The scheduled March 2 purse bid in Puerto Rico for a fight between junior flyweight world champion Ivan Calderon and Johnriel Casimero has been called off, as promoters for the two fighters have reached an agreement. The fight is expected to come in late May in Puerto Rico.
Calderon (33-0-1, 6 KO) has been on pound-for-pound lists for a long time, as he dominated at 105 pounds and has had tremendous success at 108, too, moving up in 2007. Since then he's beaten Hugo Cazares (twice), Rodel Mayol (twice), Nelson Dieppa, and Juan Esquer. His run at 108 has definitely been rockier than the goings at 105, as Cazares gave him serious trouble, as did Mayol. Both fights with Mayol were stopped early on cuts, and one was scored a draw after six rounds. Calderon won the rematch by split decision after seven rounds.
Casimero (14-0, 8 KO) is in this position because of his upset win over Cesar Canchila (TKO-11) in December, which put the interim WBO title around his waist. The 20-year-old has a chance to strike a very serious blow in the building rivalry between Puerto Rican and Filipino fighters. Beating Calderon would be massive not just for his career, but would change the landscape of the division and signal a new era of sorts.
Experience is going to be a factor, as you might guess. Canchila's really the only warm body Casimero's ever fought, but the youngster beat the daylights out of the Colombian when they met in Nicaragua. Canchila went down in the third, sixth, ninth and eleventh rounds of that fight. And he might be catching the aging Calderon at just the right time.
You have to have even more respect for Calderon for taking this fight, though. All signs point to him declining fairly obviously, and Casimero gets to come into this fight with really nothing to lose. Calderon is the recognized world champion and an all-time great in the lowest weight classes, still one of the slickest boxers out there, and for the weight, about as big a name as there is. Casimero is sort of getting a chance like Kevin Johnson got against Vitali Klitschko. Let's hope he doesn't come to lay on the ropes and mug for the cameras.