Photos by Sumio Yamada
GIOVANI SEGURA KO3 IVAN CALDERON
There’s nothing quite like a fighter taking care of business in style, which is what Giovani Segura did in Saturday night’s knockout win over Ivan Calderon in Mexico. Segura has the “won’t be denied” quality that I like in a fighter. His power and pressure was predictably too much for his older, smaller Puerto Rican opponent but I don’t think that very many people expected a three-round ending.
Calderon seemed to be doing well for two rounds, but Segura just wouldn’t leave him alone, hounding him at every turn. It seemed that wherever Calderon moved, there was Segura, right on top of him.
We think of Segura as being a bit of a wild slugger but he knows what he is doing in the ring. He wasn’t so much following Calderon around but hunting him down, and I was pleased to see the Mexican fighter use his right jab a bit more often in this all-southpaw fight (although Segura sometimes boxes in the orthodox posture). When Segura jabs it helps him get into position to throw the big hooks and uppercuts, but it also gives his opponent something else to worry about.
When Calderon took a knee in the third round, although he had been hurt to the body, I think that he just couldn’t face the prospect of trying to stave off his pursuer for nine more rounds. Segura seemed to be getting to him earlier in the fight this time. The 36-year-old Calderon must have realised by the third round that he could elude Segura for only so long, and, of course, he was never going to be able to outpunch him. Calderon was in a bad place, and things weren’t going to get any better, and I think that when he took the count he was beaten mentally as much as physically.
There was speculation in boxing circles that Segura might move up in weight from 108 pounds to meet Panamanian flyweight banger Luis Concepcion — but before the night was over that small-scale superfight went out of the window when Mexico’s Hernan “Tyson” Marquez defeated Concepcion in a huge upset in Panama City.
I was able to see that fight, and it was incredible — 10 rounds of all-out fighting, each man hurt in turn. Marquez seemed to be in front, but the issue was still in doubt when the ringside doctor decided that an ugly, shelf-like swelling over Concepcion’s left eye was too severe for the Panamanian boxer to be allowed to continue. Although the bell sounded for the start of the 11th round in reality this was a TKO at the end of the 10th.
Ironically, Marquez had been hammered around the ring in the final minute of the 10th round as a desperate Concepcion threw everything he had at him.
Boxing doesn’t get any more exciting than this. Concepcion banked everything on blasting Marquez out of the fight, but the sturdy battler from Sonora kept firing back. It became almost a survival of the fittest. Each man was dropped in the first round, while Concepcion suffered a heavy knockdown in the third and went down again in the 10th in what seemed more of a slip, although the eight count was given.
Concepcion fought a courageous yet almost crazy fight, walking straight in, paying no heed to defence, willing to accept punishment for the chance to land his bombs. Marquez was smarter and more disciplined. There were a couple of times when I thought Marquez was on the brink of being overpowered. I feel a bit guilty in confessing that I would have liked to have seen two more rounds.
The little men provided fire and fury on Saturday, but, on a day packed with boxing activity, the big disappointment was Francisco Palacios’s passive performance in losing a split decision to Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in their cruiserweight title bout in Poland.
This was a fight that the New York-Puerto Rican boxer could have won if he had just thrown more punches in the later rounds. Palacios was slippery and awkwardly clever with his constant-motion, switch-hitting style, and he seemed able to hit Wlodarczyk almost when he pleased — but he was far too cautious.
Wlodarczyk wasn’t landing a lot of punches, but the Polish boxer was pressing forward and showing the judges that he wanted to fight. With the crowd roaring every time their man landed a punch, and (I believe) the ring announcer keeping the fans galvanized by bellowing Wlodarczyk’s nickname — “Diablo! Diablo!” — over the public address system — it was the wrong atmosphere and the wrong location for Palacios to try to tiptoe his way to victory.