Michael Rosenthal

Weekend Review: Segura makes big statement by KO’ing Calderon again

BIGGEST WINNER

Giovani Segura: Segura took an enormous step in his blossoming career when he stopped then-unbeaten boxing master Ivan Calderon in eight rounds last August to claim THE RING junior flyweight championship. One big victory does not a career make, however. The question remained: Could this powerful but relatively crude brawler repeat such a performance? The answer is an emphatic yes. Segura stopped Calderon in only three rounds on Saturday, confirming his place among the elite fighters and perhaps ending Calderon’s wonderful career. Doubters might point to Calderon’s age (36) and diminutive stature and say he had no chance overcoming such disadvantages. Still, Segura beat a Hall of Fame-caliber opponent in back to back fights and deserves tremendous credit for it. Now we’d love to see him in the ring with unbeaten Roman Gonzalez, a strong, gifted fighter in his prime. That fight would give us an even better idea of how good this guy really is.

 

BIGGEST LOSER

Ivan Calderon: When an accomplished fighter loses, you might think, “Well, he slipped up and will probably make the necessary adjustments to bounce back.” When he loses again to the same opponent , it more often than not means he is no longer the fighter he once was. Calderon had a distinct size disadvantage against Segura, who seemed to be the much bigger of the two. The Puerto Rican also seems to have lost a step, though. And when a boxing whiz loses even a small percentage of his speed and reflexes, that often leads to a sharp decline. Ask Roy Jones Jr. about that. This might be what’s happening with Calderon.  The two-division titleholder isn’t finished. He probably could still outbox the vast majority of fighters in his weight class. He is probably a step behind the very best, though. The good news is that he very likely has a spot reserved for him at the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

 

MOST FINISHED

Sam Peter: The Nigerian Nightmare started his career 24-0 ( with 21 knockouts). He put Wladimir Klitschko down three times in a memorable decision loss that enhanced his reputation. He bounced back to win a major title. The end result: He had become a force by contemporary heavyweight standards. Then, at 28, it was over. He was dominated and then stopped by Vitali Klitschko in 2008 and he was the never the same after that. He lost a decision to Eddie Chambers in his next fight, beat a few journeymen, was stopped in 10 rounds by Wladimir Klitschko in their rematch and lasted nine against 6-foot-6½ (200cm) Robert Helenius on Saturday in Germany. A fighter who once lived by punching is now dying by it, which is often the case. Peter wasn’t just stopped; he lost consciousness. That’s a fate from which it is very difficult to bounce back.

 

MOST INTERESTING

Robert Helenius: I’m not sure what to make of the Finnish heavyweight prospect. He apparently was a decent amateur but nothing special. He’s tall (6-6½; 200cm) but not muscular. He reminded me of Gerry Cooney at first glance. He seems to have solid skills but is still developing. The thing that stands out is his power, which was responsible for Peter’s brutal demise on Saturday. He put Peter down with a crushing short left and then put him out with a right-left-combination that rendered the former titleholder unconscious. This was an important victory for Helenius even if Peter has faded. We should keep an eye on this giant. I won’t even suggest yet that he can compete with either of the Klitschko brothers but he has the height and power to make such a matchup intriguing.

 

BEST BOXER

Hank Lundy: The Philadelphian demonstrated again in a one-sided decision over capable and determined Patrick Lopez on national television Saturday that he is one of the better boxers around. He has the ability to control a fight with his skills and considerable athletic ability. Lundy’s only loss was against John Molina last July. He was winning that fight handily when, flush with overconfidence, he got careless and was decked with a right hand in the eighth round. That turned the tide in the favor of Molina, who stopped Lundy in 11. If Lundy learned a lesson, if he learned that cockiness can cost you a fight, he could be a difficult opponent for even the best lightweights out there.

 

MOST MISSED

Gil Clancy: Not many people make a mark on boxing as big as Clancy, who died last week at 88. He reportedly fought in college and in the Army. He worked with some of the biggest names in the sport for about a half century as a trainer, most notably his prize pupil Emile Griffith. He managed fighters. He was a matchmaker. And later in his career he became one of the most-insightful broadcasters in the business. I personally remember a gracious man. I called him for interviews at home periodically early in my career as a boxing writer and he invariably gave me all the time I needed. He liked to talk boxing. And, of course, he knew what he was talking about. He was one of a handful of sources who helped me understand what happens in the ring. Clancy was always on my most-admired list. And I know I’m far from alone in that regard.

 

MOST SENSELESS

Roy El-Halabi: Rola El-Halabi, a 25-year-old woman boxer from Germany, was preparing for a fight Friday in Berlin when her stepfather entered her dressing room and allegedly shot her in the hand, knee and foot, AFP reported. The woman recently fired Roy El-Halabi as her manager. Rola El-Halabi gave chilling details to the German newspaper Bild: "I was with my coach and manager in the changing room when Dad rushed into the room, threatening us with a gun and shouted 'All out!’ Then he shot me in the hand from three feet away, I cried and cried, begging him to put the gun away. He threatened to shoot himself, but he was too cowardly. He took his time aiming and shot me in the knee, then in my right foot." The intent apparently was to end the boxer’s career and “it seems almost certain that will happen,” her promoter said. She and two security guards who also were shot are recovering in a hospital. The stepfather was overpowered by police and arrested.

 

BEST QUOTE

Gil Clancy, to the Los Angeles Times: “I worked Emile Griffith’s corner for over 120 rounds, and, after every one, I’d say something to him. He asked me once, ‘Don’t I ever do anything right?’ I said: ‘You do almost everything right. But I’m looking for the perfect round.’ ”

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