What was he thinking? Ivan Calderon, the master craftsman of the lower divisions, picked the wrong guy to trade punches with Saturday night, as he opted to go toe-to-toe with the master blaster of the lower divisions, Giovanni Segura, and came up on the bad end when Segura stopped him in eight rounds to claim the junior flyweight lineal championship belt.
This isn’t one of those situations where one guy “won” it more than the other. Calderon clearly decided he wanted to stand his ground, and because his fists ain’t got nothing in ’em, he lost to the guy who had something in his. He had a massive 24 foot by 24 foot ring, and he said to himself, “Screw it, I’ma try to swap blows with this dude who got 20 wins in 24 knockouts, even though I got six in my 34, and none since 2006.” It made for a good, even an excellent, fight. But Calderon, a pound-for-pound contender, essentially gave his first loss to Segura, who appeared winded before ending Calderon’s night with Calderon on his knee, refusing or unable to rise.
Listen, I’m not trying to diminish Segura’s win. He got a legit win over a legit future Hall of Famer. But, from what I understand from friend of the site nazarioz, he’s been saying in the Puerto Rican media that he was going to prove his critics wrong by not being boring. And, you know, it about half-worked. There were rounds were, goddam, Calderon looked like he might have had Segura wobbled. I never would’ve imagined that might have occurred. But, with his back against the ropes, Calderon threw with all his might, and he landed heavily.
In the 1st, it was a close round, pitting Calderon’s more flush punches against Segura’s more prolific. I gave it to Segura, but it would be another four before I gave him another. Segura was landing in the 1st, but he didn’t land anything real. And until the 5th, he still didn’t land anything real. Even what was connecting was connecting by virtue of it doing so after being blocked by Calderon’s gloves, or with Calderon rolling with it. Meanwhile, Calderon’s shots were full-on, albeit less powerful.
In the 5th is when Calderon got loco. He allowed himself to be trapped in the corner or against the ropes repeatedly. And, really, he did the same in the 6th. It’s arguable whether he lost those two rounds. He was displaying his usual defensive brilliance, and he was winning a fair number of the exchanges. But he sure was fighting Segura’s fight. Segura wasn’t going to catch up to Calderon doing his circling and countering “ole” thing. He looked tired and frustrated early, and was slowing very quickly. But you give a guy a chance to hang around and do his thing, and he might do it.
Calderon did his thing in the 7th, and for a bit, I thought he’d said to himself, “OK, I proved that I can stand and trade if I need to, and now it’s back to the Calderon stylings that have led me to a seriously lengthy stretch of wins.” Nope. In the 8th, Calderon was back to swapping. Segura again trapped Calderon in a corner, where Calderon showed zero interest in getting out of the bind, and I guess it was a number of body shots that put Calderon down. Oddly, Calderon didn’t get back up. It remains unclear what punch did it to him, because no punch in particular stood out as the final shot, although a body shot likely was the culprit. Whatever it was, Calderon looked directly at the referee and took a count of 10.
Calderon blew it, but I suppose he proved he could be exciting, if nothing else. Segura did his job. He needed to keep punching, effective or not, conventional or not, less-than-Toughman-contest-or-not, hoping that at some point it would finish Calderon’s night. Job done. He’s now the Man at 108 pounds. But he’s lucky Calderon didn’t do what he usually does, because otherwise Calderon would have won at least two of the last four rounds and still been the Man.