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Fuentes-Calderon/Porpramook-Hernandez: Report Card

by Cliff Rold

While the clock ticks and October 13 gets closer, Rios-Alvarado and Nishioka-Donaire get closer, fight fans of the ardent persuasion need not feel impatient.  Off the beaten path, significant battles at 105 and 108 lbs. are set to take place.  In the former division, arguably the second best fighter in the history of the Strawweight class attempts of find the last flicker of his youth.  In the latter, a rematch of one of 2011’s best fights offers the promise of further fireworks and the hint of vengeance.

Ivan Calderon, now 37, has Mexico’s Moises Fuentes at home in Puerto Rico.  Mexican Adrian Hernandez, deposed by knockout in Thailand last year by Kompayak Porpramook, gets the rematch at home.  Are both road warriors really in the driver’s seat?     

Let’s go to the report cards.

The Ledgers

Moises Fuentes 

Age: 27

Title: WBO Minimumweight (2011-Present, 1 Defense)
Previous Titles: None
Height: 5’7 ½  

Weight: 104.8 lbs.

Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 106.75 lbs.

Hails from: Mexico City, Mexico
Record: 15-1, 7 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #4 at Strawweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 2-0, 1 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 1 (Raul Garcia)


Vs.

Ivan Calderon
Age:
37
Title: None
Previous Titles: WBO Minimumweight (2003-07, 11 Defenses); Lineal/Ring/WBO Light Flyweight (2007-2010, 6 Defenses)
Height: 5’0
Weight: 104.8 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 106.6 lbs.
Hails from: Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Record: 35-2-1, 6 KO, 2 KOBY
BoxingScene Rank: #7 at Strawweight
Record in Title Fights: 18-2-1, 2 KO, 2 KOBY
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 9 (Eduardo Ray Marquez, Alex Sanchez, Edgar Cardenas, Roberto Leyva, Daniel Reyes, Issac Bustos, Hugo Cazares, Nelson Dieppa, Rodel Mayol)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Giovanni Segura)

Pre-Fight: Speed – Fuentes C+; Calderon B
Pre-Fight: Power – Fuentes B; Calderon C-
Pre-Fight: Defense – Fuentes C; Calderon B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Fuentes B+; Calderon B+

On paper, one can understand why Calderon would target Fuentes.  Calderon’s longtime affiliation with the WBO is one factor.  There is also that, prior to the shocking upset of Nkosinathi Joyi but Mario Rodriguez a few weeks back, Fuentes appeared the most vulnerable titlist in the division.  Fuentes is tough, determined, but technically limited and fairly slow.  For a Calderon who was once an easy “A” in terms of speed a defense, a Calderon whose reflexes have notably dulled, he needs someone he can see coming.

Is that enough to win?  One thing Fuentes brings to bear is size.  He’s huge for a 105 lb. fighter and will tower over Calderon in the ring.  While Fuentes struggled to make weight on Friday, he has plenty of time to rehydrate.  In exchanging knockdowns with Garcia in his title win, he showed grit and the willingness to exchange.

Calderon proved his heart in the first bouts with Hugo Cazares and Giovanni Segura.  In the rematch with the latter, he also showed a give point.  He can be broken down and doesn’t have the firepower to keep a younger, stronger man at bay anymore.  If Fuentes plods, Calderon has a chance.  If the younger man can exact demanding pressure, is this Calderon’s last hurrah?

Fuentes has to be more confident than a countryman one division up.

Kompayak Porpramook
Age:
30
Titles: WBC Light Flyweight (2011-Present, 1 Defense)
Previous Titles: None
Height: 5’0
Weight: TBA
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: Indeterminable
Hails from: Buriram, Thailand
Record: 46-3, 31 KO, 2 KOBY

BoxingScene Rank: #3 at Jr. Flyweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 2-0, 1 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 1 (Adrian Hernandez)
 
Vs.

Adrian Hernandez 

Age: 26
Titles/Previous Titles: WBC Light Flyweight (2011, 1 Defense)

Height: 5’8
Weight: TBA
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: Indeterminable
Hails from: Toluca, Mexico
Record: 24-2, 15 KO, 2 KOBY
BoxingScene Rank: #5 at Jr. Flyweight
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 2 (Rodel Mayol, Gilberto Keb Baas)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat or Draw: 1 (Eric Ortiz, Kompayak Porpramook)

Pre-Fight: Speed – Porpramook B; Hernandez B
Pre-Fight: Power – Porpramook B+; Hernandez B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Porpramook C; Hernandez C
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Porpramook B+; Hernandez B  

Both men have been stopped twice in their career, but then when and how matter.  Porpramook hasn’t been stopped, or defeated, since 2006.  That loss, to Hussein Hussein, came against a larger man inside the Jr. Bantamweight limit.  Hernandez has been stopped in 2008 and 2011, the latter against Porpramook.

There is also the form shown since their last fight to consider.  Porpramook looked a little flat in his lone defense among some other non-title affairs.  Hernandez has rebounded nicely, if not against world-beaters.  Hernandez will have the crowd on his side and won’t have to deal with the climate of Thailand this time around.

Will it make a difference?

Fans who missed the first fight should check it out on YouTube.  It was a corker. 

As described by BoxingScene’s Jake Donovan:

The main event was non-stop action and a surefire Fight of the Year contender, keeping the intimate but rabid crowd in suspense throughout. Neither fighter gave an inch, with most of the action taking place in center ring and rarely at more than phone booth’s distance.

Porpramook was surgical with his right hand early on, as Hernandez ate them as if defense was strictly a rumor. The visiting Mexican was backed up against the ropes as his Thai challenger went on the attack, rallying the hometown crowd in the process.

The middle rounds saw Hernandez stage a huge comeback, refusing to fly halfway around the world just to hand over his title without a fight. The action continued to flow and excite the crowd, even as it was Hernandez who went on the attack, scoring with power shots upstairs. Porpramook was still connecting with frightening regularity, though now at the point where he was taking two to land one.

The change in momentum was not lost on the judges, as scoring through four rounds had the bout even at 38-38 on two cards, and Porpramook ahead 39-37 on the third card.

As Hernandez opened up his attack upstairs. Porpramook began to target the body. The tactic worked spectacularly, as it created the opportunity to score with right hands upstairs anytime the defending titlist adjusted his guard in attempting to protect his midsection.

Hernandez changed things up in the sixth, utilizing a jab to create some sort of distance between the two. Porpramook continued to stalk his foe, but struggled to slip the stick as Hernandez was able to set up combinations and implement an effective right uppercut into his attack.

Despite the Mexican’s best efforts to box, the fight eventually resumed to its brawling pace, as both fighters swung away in a potential Round of the Year contender.

The momentum spilled over into the seventh, with the two meeting at center ring and trading away. For the first time in the fight, Porpramook was forced to back up as Hernandez scored with long right hands and left hooks. The bout appeared to swing in Hernandez’ favor, only for the challenger to come roaring back in his version of a 30-second drill.

While giving away the round, the tactic worked as Porpramook enjoyed a huge eighth round that had the titlist in trouble for the first time in the fight. Non-stop power shots pulled the stocky Thai back within even on two scorecards through eight rounds and maintaining a two-point lead on the lone dissenting card.

The judges’ tallies were nearly rendered irrelevant in a free-swinging ninth round that saw both fighters wobbled and the crowd barely given a second to breath. Porpramook was swinging for the fences, connecting often enough to have Hernandez stagger into the ropes. Just when it appeared the Mexican boxer was ready to wilt, momentum swung back in his favor in a big way to end the round.

The sequence proved to be Hernandez’ last hurrah. The champion remained game throughout the tenth, but ultimately found himself outgunned. Porpramook sensed that the end was near and went for broke. A wicked body attack paved the way for a series of right hands which crashed down on Hernandez’ chin and temple, with enough power shots sending him crashing to the canvas.

A count was administered but waved off midway through when Hernandez attempted to rise but instead doubled over and pitched forward headfirst back into the canvas.
 
Will we get more of the same on Saturday?

The Picks

It’s hard to imagine Porpramook-Hernandez II failing to entertain.  While the taller man, Hernandez is willing to sit in the trenches and Porpramook can be exacting there.  The real question is whether Hernandez can fight taller often enough to score points and keep Porpramook from getting a head of steam.  The thinking here is that, with the crowd behind him, Hernandez can do just that.  It won’t be easy, but the pick here is for Hernandez to exact revenge, regaining his crown with a late rounds stoppage and setting the stage for a rubber match.

It should be a good day for Mexico all around.  While ostensibly an undercard bout to a Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. driven show, Fuentes-Calderon is the most significant action of the night.  It should also be a chance for Puerto Rican fans to say farewell to their mighty mite.  Calderon just doesn’t have the legs to survive a war with a younger, stronger man right now and Fuentes will make him fight.  It won’t be as torrid as the pace Segura set against Calderon, but it should be enough to break down Calderon inside the distance.    

Report Card Picks 2012: 50-16

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

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