It wasn’t the same since he racked up 34 undefeated fights, Ivan Calderon at 35 years old looks a bit slower now and has gradual deteriorating God given abilities. On his last 4 fights Ivan struggled most of the way. He had three gashes when he fought Hugo Cazares on their rematch (accidental headbutt) and twice to Rodel Mayol (accidental clash of heads) and went down on his fight with Jesus Iribe in the second round. Ivan had been through toughest competitions since he won the light flyweight title against Cazares on their first encounter.
It was his vaunted speed and fast reflexes that made him through a lot of fights on his career and came out undefeated. He fought former welterweight champion and now the WBA super Welterweight champion Miguel Cotto on their amateur days when Cotto was still campaigning in the light flyweight division. He sparred with Shane Mosley who is a welterweight mainstay in preparing for his fight against Cazares. He sparred with Oscar De La Hoya when Oscar was preparing for his mega fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and yet he still came out unharmed and unscathed.
At 35 years old Ivan’s prime was just a thing in the past. He knows he lost a step or two in the process and his only refuge would be to fight wisely and avoid punches by solely not engaging. Sooner or later his “O” has got to go and he knows at the back of his head it would come to the most deserving fighter he will soon face.
Giovanni Segura the 28 year old WBA champion fought Ivan Calderon on a unification bout last Saturday right in front of Ivan’s home crowd. It was a good boxing match from start until the 8th round. It was the first time I saw the “Iron boy” got a beating with swollen eyes in the middle rounds. It was on the eight round with 1:34 seconds left when Ivan took a knee after a barrage of body shots. As the referee started the count I saw something on Ivan’s eyes. It wasn’t the same champion who wills himself to win fights, it wasn’t the same fiery eyes that was hurt and bloodied and yet continued to fight… After 34 wins and the boxer who is one of the most decorated talented fighter in the history of boxing finally is tired of winning…He can still fight but somehow he saw something in Segura that made him took a knee. Maybe it was the punishment he took on all those body shots but maybe he saw the same dedication the same fiery eyes he saw himself way back while he reign in his division. A simple passing of the torch and Calderon took the lone defeat on his career like a great champion. Sometimes the longer you play the better and younger player has the bigger chance of winning and this time Segura came out the deserving winner. Ivan will always be one of the most skilled boxer in history and one of the best boxer to came out in Puerto Rico and that legacy will be forever be etched in boxing.
When Charles Schulz the American cartoonist who made snoopy and a comic strip called peanuts once said “Once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed. ” There is always life after boxing and for champions and philantrophist like Calderon there is more than what he expected awaits.