GIOVANI SEGURA vs. IVAN CALDERON
When: Saturday, April 2
Where: Mexicali, Mexico
TV: PPV, 6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET
Weight: Junior flyweight (108 pounds)
Height / Reach: 5-4 (163cm) / 69 (175cm)
Hometown: Bell, Calif. (from Mexico)
Nickname: El Guerrero Azteca
Turned pro: 2003
Record: 26-1-1 (22 knockouts)
Trainer: Javier Capetillo
Fight-by-fight: Click here
The Ring rating: Junior flyweight champion
Titles: WBA junior flyweight (2009-2010); WBO junior flyweight (2010-current)
Biggest victories: Carlos Tamara, Nov. 3, 2006, UD 12; Cesar Canchila, March 14, 2009, TKO 4 (interim title; later elevated to titleholder); Juanito Rubilar, July 25, 2009, TKO 6; Daniel Reyes, June 8, 2007, KO 1; Sonny Boy Jaro, Nov. 21, 2009, KO 1; Ivan Calderon, Aug. 28, 2010, KO 8 (RING championship; title unification).
Loss: Cesar Canchila, July 26, 2008, UD 12 (interim title)
Height / reach: 5-0 (152cm) / 63 (160cm)
Hometown: Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Nickname: Iron Boy
Turned pro: 2001
Record: 34-1-1 (6 knockouts)
Trainer: Jose Sanchez
Fight-by-fight: Click here
The Ring rating: No. 1 junior flyweight
Titles: WBO strawweight (2003-07); WBO junior flyweight (2007-10)
Biggest victories: Eduardo Ray Marquez, May 3, 2003, TD 9 (won strawweight title); Alex Sanchez, Dec. 6, 2003, UD 12; Edgar Cardenas, March 20, 2004, KO 11; Roberto Carlos Leyva, July 31, 2004, UD 12; Daniel Reyes, Dec. 10, 2005, UD 12; Issac Bustos, Feb. 18, 2006, UD 12; Hugo Fidel Cazares, Aug. 25, 2007, SD 12 (won junior flyweight title); Nelson Dieppa, April 5, 2008, UD 12.
Loss: Giovani Segura, Aug, 28, 2010, KO 8
Draw: Rodel Mayol, June 13, 2009, TD 6
Skills: Next to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Calderon has been the best pure boxer in the sport over the past 10 years. The Puerto Rican is a master of controlling tempo and distance and his timing and technique are impeccable. Segura? Well, he’s a hell of a pressure fighter who can crack with both hands. Let’s leave his technique alone.
Power: Calderon won 21 title bouts using his skill and ring generalship, not his muscle or power. Segura is the current 108-pound champ because he can whack with the best of them. The mighty Mexican has scored nine first-round knockouts, including an opening round blitz of former belt holder Daniel Reyes.
Speed and athletic ability: While Segura is clearly the stronger, harder-punching fighter, Calderon — even at age 36 — is faster with quicker reflexes. The older man also has much better hand-eye coordination.
Defense: This category is painfully simple. Calderon is one of the best defensive boxers in the sport. Segura has no defense.
Experience: Calderon has fought in 22 title bouts and faced nine belt holders during that impressive 8½-year run. Only the great Ricardo “Finito” Lopez has shown more championship consistencey in the 105- and 108-pound divisions.
Chin: Both fighters have a proven ability to take power shots from world-class fighters. Segura absorbed countless bombs from Canchila in their two ring wars. Calderon took the best shots from heavy puncher Hugo Cazarez, who is now a 115-pound beltholder, in their two bouts. Segura stopped Calderon by going to the smaller man’s body, not his chin.
Conditioning: Both fighters are always ready to go the distance. Calderon has to be prepared to stick and move for 12 rounds because of his style and lack of power. Segura trains to be prepared to pressure and batter his opponents with a high volume attack until they fold. Neither fighter has ever shown up out of shape for a major fight.
Wear and tear: Calderon is 36 years old and a veteran of 14 championship-distance bouts (12 rounds). The former champ has logged 319 rounds as a pro. Segura has only fought 115 rounds. ‘Nuff said.
Corner: Segura’s trainer, the controversial Javier Capetillo, has worked with more world class fighters than Calderon’s head coach — including such well-known former titleholders as Antonio Margarito, Jorge Arce, Jorge Paez and Alejandro Gonzalez. However, it must be noted that Capetillo, who was banned from working corners in the U.S. for his part in Margarito’s hand-wrapping scandal in 2009, did not develop any of those fighters. In most cases, he began working with them long after they were taught the fundamentals by someone else. Capetillo’s forte is conditioning. By the superb skills that Calderon has exhibited since he turned pro 10 years ago, it’s obvious that Sanchez does more than get his fighter in shape to fight hard for 12 rounds. Sanchez, a former New York Golden Gloves champ, also teaches technique and defensive moves. Calderon always has a plan when he enters the ring, and apart from the first fight with Segura, he’s always been able to adapt to adversity.
Outcome: A more-focused Segura than fans saw in the first fight will stalk a more-motivated version of Calderon, who will stick and move with purpose in the early rounds. Calderon will land head shots, primarily with his jab, while Segura will be content to aim the majority of his blows to the challenger’s body. Segura’s concentrated body attack will begin to pay dividends by the middle rounds of the bout. Calderon will have slowed down enough to be bulled to the ropes by the relentless champion, and the world’s top two 108-pound fighters will go toe-to-toe to the delight of the raucous Mexican crowd. Calderon will surprisingly hold his own during the many vicious exchanges. The 36-year-old veteran will even rock Segura back onto his heels a few times, but the champion will not be deterred. Segura will continue to corner Calderon along the ropes and bash the former champ’s body until the legs of the proud Puerto Rican simply give out.
Prediction: Segura by late stoppage.