lost, senseless that he also succeeded in making the Mexican, of level skill and competence, to loom supremely masterful.
There were points when Viloria was visibly being given boxing basics by the 22-year-old Estrada, who checked in for the Macau title bout straight from a loss.
If to a car, therefore, an overhaul or even an engine change may not help.
It definitely was the same old pitfall Viloria will have to wriggle out of this time around.
This now could be the quicksand of Time from where even the greatest among them had failed to return.