By Jake Donovan
The first fight marked the end of Ivan Calderon’s long run as lineal junior flyweight king.
Saturday night might have ended his career.
Both instances have come at the heavy hands of Mexican knockout artist Giovani Segura, who made the first successful defense of his junior flyweight championship on Saturday evening with a third round stoppage of Calderon in Mexicali, Mexico.
The fight was fun for as long as it lasted, but never had the chance to develop into the fantastic Fight of the Year entry which took place last August. Calderon tried his mightiest to reverse the course of their first fight, but his pure boxing ability was only going to carry him so far.
It was enough to remain competitive in the first two rounds, if not win them outright. The plan was for Calderon to establish his jab and find any way to prevent Segura from working his way inside.
But when you are only 5’0”, on the wrong side of your 30’s and prime and boast minimal punching power, keeping an opponent at bay is almost always a struggle.
Segura realized in this in their first fight and kept imposing his will until he was able to break the diminutive Puerto Rican. He kept it in mind for this bout, even if having to overcome a bit of adversity.
The heavy-handed Mexican saw his body attack come into scrutiny by referee Samuel Viruet, who warned the defending champion for throwing low.
Whereas most fighters would’ve changed up and proceed with nothing but head shots, Segura remained convince that the best course of action would be to break Calderon’s spirit and will.
As such, he never quit throwing downstairs – at least until Calderon decided he could no longer take the punishment.
A right hook and two left hands caused Calderon to double over and wince in pain, clearly having the wind knocked out of him as he sought to take a knee. Segura managed to sneak in two left hooks to the head, the final one serving as little more than window dressing.
The look on Calderon’s face said it all as Viruet counted all the way to ten before waving off the fight at 1:39 of the third round.
Segura advances to 27-1-1 (22KO) with the win, his eighth straight as he continues to put more and more distance between himself and the lone loss of his career nearly three years ago.
Power continues to dominate his game, but Segura has come a long way since suffering a surprisingly one-sided decision loss to Cesar Canchilla in July 2008. Knockout remains first and foremost on his mind, but the means in which he now pursues has made him a far more complete fighter than at any other point of his career.
It’s a lesson now twice learned by Calderon, once regarded as the best pure boxer in the game but now at a point where retirement could very well be the best next option. The 36-year old suffers the second straight loss of his career – both at the heavy hands of Segura – as he falls to 35-1-1 (6KO).
Prior to running into Segura last summer, Calderon enjoyed separate reigns at strawweight and junior flyweight for more than seven consecutive years.
If he decides to stick around, part of the justification could be the fact that Segura has declared that Saturday would be his last ever bout at junior flyweight.
It was declared even prior to plans for the rematch that Segura wasn’t very interested in sticking around much longer at this weight. He agreed to boil down to 108 one last time just for the sake of giving Calderon a return shot at the title, provided that the locations were switched around – the first fight took place in Puerto Rico, though Segura and his handlers were successful in having the rematch land in Mexico.
With the rematch win out of the way, and no other big fight at 108 justifying his starving himself to make weight (save maybe for a showdown with Roman Gonzalez), Segura – who celebrated his 29th birthday on Friday – now sets his sights on the flyweight division.
It remains to be seen on where Calderon will have sights set. It’s clear that he’s officially out of the Giovani Segura business, though one has to wonder if his being counted while on a knee attempting to catch his breath is his last ever business as a prizefighter in general, or at least at that level.
Jorge Lacierva continues to enjoy the late surge in a once journeyman career. The resilient Mexican is now a mandatory featherweight title challenger thanks to his dominant decision win over Fernando Beltran Jr (35-5-1, 19KO). Scores were 119-109 (twice) and 118-109. Lacierva (39-7-6, 26KO) picks up his seventh straight win and is now line for a shot at an alphabet featherweight belt recently vacated by Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Undefeated flyweight prospect Alonso Lopez won a six-round decision over Jorge Guerrero in the televised opener. Scores were 59-55, 60-55 and 60-54 in favor of Lopez (9-0-1, 3KO), the son of legendary Hall of Famer and former strawweight king Ricardo Lopez. The fight marked the first time he has went six rounds in his young career.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected] .