The "Global Supremacy" card turned out to be a pretty entertaining card, even if the main event was short-lived and one-sided. Nonito Donaire defended his 112 pound IBF title by beating down Raul Martinez, but Brian Viloria really stole the show with a huge knockout victory over long-time titlist Ulises Solis in a fight that had loads of back and forth action.
The first of the main events was Ulises Solis against Brian Viloria. Viloria has always been a fighter who I've felt like never lived up to his potential. He's always had a lot of talent, but he's always seemed to lack focus. He's been a really frustrating fighter to watch, who has seemed to lack heart, and would just fade late in fights and give up at the first sign of adversity. While he had the talent, he couldn't put it to good use, and just didn't seem to have the drive required to do what it takes to win.
Not anymore. In a spectacular bout, Viloria knocked out Solis in the waning seconds of the 11th round. Both fighters really gave all they could in the ring. Viloria was Solis early in the fight, landing the bigger shots, and wobbling Solis a few times, but every time he had Solis hurt, Solis would fall back into the ropes and Viloria would throw a wild combination that would mostly miss. He did manage to open cuts over both of Solis's eyes, including a gusher near his left eye, but Solis's corner did a great job of patching them up and they didn't become a major distraction. In the middle rounds, Solis came back to control much of the fight from the middle of the, being more aggressive and stalking down Viloria, throwing lots of good jabs and doing nice work to the body, but Viloria still having a lot of nice spots where he'd hit the mark with big counters. In the later rounds, Viloria's corner really admonished him not to let another title fight fall out of his grasp, and he turned the aggressiveness back up to 11. Every time Solis came in, Viloria came right back with twice what Solis dished out. And finally, with seconds to go in the 11th, Viloria landed a picture perfect right hand on the chin that wobbled Solis's knees and put him down. It didn't look like he was so hurt that he couldn't get up, but he just didn't have enough breath and energy left to get back up. He was on his knees, on the floor, helpless to get up until the referee hit 10, and Brian Viloria was a titlist once again.
It's a great start of a second act for Viloria, who said after the fight that he would have contemplated retiring had he lost the fight. He fought five times last year, and while he didn't face worldbeaters, it was the trip down the Yellow Brick Road that Viloria needed, and the Tin Man was able to find his heart. For Solis, it was a nice run, and he should be back. He's still a very good fighter, and he showed a ton of heart and grit. He makes great fights, and here's to hoping he can make it onto US TV more often in the future.
Nonito Donaire easily handled Raul Martinez in the main event. Before the fight even started, Martinez looked like a midget compared to Donaire. There was just a massive reach advantage for Donaire, and evidently a massive power advantage as well. For Martinez to even get a punch off on the much longer Donaire, he needed to jump in to punch him, and Donaire just replayed his KO shot against Vic Darchinyan over and over, tagging him with the left hook with impunity. He knocked down Martinez twice in the first round with that punch and once in the second round. Finally, in the fourth round, Donaire put Martinez out of his misery, knocking him way back and down with a big left uppercut. The ref stopped the fight before Martinez ever made it to the floor. It was a questionable stoppage, but the result of the fight was a foregone conclusion anyway. I would have been shocked to see Martinez survive the fifth as badly as he was being beaten up. Donaire will go on to bigger and better things, and I suspect that's the last we'll see of Martinez.
In other action, Denver Cuello knocked out Hiroshi Matsumoto in one of the stranger, dirtier fights I've seen in a while, but entertaining nontheless. Sonny Boy Jaro likely ended Eriberto Gejon's career as a contender with a big first round knockout in a mild upset. Since the first two fights were so short, we got some bonus action and had the chance to see undefeated prospect Drian Francisco, who had tons of flaws but good tools to work with, and who might be someone who can make noise internationally if he can get a good trainer and dedicate himself to improving.
By the way, the crowd was fantastic. Consider that it's a Sunday morning in an overwhelmingly Catholic country - the locals still got out of their jammies, skipped mass, and came out to the fight, making huge amounts of noise every time their guy landed a punch. It was the kind of crowd that could really help out a fighter, partly because they know that all they need to do to get the crowd into it is to be active, and partly because it provides a much clearer signal to the judges than just relying on their eyes, which is what they have to do for the opponent.