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|Giovani Segura won't change his approach -- full speed ahead -- in Saturday's Ivan Calderon rematch.|
When Mexico's Giovani Segura and Puerto Rico's Ivan Calderon met in the ring to unify their 108-pound titles last year in Calderon's home country, all signs pointed toward business as usual for the local favorite. The stage was set for another masterful performance by a pure boxer against a hard-charging brawler. Instead, Segura (26-1-1, 22 KOs) shook up the junior flyweight division with an eighth-round upset of Calderon (34-1-1, 6 KOs). With the rematch of that exciting fight set to take place Saturday in Mexicali, Mexico, we caught up with Segura during the last stretch of his training camp to ask his thoughts on the matchup.
What can you tell us about your training for this fight? We trained here in Los Angeles, with the same routine we did last time. We trained in the mountains, then we came down to the beach; we did our sprints, our sparring sessions all the same as we did for the other fight. Everything went perfect, and I am well within the weight. I sparred with a few Japanese guys. One of them is Takashi Okada, who recently defeated an undefeated Olympian from Puerto Rico [McWilliams Arroyo].
You are one of the rare fighters who drops weight and enjoys success in a new division right away. How did that come about?
Compared with my last fight, I feel great. We did only a few amateur fights. We started fighting when I was 20, and I had no idea about this whole deal with the weight. When I was an amateur, I fought at 120, 118 pounds -- I even gave away up to 10 pounds in the ring sometimes. But in spite of this, I kept winning and knocking people out. But as time went by, I started learning about the weights and I started to go down in weight, and we realized that we could drop as low as 108 pounds.
How do you feel at 108 pounds right now? Are you planning to move up in weight soon?
It's already quite difficult for me to make 108. Even for this fight, I was planning on doing it at 112. But we were unable to reach an agreement and we ended up signing at 108. Calderon is a small fighter and has a very low height for 112, and it wasn't right for him. At the last minute, we decided that this was going to be our last fight at 108, unless there is a good purse -- good enough for us to make this sacrifice once more.
In which division do you see yourself maximizing your potential?
I believe there are great opponents at 112. There's the Kameda brothers [Koki, Daiki and Tomoki] and a few other Japanese guys; there's that Thai guy [Pongsaklek Wonjongkam], who is the champ at 112. There are a few of them, right? There's also [Julio Cesar] "Pingo" Miranda and Luis Concepcion. There are several good names. It's only a matter of getting the opportunity, and after I win this fight we will look for another title at 112.
Besides Calderon, who is the opponent who would give you the most trouble or the biggest possible fight?
Well, there's Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez; he is a fighter that everyone mentions. But we have to wait and see what I can do. At 108, I already did my job and I have defeated all the guys they've lined up in front of me. All I want to do now is go out and look for the biggest purses. If Roman brings a good purse, we will fight him. If not, we will look for another title and bigger purses. Fighting Roman for peanuts doesn't make any sense. I believe that every fighter looks for the same thing: good purses in order to secure our future.
What kind of adjustments do you expect Calderon to make for this fight?
I really don't know. The truth is that I let my opponents do their job and I do mine. I don't know what he could bring to the table. Maybe he'll move a little more; I don't know. We focus on our job, we do a tough job and we get in good condition, and we are ready for whatever comes, we are ready for what he brings. I can't say that I will fight one way and he will fight in another way. I believe our styles are well-defined. He is a boxer, and I am a puncher, and there's not a lot of science to it. We all know his style and my style, and I don't believe this will change a lot from one fight to the next.
Did you show us everything in the first fight, or did you save something for this fight?
I believe I'm the same guy you saw before. There's no difference. I am the Giovani Segura who goes straight ahead looking for his opponents, and that's who I am.
Do you believe your work to the body will be the key again in this fight?
Yes. I do a good job going to the body, not only with him but also with my other opponents. I believe I have to do a more complete job mixing it up upstairs and downstairs -- up, down or wherever my punches will fall. My job is to put my punches together. I know I hit hard, and it's a matter of working with that and looking for opportunities and then taking them with intelligence and patience, all in the right time and without wasting any punches.
Fighting on Calderon's turf didn't seem to bother you the first time around. Do you think he'll feel the pressure of being the visiting fighter this time, after years of fighting before his fans in Puerto Rico and New York?
I don't know. Only he would know. He is used to taking on his opponents in his homeland of Puerto Rico. I don't know how this will affect him emotionally. Only he would know. I don't get intimidated by anything. I grew up in a tough neighborhood, in a cold environment, and because of this I don't get intimidated by any fighter or any adverse audiences or anything like that. On the contrary, I find boxing to be a lot of fun and I enjoy it. Psychologically, I don't get bothered very easily but I don't know how Calderon will react. I hope it doesn't bother him and it's not a factor, so we don't have to hear any excuses this time.
How do you envision the fight in your mind, round-by-round?
I have no idea what Calderon will bring this time but I have to go and fight my own fight and go get him, wait for the precise moment to connect with him, without wasting any punches. I believe it's going to be similar to the previous fight. I'm not too confident that I will knock him out quickly or even later in the fight. I don't really know how that will play out. I will simply go after him and see in what round I can connect with my best punches.
Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.