This is a fight preview I haven't really been looking forward to putting together. It's not because I don't like this fight. I do. It's a fight that should be happening, a rematch of a 2010 Fight of the Year contender that saw future Hall of Famer Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon lose for the first time as a professional to Giovani Segura.
But to a lot of us who have watched Calderon, the downfall was expected. Our preview last August called for a stoppage win for the powerful Segura, and that's what wound up happening, though not quite how I expected. Instead of building up a lead but eventually crumbling under the power of his opponent, and in no small part due to his own age and diminished skills, Calderon tried to war with Segura and was knocked out in the eighth round.
On Saturday, the legit world junior flyweight championship is on the line once more.
Calderon isn't the fighter he was in his prime. He's 36 years old now, and he has slowed down. The idea is for Calderon to box more like he used to. If the question is indeed whether or not he can even do that, I offer a potential counter question. Even if he can't, can he still do it well enough to beat Segura?
Segura is a good fighter. He's rugged, he's strong, he's arguably the best puncher below 118 pounds, and he will come into this fight with supreme confidence. Calderon has had dicey situations with lesser fighters (Rodel Mayol) in recent outings. He has a cut situation that comes up too often for comfort now. He's slower. His reflexes have gone some. And he doesn't move like he used to.
But again, can he still do all of that well enough to outpoint Segura? Yes, he can. What he has to do is completely avoid a firefighter. Last time he was too much of a cowboy and paid the price. Now that he's tasted defeat, there is the chance that he is a bit more relaxed in the ring, no longer protecting the unbeaten legacy. For those who have paid attention to his career, his place in history is set in stone. Anything positive he does from this point on is gravy, and any fight he loses is a result in large part due to the battle against Father Time, which eventually every fighter loses.
But I get the feeling that we're going to see some gravy on Saturday night. Caldeorn is fighting on the road in Mexico, but I don't expect that to hamper his performance. He's made clear that he doesn't care if the Mexican fans like his style or not, or if they boo the fight. He's there to box his game and win. It's an absolute necessity that he avoid the power of Segura -- that might go without saying, but in all candor it's the only thing Segura has on Calderon, and if Calderon can manage to take that away from him, what's he going to do? Become a better boxer all of a sudden?
I have no rooting interest here. Segura is an exciting, fun-to-watch fighter, and Calderon is a living legend whose career I hope will be as revered over time as it deserves. I rarely call for an old man who isn't Roy Jones Jr. to turn back the clock in any given fight, especially a rematch considering that statistically speaking, the winner of fight number one almost always wins fight number two. But not always. Calderon UD-12
As for the undercard, I'll go with Joksan Hernandez over Ricardo Castillo, and Jorge Lacierva to get past Fernando Beltran Jr. in the two featherweight fights. I know little about Ramon Maas, but the on-paper records tell me that there's a chance that's more of a fight than it might appear to be from the marketing.