Must See TV at MSG

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: June 9, 2010

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NEW YORK (BASN) — One of the most gifted fighters in the world returns to New York City on the eve of the Puerto Rican day parade.

Saturday night at The Theater of Madison Square Garden, WBO junior champion Ivan Calderon (33-0-1, 6 KOs) defends against mandatory challenger Jesus Iribe (16-6-5, 10 KOs) in the main event.

Calderon is one of the most talented fighters in boxing so don’t let his size fool you.

At at 5-feet, 108-pounds, he can fight. The problem is the fact that he fights in a very small weight class and doesn’t fight on HBO or SHOWTIME, where as, U.S. TV networks continue to be fond of more the traditional weight-classes.

The featherweight, welterweight, middleweight, light-heavyweight, and heavyweight divisions remain popular.

Calderon will have a rare opportunity to fight on U.S.

television on a Top Rank Live boxing event to be televised on Fox Sports Espanol at 10 PM/ET.

Calderon, a two-division WBO champion, has competed in 18 world title fights in the last seven years. Since his professional debut in 2001, Calderon is unbeaten in 33 professional bouts. 13 of Calderon’s bouts have gone the full 12-round distance.

“I’m the king of the 12-rounders,” Calderson said with great confidence.

Calderon has beaten everyone they put in front of him; however, in recent fights the 35 year-old, Puerto Rican sensation has shown signs of vulnerability. Calderon has suffered lacerations across his face as a result of head-butts in each of his last three bouts.

Calderon’s bleeding woes began when he suffered a nasty gash over his forehead during an August 2008 rematch with rival competitor Hugo Fidel Cazares. He was declared a technical decision winner after seven rounds.

In June 2009, Calderon struggled with Rodel Mayol’s ability to counter and punch effectively. The scorecards read 58-56 (Calderon), 56-58-Mayol), and 57-57 even when the fight was stopped due to a cut on Calderon’s forehead caused by an accidental head butt in round four.

The fight was ruled a technical draw in the sixth round.

“Prior to the first fight with Mayol, I waited ten months before fighting again,” Calderon admitted. “I couldn’t move too much. I wasn’t the same fighter I was before. I wanted to show HBO that I could stand-in and bang.”

“Mayol fought a great fight and then the head-butt came.

I was moving away trying not to get hit,” Calderon added.

“You never know what could have happened if the fight continued.

In the rematch last September, Calderon couldn’t continue after a clash of heads left another deep cut across his forehead. It was a mess.

Calderon emerged the winner, via technical decision after seven rounds.

Calderon led 68-65 (twice), but trailed 65-68 on the third card.

“In the rematch I was more loose,” Calderon said. “I moving away and trying not to get hit. I didn’t wait three months for my cut to heal. I get cut again [in the rematch] and I waited seven months before training again.

Let’s see what happens.”

Prior to the cuts suffered in each of his last three fights, Calderon has only recorded three knockouts in 15 fights during September 2005 to April 2008. 12 of those 15 victories were 12-round decisions.

By the time Calderon answers the opening bell for his bout with Iribe on Saturday night, the champion would have boxed 300 rounds as a professional fighter.

That’s a lot mileage for an aging fighter in his mid-30s. But Calderon promises to execute a very good game plan for his fight with Iribe on Saturday.

“This time I’m going to do what I need to do and that’s not get hit,” Calderon concluded.