Ring of Fire: Zbikowski Calls Out Ochocinco, Segura-Calderon II, Stieglitz-Sartison

Zbikowski Calls Out Ochocinco for Charity

Baltimore Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski has challenged Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco to a four-round charity boxing match in May. Zbikowski is fighting on the pay-per-view undercard of the Cotto-Mayorga event on Saturday night, replacing the injured Christy Martin's bout on the broadcast, his first pro fight since 2006, before his NFL career began in the 2008 season. The two have faced off a few times on the gridiron, of course, with the Ravens and Bengals being divisional rivals in the AFC North.

It's also worth noting that Zbikowski (5'11", 200) has an actual amateur boxing background, going 75-15 in the unpaid ranks, while Ochocinco (6'1", 192) has the background of a guy who has done some boxing training as part of his offseason program. There's a slight difference in their experience levels.

Ochocinco, of course, is a celebrity athlete who has made a spectacle of himself on numerous occasions, including a crappy reality TV show with teammate Terrell Owens. He's well-known for being outspoken and seeking attention, and that has led him to also talk big about a possible fight with UFC star Anderson Silva. Ochocinco isn't going to fight Anderson Silva, and he isn't going to fight Zbikowski, either. Silva is a legitimate legend in his field. Zbikowski is a guy with some actual credentials. Ochocinco is just Ochicinco, as usual, and you can't expect someone with his ego to risk getting pummeled by a non-star football rival like Zbikowski, or get embarrassed by Silva, unless the money was off the charts. Even with the real possibility of an NFL lockout, he could probably find a less ego-crushing way to make money than those are likely to turn out to be in the end.

Segura-Calderon II Set for Mexicali

BoxingScene.com reports that the April 2 rematch between junior flyweight champion Giovani Segura and former champ Ivan Calderon will take place in Mexicali, Mexico, giving Segura home field advantage after defeating Calderon on the road in Puerto Rico last August.

The first fight between Segura (26-1-1, 22 KO) and Calderon (34-1-1, 6 KO) was tremendous, as the slicker but aging "Iron Boy" made the odd decision to try and mix it up with the thunderous-punching Segura, who is pound-for-pound probably one of the very most powerful punchers in the sport today. At 36, Calderon is old for boxing no matter the division, but positively ancient for a guy fighting at 108 pounds. Fact is, he's small even for the division, checking in at 5'0" on the button, giving Segura a four-inch height advantage. Outside of ring IQ and pure boxing ability, Calderon has no advantages. Often in his career, that has been more than enough, but we're now years past the time when Calderon was the slickest practitioner of the sweet science in the world, including Floyd Mayweather Jr. and anyone else in the discussion. He's had trouble with big punchers since moving from 105 to 108, narrowly keeping his undefeated record against both Hugo Cazares and Rodel Mayol on two occasions apiece, and finally losing his "0" against Segura last year. Since that fight, Segura has had one bout, an interim fight around the flyweight limit against the always-exciting Manuel "Chango" Vargas, scoring a corner stoppage victory after seven one-sided rounds. Calderon has sat on the sidelines, healing up, and waiting for a rematch.

It could very well be the final fight of a quietly legendary career for the diminutive Puerto Rican slickster. Age has taken its toll on his reflexes and his quickness, forcing him to fight a bit more recklessly because he simply can't do all the things he used to make look so very easy. Segura's power should make him a pretty big favorite. He's already proven once that he's got more than enough strength to stop Calderon, and unless "Iron Boy" found the fountain of youth, I don't see a different outcome, even if he fights smarter. Eventually, Segura will find him.

Robert Stieglitz to Face Dimitri Sartison on April 9

Alphabet soup rulers Robert Stieglitz and Dimitri Sartison will face off on April 9 in Germany, unifying two of the 168-pound trinkets in a far better-than-average fight that is unlikely to get much attention Stateside, but could have some impact on what happens in the division over here.

Stieglitz (39-2, 23 KO) has won eight in a row since a 2008 stoppage loss at the heavy hands of Librado Andrade on HBO, including victories over Enrique Ornelas and the previously unbeaten Karoly Balzsay and Eduard Gutknecht. Sartison (27-1, 17 KO) is a Kazakh fighter based in Germany now, who is best-known for a 2008 knockout loss to Mikkel Kessler. Since that fight, he's gone 5-0, with his best wins coming over Stjepan Bozic and Khoren Gevor.

Both are roughly on the same level, and are part of the second tier of super middleweights. The most notable thing about the fight, as far as potential impact beyond the German rings, is that the winner could put himself in line for a bigger money fight against Lucian Bute later on this year. Bute has a fight with Brian Magee on March 19, which was first offered to Stieglitz, who turned down the offer. It's not likely, but Bute and Showtime are going to have to do something, and facing one of the Super Six semifinal losers just might not cut it, plus it's no guarantee that either of the semifinal round losers would want to jump into yet another extremely difficult matchup after having faced nothing but good fighters in the tournament. Magee is already cutting it pretty close to the edge of relevant as far as a Showtime main event goes.

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