- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Many young Puerto Rican fighters look up to former two-division champion Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon, who won titles at strawweight and junior flyweight and was one of the most dominant fighters in the smaller weight classes during his 2001 to 2012 career.
Calderon (35-3-1, 6 KOs) was a 2000 Puerto Rican Olympian, one of the best defensive fighters in recent history and is a likely Hall of Famer.
One of those young fighters who reveres Calderon is 22-year-old flyweight prospect Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez (13-0, 11 KOs), who is taking a big step up in competition when he faces former junior flyweight champ Giovani Segura (29-3-1, 25 KOs) on Aug. 17 in Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Now helping Gonzalez with his training camp? Calderon, who knows Segura well, since it was Segura who knocked him out in a blazing 2010 junior flyweight unification fight, and again in the less competitive 2011 rematch to hand him his first two defeats.
“I have been talking with Ivan a lot because he jogged on the same track where I worked,” Gonzalez said. “He has told me how to fight against Segura, and who [better] to say that to me than Ivan Calderon, who faced Segura two times.
“Ivan has advised me to be ready for the pressure Segura puts on in his fights, his punches to the stomach area and his long right hand.”
The two have shadowboxed together and sparred a few rounds with Calderon trying his best to simulate Segura’s pressure style to get Gonzalez to work on his counter punching.
“I told him that he has to have movement always because Segura likes to [apply] pressure,” Calderon said. “Bomba is in good shape and good condition as I can see during training. That is very important because Segura is a tough fighter.”
The card, which will be televised in Puerto Rico via DirecTV pay-per-view, also includes 2008 Dominican Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz (13-0, 7 KOs) in a welterweight fight and 2004 Cuban Olympic silver medalist Yudel Jhonson (14-1, 9 KOs), who defected and turned pro in 2009, in a junior middleweight bout. Both of their opponents are still to be determined.
In another bout, Puerto Rican featherweight Jonathan Oquendo (22-3, 15 KOs) will face Brian Ramirez (10-4, 5 KOs) of Los Angeles in an eight-rounder.