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Although Calderon experienced a flash knockdown in the second round, the Puerto Rican southpaw cleverly maneuvered his way toward a unanimous 12-round decision victory at Madison Square Garden on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade.
“I got hit hard and went down in the second round, but I knew good movement would beat him,” Calderon said.
All three judges scored the bout 118-109 (twice) and 116-111 for the champion.
Usually, the customary privilege of headlining a boxing event on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade belongs to Calderon’s fellow countryman Miguel Cotto.
However, last weekend, Cotto lifted the WBA junior middleweight title from Yuri Foreman in the first bout at Yankee Stadium in more than 30 years. Therefore, the honor of fighting at the Garden belonged solely to Calderon.
Calderon may not be as electrifying or as young as a Miguel Cotto, but he is still one of the most talented boxers in the world. The 35 year-old Calderon maybe considered “old” for a fighter competing in a weight class as low as 108 pounds but that is his ideal weight.
Calderon, since turning professional in 2001, has amassed an impressive 18-0-1 record in world title fights at 105 and 108 pounds. As dominant Calderon has proven to be, he has shown increasing susceptibility to lacerations and additional punishment in recent fights against Rodel Mayol and Hugo Cazares.
Against Iribe, Calderon was destined to prove that he was still the same “hit and not get hit” type of fighter. Calderon, energized by his Puerto Rican followers, wanted to show that he was still brilliant at what he does.
Calderon didn’t disappoint.
A lot of people would say Calderon hit and “runs” away from is opponent. It’s not necessarily what you do, but rather how it’s done. Calderon was aggressive with his right jab which caught Iribe cleanly throughout the fight.
Calderon made Iribe miss a lot of punches by slipping and ducking shots. Iribe has a difficult time landing two consecutive punches, where he became a one-punch at a time fighter for most of the fight.
Calderon threw his punches two-three shots at a time. He did weave, block, and move away from Iribe throughout the night. However, when Calderon threw his shots he moved forward and pressed Iribe.
The knockdown in the second round occurred toward the later part of the stanza when nit appeared as though Calderon has the round in the bag. Calderon immediately returned to his feet and continued to box effectively. In fact Calderon swept the final 10 rounds on two of the three judges’ scorecards (100-90).
Afterwards, Calderon did have a cut above his left eye as a result of an accidental clash of heads, but Iribe didn’t have the punch of the skill-set to exploit that cut.
Nevertheless, Calderon proved to be the better defensive fighter with a wider depth of skills and experience.
There’s no telling when a fighter may one day hang-up their gloves. But after Saturday, although Calderon has proven that he’s still one of the best in the game, it’s pretty clear that his career maybe winding down. Calderon has an opportunity to leave boxing while he is at the top of his game in another year or so.
Until then, enjoy the final bouts of what still remains a brilliant career.