A few hours before Nonito Donaire nearly decapitated a game Fernando Montiel with a left counter hook from hell, Urbano Antillon, Jorge Arce and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. took part in a Top Rank presser to help promote their upcoming bouts at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, a full battery of media on hand.
All of the fights hold a high degree of anticipation, with two of them being rematches. Urbano Antillon takes on defending WBC lightweight champion Humberto Soto once again on the Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley undercard this May. The other, with perhaps higher significance (by a hair), is the rematch between newly-crowned light flyweight champion Giovani Segura and Ivan Calderon.
Mexico’s Segura, 26-1-1 (22), pulled out what, on paper, looked unlikely. Not only did Segura beat Calderon but stopped the southpaw defensive wiz, who was not only slowed down by crunching body shots but had his will all but broken by the determined Segura back in August of last year. The fight ended via stoppage in the eighth round, with Segura adding Calderon’s WBO mini flyweight and The Ring magazine title to his WBA strap and world recognition as the orb’s best in the division.
For Calderon, the loss meant the first defeat in an amazing 34-1-1 (6) career which began ten years ago. Though Calderon lost very few rounds throughout the years, only a few fighters were able to drop and hurt him, with most ending up outboxed and outhustled by the pure boxing master.
A rematch has been in the works ever since, with Calderon looking to avenge his fall from boxing’s pound-for-pound rankings, while Segura will try and show that he can not only repeat the feat which everyone else failed to accomplish but make sure that a follow-up victory over the Puerto Rican will lead to bigger and better things.
“Yeah, the negotiations have been going on since last November” responded Ricky Mota, who handles Segura’s career.
“Giovani was ready to move up in weight but the rematch was always there. We finally came to an agreement and made it happen, same weight, for all the belts.” stated Mota.
A nice thing to hear was that the WBO has no scheduling conflicts, allowing Segura to be free and clear for the rematch to take place.
There was talk of the fight going back to Puerto Rico early on in the negotiations but after all was said and done, it went to Campeche, Mexico. One would assume money would dictate where the fight landed but Mota confirmed that wasn’t the case.
“To us, it didn’t matter if it was in Puerto Rico or went to Mexico; all we wanted was to get the best financial deal for Giovani. The money was pretty much the same if the fight went to Mexico or back to Puerto Rico.” said Mota.
So, with a once-defeated Calderon looking to avenge his lone loss in the twilight of his career, does Segura and his team have anything to worry about?
“I don’t know. [Calderon] said that he wanted the rematch; that’s why he took the fight. He thinks he can beat [Segura],” added Mota. “Giovani wanted to go up in weight after the Calderon fight but ‘Gio’ (as Segura is affectionately called) wanted to give Calderon the opportunity back. It was a type of honor thing. [Calderon] was on top for so long and Gio was given the opportunity to fight him, so it goes back his way now.”
“No catchweights. All of the 108-pound titles that Giovani brings will be in play again.”
Having beaten the legendary Calderon has brought a huge amount of respect to Segura, something he hopes to capitalize on and turn into the almighty greenbacks.
“[Segura] is happy; he wants the big fights. He wants more exposure since he is in the lower weight classes. The Calderon fight was a big step in his career,” said Mota.
Segura struggled a lot to make weight for the original fight and despite several roadblocks against him in Puerto Rico (a heavily partisan crowd and a very cold room to which Segura was taken to after the weigh-in, which lead to catching a cold overnight) showed Segura’s true grit and resolve to not waste the chance, going on to stop Calderon.
With weight issues arising for some time now, will this be Segura’s last fight in the weight class, win or lose?
“I think so. 112 will be a lot better for him. He won’t have to suffer to make 108 again. He has started camp early, so he will make weight again,” said Mota.
The deal was consummated primarily with bargaining between Peter Rivera’s PR Best Boxing Promotions, who handles Calderon’s career in Puerto Rico, and Fernando Beltran’s Zanfer Promotions (which does not actually have Segura signed but works closely with the his promoter, Top Rank, in the States).
“Fernando and Peter Rivera are great guys. I talk with everyone; I also speak to Juan Carlos (Beltran’s cousin and a big gun in the Zanfer organization). Zanfer works co-promoting with Top Rank and Zanfer moves the lower classes, so we all work together. Beltran manages a lot of Mexico’s TV deals and with Giovani being very popular in Mexico, even more so than here [the U.S.], Zanfer and Top Rank have been very good to us,” concluded a very happy sounding Mota.
Segura vs. Calderon II will take place on Saturday, April 2nd at the Estadio 20 de Noviembre, in Campeche, Mexico.