Segura seeks repeat; Calderon, revenge
Junior flyweight champ Giovani Segura and former champ Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon both have grand ideas when it comes to mapping out their future fighting plans.
Of course, the plans of only one of them are likely to stay on course, depending on who wins their much-anticipated rematch Saturday night (Integrated Sports PPV, 9 ET, $39.95) in Mexicali, Mexico.
"I'm looking forward to bigger fights," said Segura, who has difficulty making 108 pounds and plans to move up to the 112-pound flyweight division, win or lose against Calderon. "I am looking forward to fighting the fighters that people want to see me fight. I'll go where my body takes me, little by little and knocking on doors and seeing where they can be open, challenging the best fighters. We'll see how far we can go."
Calderon, a longtime strawweight champion before winning the title at junior flyweight, also has a dream scenario. At 36 -- which is ancient in boxing years for a fighter in such a small weight class -- Calderon figures he has two more years left in the sport, at most.
"I want to be back as [junior flyweight] world champion, do one or two defenses and then try to do one more fight at 112 pounds and try to get a third title, and then retire," Calderon said.
If their first fight is any indication, it looks like Segura, who turns 29 on Friday, has a distinct edge. He is bigger, more powerful, he won the first fight impressively and will fight the rematch in front of his home crowd.
Their first showdown, on Aug. 28 in Calderon's native Puerto Rico, erupted into one of the most action-packed fights of 2010. In some quarters, it was called the fight of the year.
Segura, the Mexican slugger and brawler, is routinely in exciting fights. Calderon, with his smooth boxing skills and otherworldly defense, typically is involved in the most scientific of boxing matches. But when they met, it was Segura who was able to control the tempo and force Calderon to fight at an exhausting pace.
Although Segura (26-1-1, 22 KOs) was winning on all three judges' scorecards as they moved to the eighth round, it had been an exciting fight all the way. But then Segura, who had been landing body punches throughout the bout, hurt Calderon (34-1-1, 6 KOs) again to the body.
Calderon could not take the withering assault and finally took a knee after a shot to the gut and allowed himself to be counted out as Segura unified alphabet belts while also taking over as the lineal championship in the 108-pound division.
Given the excitement of the fight, a rematch loomed as their most lucrative option. Calderon has not fought since the first fight, while Segura rolled to an easy November win in a nontitle bout.
The biggest issue in the negotiation for the rematch was the weight. Segura wanted to fight in the flyweight division. Calderon, clearly a smaller man, wanted to fight for the title again at junior flyweight.
"We were trying to make it at 112. It's no secret that I'm a big guy for this division," Segura said. "It's hard for me to make 108. But at the end of the day, we came to the conclusion that the fight could only be at 108 because he's a smaller guy and it would be too much of an advantage for me [at 112]."
Calderon, who agreed to go to Mexico, held firm on the weight.
"When he wanted to fight, he really didn't want to fight at 108. He wanted to be like [Manny] Pacquiao and fight at like 110, but with no titles," Calderon said of Pacquiao's recent catch weight demands. "I said no. If we fight, we fight for a title, 108 or 112, for a world championship. But 110? I got no reason. I just forget about the loss, you beat me, good luck. At 108, good, we fight for the title."
So Calderon got his way with the weight. Now he has to figure out a way to deal with the immense pressure and power of Segura as his own speed has begun to decline.
"I don't see this second fight any different than the first one," Segura said. "I only know how to fight one way and that's to throw punches and put pressure on my opponent. I don't doubt that Calderon will be better this time, because when you lose for the first time it makes you more determined and it makes you work harder; that I know for a fact.
"This fight is like the 'Tom and Jerry' cartoon. A cat chasing a mouse, and that is not going to change. I admired Calderon's boxing abilities and I respect his style, but to me boxing is about giving the fans excitement and that is what I will bring the fans inside that ring on Saturday night."
Calderon said he doesn't really think much about the knockout in the first fight because he resigned the fight. He said his legs were injured going into the fight and that hampered his training.
"I went down to protect myself. It wasn't a real knockout," Calderon said. "He hurt me in my stomach and I decided to put my leg down instead of getting a real good punch in my face. The thing is, I was not prepared like when I was in other fights. I had problems with my legs. I give him the credit. He did a good job. He worked real good to my body until he caught me. But this time I did my job to train real hard for this fight. I know it will be in Mexico, so I had to train double, triple.
"This time I have to be in my best condition and do my boxing, be intelligent. Let him throw and counterpunch like I always do."
Segura does not plan on changing anything. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is his notion.
"The truth is I can only fight one way," he said. "That's what you are going to see in Giovani Segura -- the Aztec warrior you always see, looking for the fight, looking for the knockout, looking to make an exciting fight that people like to watch. I don't want to be known as a boring fighter and people are going to watch and then change the channel.
"I want to be the guy who when they hear Giovani Segura is going to fight they stay for that fight and will be screaming and jumping with the adrenaline pumping. That's what I am looking for -- to make the people happy because, at the end of the day, they are the ones putting our food on the table."
Although Segura goes into the ring with that mindset for each bout, he admitted that Calderon's movement and defense frustrated him early in their fight.
"He's really hard to hit. He's a tough, tough guy to cut the ring off against. He moves a lot," Segura said. "But I knew that would happen and I had to be patient and smart for those times."
And then things changed when Segura landed a good body shot in the fourth round. Looking back, Segura said that was the beginning of the end.
"I hurt him with a body shot and I made him move, and he looked at me with different eyes," Segura said. "He knew what was coming, and I knew it was time to do my thing."
Both of them will try to do their thing in the rematch. The one who does gets to move on with those grand plans.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.
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