By Jake Donovan
Moises Fuentes made the second successful defense of his strawweight belt with a 5th round knockout over faded former two-division champion Ivan Calderon in their co-feature bout Saturday evening in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
The bout was delayed by several minutes due to a handwrap issue, but merely heightened anticipation for the rabid crowd on hand. Calderon was greeted to a hero’s reception from the partisan fans in attendance, though they couldn’t actually get in the ring and fight for him.
To his credit, Calderon held his own in the opening round. The timing was nothing like it once was, but flashes of his old brilliance were evident as the southpaw managed to stick and move. Fuentes struggled to cut off the ring, an alarming statement given his massive height and reach advantages.
Fuentes fought tall in round two, keeping Calderon at the end of his jab. Calderon’s efforts to work his way inside were met with stiff uppercuts and straight right hands, though Fuentes was often short and thrown off balance when attempting to score with his left hook.
Calderon enjoyed his best round in years in the third, repeatedly darting in and out of punches to the point of making Fuentes look foolish at times. Fuentes had other issues to contend with, such as an improperly fitted mouthpiece constantly popping out of place.
The frame may have served as the last great moment in Calderon’s truly great career. The fourth round, however, was near-disastrous.
Fuentes finally managed to corner Calderon, unloading with power shots along the ropes. The defending titlist appeared on the verge of punching himself out, but wisely stepped back and reloaded, though Calderon was able to survive the onslaught and the round.
That he was able to do so merely prolonged the inevitable. Fuentes was ready to close the show, while Calderon was ready to call it a night. A left hook to the body froze Calderon, forcing him to take a knee. He beat the count, but would find himself on the canvas twice more, the final time apparently voluntary as the bout was ultimately waved off.
The official time was 1:22 of round five.
Fuentes picks up the most notable win of his career as he improves to 16-1 (8KO). The lanky Mexican was viewed as the weakest strawweight titlist, or at least the “safest” option for Calderon in his pursuit of becoming a three-time champion.
Instead, the downward spiral continues for the diminutive and aged Puerto Rican, who falls to 35-3-1 (6KO). The 37-year old has led an incredible career, almost entirely on his superior boxing skill set considering his glaring lack of punching power.
However, three knockout losses in his past four bouts combined with his advanced age have many calling for his retirement.
TELEVISED PRELIMINARY BOUTS
Jose ‘Chelo’ Gonzalez (21-0, 16KO) wasted no time in getting rid of late sub Oscar Cuero (15-9, 12KO). A pair of body shot knockdowns brought an end to the bout at 1:54 of the very first round. Gonzalez is being groomed for a future title shot against current lightweight titlist Ricky Burns.
Victor Bisbal won his 16th straight with a 6th round stoppage over 38-year old Alex Gonzalez in a battle of Puerto Rican heavyweights. Bisbal (21-1, 15KO) won every round and forced a stoppage after busting open cuts surrounding the eyes of Gonzalez (20-8, 10KO), who has now dropped seven of his last nine contests.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox