Dan Rafael: Ivan Calderon

'Bomba' gets assist from Calderon

August, 2, 2013
Many young Puerto Rican fighters look up to former two-division champion Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon, who won titles at strawweight and junior flyweight and was one of the most dominant fighters in the smaller weight classes during his 2001 to 2012 career.

Calderon (35-3-1, 6 KOs) was a 2000 Puerto Rican Olympian, one of the best defensive fighters in recent history and is a likely Hall of Famer.

One of those young fighters who reveres Calderon is 22-year-old flyweight prospect Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez (13-0, 11 KOs), who is taking a big step up in competition when he faces former junior flyweight champ Giovani Segura (29-3-1, 25 KOs) on Aug. 17 in Carolina, Puerto Rico.

Now helping Gonzalez with his training camp? Calderon, who knows Segura well, since it was Segura who knocked him out in a blazing 2010 junior flyweight unification fight, and again in the less competitive 2011 rematch to hand him his first two defeats.

“I have been talking with Ivan a lot because he jogged on the same track where I worked,” Gonzalez said. “He has told me how to fight against Segura, and who [better] to say that to me than Ivan Calderon, who faced Segura two times.

“Ivan has advised me to be ready for the pressure Segura puts on in his fights, his punches to the stomach area and his long right hand.”

The two have shadowboxed together and sparred a few rounds with Calderon trying his best to simulate Segura’s pressure style to get Gonzalez to work on his counter punching.

“I told him that he has to have movement always because Segura likes to [apply] pressure,” Calderon said. “Bomba is in good shape and good condition as I can see during training. That is very important because Segura is a tough fighter.”

The card, which will be televised in Puerto Rico via DirecTV pay-per-view, also includes 2008 Dominican Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz (13-0, 7 KOs) in a welterweight fight and 2004 Cuban Olympic silver medalist Yudel Jhonson (14-1, 9 KOs), who defected and turned pro in 2009, in a junior middleweight bout. Both of their opponents are still to be determined.

In another bout, Puerto Rican featherweight Jonathan Oquendo (22-3, 15 KOs) will face Brian Ramirez (10-4, 5 KOs) of Los Angeles in an eight-rounder.

Giovani Segura's return set

February, 11, 2013
Former junior flyweight champ Giovani Segura is as crowd-pleasing as any fighter in the business. He's a punisher and a one-punch knockout artist who fights with one purpose: the physical destruction of his opponent.

His biggest wins came against Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon, an eighth-round knockout win in their classic 2010 unification fight (and also Calderon's first loss) and a third-round knockout in their 2011 rematch.

Segura eventually gave up his belts, took a fight at junior bantamweight -- a first-round knockout win -- in June 2011 and challenged Brian Viloria for his flyweight title in December 2011.
Viloria stopped Segura in the eighth round for one of his biggest wins. For Segura, it meant an extended exit from the stage, as he hasn't fought since.

But the 30-year-old Segura (28-2-1, 24 KOs), of Mexico, is finally set to return after a 14-month layoff. He will face countryman Omar Salado (23-5-2, 14 KOs), a former title challenger, in a scheduled 10-rounder on Feb. 23 in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Also on the card, Hermosillo's David Sanchez (21-2-1, 18 KOs) is due to face the Philippines' Marlon Tapales (21-1-0, 7 KOs).

Vazquez, Calderon both return

October, 4, 2012

Former junior featherweight titlist Wilfredo Vazquez was supposed to face former champ Rafael Marquez in his next fight, but Marquez again withdrew because of an injury.

Marquez withdrew from the fight when it was scheduled for Aug. 4 and from the rescheduled clash this weekend. But this time Vazquez isn’t waiting for him and the show will go on.

Vazquez (21-2-1, 18 KOs) will instead face Puerto Rican countryman Jonathan Oquendo (22-2, 15 KOs) in a scheduled 12-rounder on Saturday night (PPV, 9 ET, $49.99) at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Vazquez's hometown.

“You are facing for the first time a fighter like me, a fighter of my level,” Vazquez told Oquendo at this week’s final news conference. “Oquendo is not a fighter of Marquez’s level, but I’m going to fight him. My job is to train and facing the best fighters and I’m going to win this Saturday to go for another chance for the world title, and after that the 126-pound (featherweight) division.”
[+] EnlargeVazquez vs. Oquendo
Jose Perez/PR Best Boxing Promotions Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. of Puerto Rico will face countryman Jonathan Oquendo on a PPV card Saturday.

Vazquez has not fought since losing a decision in February for a vacant 122-pound title to pound-for-pound star Nonito Donaire.

Oquendo was originally ticketed to be on the undercard of Vazquez-Marquez, but moved into the main event when Marquez bailed.

“I’m in good shape and condition for this fight. I’m very focused for Vazquez Jr. I want to become a world champion. I’m hungry for this fight,” Oquendo said.

In the PPV co-feature, strawweight titlist Moises Fuentes (15-1, 7 KOs) of Mexico will make his second defense against former champ Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon (35-2-1, 6 KOs) of Puerto Rico. Calderon was 105-pound champ from 2003 to 2007 and regarded as one of the best fighters in the world. Although not a puncher at all, Calderon possessed ridiculous defense and rarely lost rounds. Then Calderon moved up and won the junior flyweight title in 2007 and held it until 2010, when he ran into the powerful fists of the much bigger and stronger Giovani Segura, who knocked him out in back-to-back fights.

Last October, Calderon, a likely Hall of Famer, returned from the second loss to Segura by dropping back to strawweight for a decision win against .500 fighter Felipe Rivas. One year later, Calderon, 37, is back looking to reclaim his old belt against Fuentes.

“Everyone says that I’m old, but look at (Sergio) ‘Maravilla’ Martinez against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.,” Calderon said of the Sept. 15 middleweight championship fight between the 37-year-old Martinez, who won, and 26-year-old Chavez. “I’m very (well) trained and ready to win this title again.”

Fuentes, apparently, respects his elders.

“I don’t underestimated Ivan Calderon because they say that he is old,” Fuentes, 27, said. “I can’t think he is old. He is a former champion and a legend, so I train hard for this fight (so I can) keep my title.”

By the way, Marquez (41-7, 37 KOs) has also found himself another fight. Zanfer Promotions announced this week that Marquez will face countryman and former junior bantamweight champ Cristian Mijares (46-6-2, 21 KOs) in a junior featherweight fight Oct. 27 in Mexico City with the flyweight co-feature pitting former junior flyweight titlist Edgar Sosa (46-7, 28 KOs) of Mexico against former flyweight titlist Sonny Boy Jaro (34-11-5, 24 KOs) of the Philippines.