While former RING junior flyweight champion Giovani Segura is taking his time getting back into the ring, he is going full steam ahead in another ring. The political ring.
The 29-year-old Segura (28-2-1, 24 knockouts), of Bell, Calif., has been hitting the campaign trail in support of Mexican presidential hopeful Enrique Peña Nieto of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). The 45-year-old former governor of the state of Mexico Peña Nieto is currently leading in polls, with a recent poll estimating his take of the electoral public to be at 48 percent. The presidential election takes place July 1.
Segura, who is a native of the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero, doesn’t yet have an official role in the campaign but was brought onboard because his rags to riches story of overcoming crippling poverty to become world champion is likely to resonate with the masses.
Segura isn’t the only boxer currently supporting the PRI. Pound for pound elite Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico City created a whirlwind of controversy last year when he wore a PRI patch on his trunk during his November clash with Manny Pacquiao, violating campaign rules and nullifying the result of a local election in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico.
“Doors have been opened so I’m just following them,” said Segura, who became the first man to knock out modern ring legend Ivan Calderon in 2010 and duplicated the feat the following year.
“There are a lot of things that relate me to the community, especially those people who are hard workers. I get along with those people and I think I’ll be a little bit of help. I can be an inspiration for them. I’m going to try and do my best to see what I can offer.”
Segura is currently resting following his eighth round TKO loss to WBO flyweight champion Brian Viloria in December, in which the right side of Segura’s head swelled up and impaired his vision. Segura says he is following his doctor and team’s advice to take things slow getting back into the ring. Segura is aiming for a June or July ring return.
“The first month after the fight, I was out of control. I was like, ‘That was not me, I was not feeling good, I want to fight as soon as possible,’” said Segura. “I guess when I spoke to my Mom and Dad, my manager Richard Mota and my trainer, they told me, ‘Take your time, and if you did things wrong, it’s wrong. Now you have to do right, and one of those things is to wait a little bit and make sure you’re 100% OK. That’s why they chose those months, June or July.”
Segura says that all MRI results have come back OK, but that the swelling has left his skin a little loose on the right side of his face. Doctors have advised him to take his time getting back due to minor facial tissue damage that could swell up again if not healed properly.
Segura admits that he is a little heavy at the moment, but travels with his boxing gear so he can get in a workout when schedules permit.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News and the Filipino Reporter newspaper in New York City. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.