Commentary

Calderon cruises past Iribe

Originally Published: June 14, 2010
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:

Saturday at New York
Junior flyweight
Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon W12 Jesus Iribe
Retains world junior flyweight title
Scores: 118-109 (twice), 116-111
Records: Calderon, 34-0-1, 6 KOs; Iribe, 17-7-4, 10 KOs

Rafael's remark: Death, taxes and Calderon by decision. Write it down.

That result is as predictable as the sun rising each day. Although Calderon boldly predicted he would knock out Mexico's Iribe, come on. That had to be a joke. Calderon, who hadn't scored a knockout since a 2006 strawweight title defense, is as pure a boxer as the sport has seen. No pop, but he has the skills to compete with any little man in boxing history as he continued to add to his Hall of Fame résumé. At 35 (ancient for a 108-pounder), Calderon does appear to be slowing down a little bit, but he's still doing his thing and doing it well.

With Puerto Rican countryman (and good buddy) Miguel Cotto headlining the big show at Yankee Stadium on June 5, stopping Yuri Foreman to win a junior middleweight title, there was a vacancy for a top Puerto Rican fighter to headline Top Rank's annual card on the eve of the National Puerto Rican Parade in New York. Calderon got the call to headline a smaller show on "Top Rank Live" at the Madison Square Garden Theater, and he sent his fans home happy.

Although Iribe dropped Calderon with a flush right hand in the second round, Calderon was not badly hurt. It was but a bump in the road of another Calderon boxing clinic.

Afterward, Calderon said, "I got hit hard and went down in the second round, but I knew good movement would beat him."

That's what Calderon always brings to the table -- good movement. Iribe, 25, pressed forward throughout the fight, but Calderon did his usual job of making him miss and landing enough to win round after round as the consummate technician successfully defended his title for the sixth time. The win improved Calderon to 18-0-1 in world title fights, which includes a four-year stint as strawweight champion.

For Calderon, making it to the final bell was a nice change of pace compared to recent fights. His previous three bouts had ended in technical decisions because head-butts left him badly cut in two fights with Rodel Mayol and one with Hugo Cazares. This time, Calderon emerged unscathed as Iribe dropped to 0-3 in world title bouts. He previously dropped unanimous decisions to then-titleholders Edgar Sosa (2009) and Brian Viloria (2008).

It's not like there is a huge fight sitting out there for Calderon, but it would be nice to see him try to meet one of the other titleholders. A match with Giovani Segura would be an outstanding clash of styles and would seem doable if the boxers are interested. Barring that, or a move to flyweight, Calderon could be back in action Aug. 28 for a proposed fight with interim beltholder Jhonreil Casimero, who first defends his slice of the title against Ramon Garcia on July 3.

Junior bantamweight
Takashi Okada W4 McWilliams Arroyo
Scores: 39-36, 38-37 (twice)

Records: Okada, 2-0-1, 1 KO; Arroyo, 2-1, 2 KOs

Rafael's remark: Upset city! Puerto Rico's Arroyo was a 2008 Olympian -- he was selected to carry the flag for the island at the opening ceremonies -- won a 2009 world amateur championship and is half of the highly touted fighting Arroyo twins with brother McJoe. In other words, Arroyo was not supposed to lose. Wasn't even supposed to come close.

The 24-year-old was put on the card to showcase him to Puerto Rican fans in New York who had turned out to see the annual New York show on the eve of the annual Puerto Rican Day parade. But Japan's Okada, 26, who is based in Southern California, apparently didn't get the memo.

In an excellent action fight, Okada got a little bit better of Arroyo, the big difference coming on a knockdown in the final seconds of the second round in which Arroyo appeared to get caught with a short left hand on the inside. In a four-round fight, overcoming a trip to the mat is hard to do and Arroyo couldn't do it, despite a hard-fought effort that left him with a small cut over his right eye. It was nice to see the judges get it right.

Saturday at Pueblo, Mexico
Flyweight
Julio Cesar Miranda TKO5 Richie Mepranum
Wins a vacant flyweight title.
Records: Miranda, 32-5-1, 25 KOs; Mepranum, 22-2-1, 5 KOs

Rafael's remark: Guess the third time's the charm for Mexico's Miranda, who claimed a 112-pound belt in his third try. He had previously lost decisions to Thai great Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in an April 2009 interim title bout and to South Africa's Moruti Mthalane in November. This time, Miranda, 30, faced the Philippines' Mepranum, 23, for the belt recently vacated by longtime titlist Omar Narvaez, who dropped the belt to move in weight and win a vacant junior bantamweight title. Miranda made the most of his latest opportunity as he knocked Mepranum, a Manny Pacquiao protégé, down in the fourth round and finished him in the fifth. Although Mepranum beat the count, referee Russell Mora called it off.

Friday at Montreal
Middleweight
David Lemieux TKO1 Elvin Ayala
Records: Lemieux, 23-0, 22 KOs; Ayala, 20-5-1, 9 KOs

Rafael's remark: Canada's No. 1 prospect took a step up in class, did it with American television exposure in the main event of ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" and looked spectacular. The 21-year-old from Montreal, a three-time Canadian amateur champion, was a virtual lock to make the 2008 Canadian Olympic team, but Lemieux elected to turn professional at age 18 in 2007 because he had always dreamed more of pro glory than a gold medal. He looks like he is on his way. He is a terrific puncher, draws an excited crowd and had already defeated such decent opponents as Donny McCrary, Delray Raines, Jason Naugler and Walid Smichet when he stepped up to face Ayala, 29, of East Haven, Conn.

Ayala, who was fined for being a quarter-pound over the 160-pound limit in the regional title bout, came into the fight coming off a unanimous decision loss to Lajuan Simon in October. Even so, he still figured to pose a solid test for Lemieux. In October 2007, Ayala held Sergio Mora, who would go on to win a junior middleweight belt, to a draw. In March 2008, Ayala gave then-middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham a spirited fight before being suffering a knockout loss in the 12th round.

Lemieux, however, ripped through him with ease. As soon as the bell rang, they were after each other, trading hard shots. But Lemieux was more accurate and had the quicker fists. He nailed Ayala with a left hook along the ropes and scored the first of three knockdowns. Ayala was down again moments later after another onslaught from Lemieux. When the fight resumed, another Lemieux left hook dropped Ayala for the third time and referee Gerry Bolen called the fight with 16 seconds left in the opening round. This was a tremendous performance from a potential future star.

Super middleweight
Brian Vera TKO3 Sebastien Demers
Records: Vera, 17-4, 11 KOs; Demers, 31-3, 11 KOs

Rafael's remark: Vera, 28, of Austin, Texas, took the "Friday Night Fights" co-feature on short notice after the original opponent, James McGirt Jr., wound up not finalizing the bout with Demers. Vera made the most of his unexpected opportunity and pulled the upset over Demers, 30, of Quebec, who was the hometown favorite.

Vera, a former star of the third season of "The Contender" reality series, had lost his previous three fights in a row (including a knockout loss to James Kirkland), but he knows something about upsets. In March 2008, he stopped heralded prospect Andy Lee in the seventh round in a major shocker. Here he was at it again, saying before the fight that it was a do-or-die situation against Demers, who was coming off a tough decision win against faded former middleweight titlist William Joppy in March and had failed in a 2007 middleweight title shot by getting knocked out by Arthur Abraham in the third round.

Vera-Demers was an entertaining and competitive fight through the first two rounds. It all changed in the third when Vera unloaded a clean left-right combination that dropped Demers in the center of the ring. Demers was still unsteady after the knockdown, and Vera floored him again with a pair of powerful right hands. Demers, who was now badly cut on his nose, continued but had very little left except his heart. He stayed on his feet while taking a shellacking until referee Marlon Wright finally stepped in at 1 minute, 57 seconds.

Friday at San Diego
Junior featherweight
Christopher Martin W8 Adolfo Landeros
Scores: 80-72 (twice), 79-73
Records: Martin, 18-0-2, 5 KOs; Landeros, 19-14-1, 9 KOs

Rafael's remark: No surprises here as hometown fighter Martin, 23, took the clear decision against Mexican journeyman Landeros, 30. The main event on Telefutura's "Solo Boxeo Tecate" was a decent enough scrap, but Landeros had few answers for the younger, busier and better Martin, who had to work hard but won going away. Landeros, to his credit, never stopped trying, and Martin was all too happy to engage. They finished with a flourish in an action-filled final round. Landeros, who was coming off a first-round knockout loss to heralded prospect Guillermo Rigondeaux, the two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist, in February, lost his fourth in a row and eighth in his last 10 bouts.

Welterweight
Luis Grajeda W6 Cristian Favela
Scores: 60-54, 59-55, 58-56
Records: Grajeda, 10-0, 7 KOs; Favela, 19-27-6, 10 KOs

Rafael's remark: Golden Boy Promotions has high hopes for Grajeda, a two-time Mexican national champion in the amateurs. The 23-year-old, who turned pro in mid-2008, was fighting for the third time in the United States and easily outpointed his countryman Favela, whose record is terrible but who is known for giving young fighters the rounds they need. Favela has only been stopped once, so a unanimous decision for Grajeda comes as no surprise.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.