Lee Groves

10: Best Mexico vs. Puerto Rico fights

8. Giovani Segura KO 8 Ivan Calderon I — August 28, 2010, Coliseo Mario “Quijote’ Morales, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

A rare junior flyweight unification bout pitted the high-octane powerpuncher in WBA titlist Segura against the 35-year-old boxing master in RING/WBO belt-holder Calderon, who had gone 5-0-1 since dethroning Cazares three years earlier.

The once-untouchable Puerto Rican had shown signs of slippage as cuts, butts and a knockdown suffered against Jesus Iribe in his most recent bout raised questions and doubts. Segura (24-1-1, 20 KOs) had run off five straight knockouts since his only loss to Cesar Canchila, including a revenge stoppage of Canchila in his very next fight. He was regarded as the best 108-pound puncher since the days of Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez and he knew adding the unbeaten Calderon’s scalp would be a monumental achievement.

Operating inside a cavernous 24-foot ring, the ever-circling Calderon won the first three rounds with pinpoint jabs and well-timed counters. Two strong left crosses buzzed Segura in the final minute of round one and at times the “Iron Boy’s” speed made Segura appear lethargic and lumbering by comparison.

The fight took a severe turn late in the fourth after Segura finally trapped Calderon along the ropes and forced a dynamic toe-to-toe slugfest that built a foundation of fatigue for the Puerto Rican. An emboldened Segura applied a psychological dagger by standing up 10 seconds before the bell and beckoning Calderon. The fourth-round assault weakened Calderon’s legendary legs and in the final minute of the fifth Segura pinned Calderon to his own corner pad and relentlessly pounded on him. Calderon crumbled under the weight of Segura’s attack but referee Jose Rivera mistakenly called a slip. The exhausted look on Calderon’s face betrayed his state and broadcaster Bob Sheridan put it best when he said Calderon was “in more trouble than a tightrope walker in a wind storm.”

Calderon lashed out with Hail-Mary shots that landed from time to time but Segura’s soul-sapping pressure exerted an air of inevitability. In round eight Segura swung the conclusive hammers, throwing the fight’s final 28 punches to force Calderon to a knee. Like Alexis Arguello in his rematch with Aaron Pryor, Calderon realized he could give no more and resigned himself to his fate while Segura and his people reveled in his career-defining triumph.

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