Calderon sees light at end of the tunnel

June, 11, 2010
6/11/10
9:36
AM ET
Other than the hiccup he experienced last year during his Madison Square Garden debut as a professional, things have gone according to plan for WBO junior flyweight champion Ivan Calderon.

When Calderon steps into the ring Saturday to defend his title against Jesus Iribe, it will be more than business as usual.

At 35, Calderon (33-0-1, 6 KOs) is working toward putting the final touches on his marvelous career. With 34 professional bouts under his belt, Calderon doesn't want to be a prizefighter much longer.

He is preparing for life after boxing.

Retiring from boxing is something Calderon has been planning for quite some time. He has stashed a substantial amount of money in banks, bought several homes in his native Puerto Rico and owns a barbershop.

"I'm 35 years old," Calderon said. "This is my year to make money and think about what to do with my money. Next year, I'm thinking about going up to 112 pounds and winning my third title and then say, 'No more.'

"I plan to win the title at 112, make one defense, then retire. I want to be out of boxing in one or two more years."

Reaching this goal might prove tough for Calderon. He is neither a devastating puncher nor a large junior flyweight.

Calderon's diminutive physical stature and lack of punching power has New York Daily News Golden Gloves director Brian Adams questioning the champion's move to 112 pounds. Adams has known Calderon since the fighter was an amateur competing in New York City.

"My advice to him, as a friend, would be to stay where you're at," Adams said. "At 112, the guys are a little bigger and rangier.

"He would have to be more offensive at 112. The bigger guys won't have to chase him. All they have to do is use the jab to find him."

Calderon will listen to his advisers before making a move to flyweight. For now, his focus is on Iribe (17-6-4, 10 KOs).

While Calderon doesn't expect much difficulty disposing of Iribe, simply winning the fight won't put a smile on his face. He wants this performance to be memorable.

In his previous appearance at the Garden on June 13, 2009, Calderon exited the ring for the first time as a pro without a victory. He suffered a nasty head cut, the result of a headbutt, and had to settle for a draw with Rodel Mayol.

Calderon, who grew up in the Bronx, wanted to impress his New York-based fans that evening and failed to do so. He envisions Saturday's fight as a second opportunity to show off his skills, a day before the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.

"My goal is to put on a better performance than the last time, to do what I know how to do," Calderon said. "I will box, not get hit and try not to get cut this time.

"I want to give the people a lot of action. If I can knock him down, I will. If not, I will do what I know how to do: hit and not get hit. I need to put on a good performance in the ring."video
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