By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Former world title challenger Rodel Mayol has beaten newly crowned IBF light flyweight champion Brian Viloria to a title shot against undefeated WBO champion Ivan Calderon.
Top Rank Promotions informed BoxingScene.com, insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports that the two-time world champion from Puerto Rico will make his debut at Madison Square Garden on June 13 to defend his title against Mayol, the former OPBF champion from the Philippines who twice lost world title challenges.
The fight will be on the undercard of the big world welterweight battle between Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey.
The first was when he dropped a close unanimous decision to Japan-based Thai champion Eagle Kyowa on May 6, 2006 in Tokyo and then when he got careless in a IBF title fight against Ulises Solis and suffered an 9th round TKO in Rosemont, Illinois on August 4, 2007.
Mayol lost his next bout against undefeated Adrian Hernandez by a 4th round knockout in Mexico but recovered to win his last two fights scoring a 5th round TKO over Thailand’s Wisan Sor Suchanya on May 3, 2008 and then winning a 7th round technical decision over Adrian Diale for the vacant Philippine light flyweight title. Mayol was badly cut on the forehead by an accidental head-butt and the ringside physician had the fight stopped with Mayol winning on the scorecards of all three judges.
At a post fight press conference after former WBC light flyweight champion Brian Viloria stunned Solis by grabbing his IBF title with an 11th round knockout at the Araneta Coliseum last April 19, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said they were looking to match Viloria against Calderon in a big money fight.
However, it seems that Viloria who had said he wanted to take a break and savor his second world title triumph would not be ready for a June title fight and Mayol was chosen instead indicating perhaps the influence of Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao who is one of those who handles Mayol, in getting opportunities for Filipino boxers.
Calderon is regarded as a terrific fighter although he lacks solid punching power as evidenced in his record of 32-0 with only 6 knockouts. In his fourth defense of the title the classy Puerto Rican will go up against No. 4 ranked Mayol (25-3, 19 KO’s) who is capable of pulling off an upset.
Calderon said it has always been his dream top fight at Madison Square Garden in New York and “to do it the night before the National Puerto Rican Parade makes it even more exciting for me.” Calderon who is also the former world minimum weight champion added “It will be a night to remember.”
One of the most popular boxers in Puerto Rico, Calderon is 15-0 in championship fights but hasn’t been back to New York since 2001, Top Rank president Todd duBoef said “we know how much Ivan wanted to fight at The Garden and we are very happy to be able to provide this opportunity to one of the best pure boxers in the world today.”
Calderon, a southpaw, won the WBO title with a twelve round split decision over Hugo Fidel Cazares on August 25, 2007 and in his last fight which was a rematch won by a 7th round technical decision in Bayamon, Puerto Rico on August 30, 2008.
An accidental head-butt severely lacerated the forehead of Calderon and the fight had to be stopped with all three judges scoring the bout for Calderon at the time of the stoppage.
In between his title fight and rematch with Cazares, Calderon won a twelve round unanimous decision over Juan Esquer on December 1, 2007 followed by a lopsided twelve round decision over Nelson Dieppa on April 5, 2008.
Mayol won the OPBF minimum weight title with a with a 1st round TKO over Japan’s Genki Onaka on December 7, 2003 and had three successful title defenses before scoring a 4th round TKO over Lorenzo Trejo of Mexico in a WBC title eliminator in Cancun, Mexico on January 28, 2006.
Mayol has vowed to make the most of his third crack at a world title and his second appearance in the US having lost by an 8th round TKO to Solis who in turn was knocked out by Viloria. That loss of Mayol was in August 2007 in Illinois when he had Solis in trouble but charged in and was knocked out by a single left hook to the jaw.