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Donaire vs. Martinez, Solis vs. Viloria on Sunday

Brian Viloria Nonito Donaire Raul MartinezBy Manuel Perez: Former WBC light flyweight champion Brian Viloria (24-2, 14 KOs) has a tough task ahead of him this Sunday in challenging IBF light flyweight champion Ulises Solis (28-1-2, 20 KOs) at the
Araneta Coliseum, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Solis, 27, will be making his 9th defense of his IBF title against the 28-year-old Viloria, known as the “Hawaiian Punch” for his knockout power. Also on the card, IBF flyweight champion Nonito Donaire (20-1, 13 KOs) will be making his 3rd defense of his title against unbeaten Mexican Raul Martinez (24-0, 14 KOs).

In both cases, the challengers Martinez and Viloria are facing a monumental task in trying to defeat the champions Donaire and Solis.

Viloria, 28, is coming off a 2nd round knockout over Benjamin Garcia in December. In that fight, Viloria hurt Garcia with a left in the 2nd round, and then unloaded with a storm of shots that caused the stoppage. Viloria has faced only limited since being beaten by Edgar Sosa by a 12-round majority decision in a failed attempt to capture the vacant WBC light flyweight title in April 2007.

However, even before that, Viloria was experiencing problems, first losing his WBC light flyweight title to Omar Nino Romero in a 12-round unanimous decision loss in August 2006. Following that, Viloria fought to a 12-round no-contest with Romero in a rematch in November 2006.

The losses and no contest for Viloria seems to highlight a huge drop off in hand speed that I’ve noticed with him in the past three years which has effected his performances. At one time, Viloria had some of the quickest hands in boxing, but suddenly three years ago he started losing his speed and became dramatically slower than before.

Viloria is going to be in way over his head in this fight, because Solis, 27, has been nearly invincible in defending his IBF light flyweight title through eight defenses.

Donaire, 26, has done little since stopping Vic Darchinyan with a huge left hook in the 5th round two years ago in July 2007. The fight was thought to be just the beginning for bigger things for Donaire, but unfortunately since that fight, Donaire has defended his IBF flyweight title twice, stopping Luis Maldonado and Moruti Mthalane.

Getting the wins were great, no doubt about it, but neither of those opponents were the big names that Donaire wanted in order to get a huge payday. Darchinyan has moved up in weight and it looks now like he’ll never fight a rematch with Donaire, even though Darchinyan himself says that he’s ready to fight him at any time.

Donaire had a scheduled bout with WBO super flyweight champion Fernando Montiel. However, that bout didn’t materialize, leaving Donaire with nothing to show for it.

Martinez, 27, doesn’t have much power to speak of, but he does have good hand speed as he showed in his last fight, a 1st round stoppage over Victor Proa in November 2008. Martinez cornered Proa early in the first round, and then showed how dangerous he can be by unloading on him with a storm of punches that caused the referee to step in and halt the fight with Proa sagging on the ropes.

In other recent bouts against Alex Baba, Isidro Garcia and Bendamin Garcia, Martinez has looked much less impressive. He tends to get hit a lot due to his poor defense and I had him losing the fight to journeyman Baba by a close 8-round decision in January 2008. Martinez ended up getting the win, but he got hit a ton in that fight, and looked as if he had been in a war by the end of the bout.

Donaire’s much better power will be the telling factor in this fight. Martinez will have to mix it up with him if he wants to have a chance at beating Donaire, and when that happens, I see Donaire hurting him with a left hook and taking him out at some point. Martinez isn’t helped by the fact that he’s faced very soft opposition in his career.

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