Promoter Bob Arum was present at Madison Square Garden today, hyping Saturdays pre Puerto Rican Day clash between Puerto Ricos Ivan Calderon, the WBO junior flyweight champion, and Mexicos Jesus Iribe.
The bout will headline in the Theater, the 4,700 seat venue, rather than the big room, which holds 20,000 plus. Calderon is immensely popular in PR, as he possesses a pleasing persona along with top echelon skills which puts him near the top of pound for pound lists even among those who dont really know whats going on under 126 pounds.
TSS chatted with Calderon (33-0-1) for a few minutes, and found him to be a likable, humble hitter. A few days ago he announced that hed kayo Iribe, a 16-6-5 boxer whose rep grew when he gave Brian Viloria hell last August, before getting the short end of a UD12. Of his six losses, hes been stopped twice, and is a forward moving pressure fighter.
The 35-year-old champion is excited that hes fighting someone other than Rodel Mayol. He gave the Filipino Model a crack at his crown last June at MSG, underneath the Cotto-Clottey main, and that bout was stopped and declared a TD in the sixth after a clash of heads in round five left the champ bleeding badly from the forehead. Calderon didnt look stellar in that scrap. Those two reconvened three months later and again banged heads, this time in the seventh. The cards this time favored the champ, via a split decision.
Calderon admitted to me that his KO promise was basically just a ploy to make Uribe think. He has just six KOs as a pro, so its not as if everyone was going to be holding him to his pledge. Hell be doing what he does best, which is hitting, and not getting hit, being smart, and slick, and quick. Top Rank matchmaker Carl Moretti told us the possibility for an upset is real, as Uribe is a stubborn, strong battler who will be in Calderons grill from the anthem on. Dont be put off by the record, Moretti says, Iribe has been in plenty tough in fights in his native Mexico. His ability to endure pain while trying to inflict is considerable, Moretti said.
SPEEDBAG Arum was asked, of course, about the progress or lack thereof in negotiations for Pacquaio-Mayweather. Im optimistic its gonna happen, he said. He didnt give even a hint on meetings or anything…
—FYI Murray Wilson, Yuri Foremans manager, said the fighter will have surgery to rebuild his right ACL, which was strained, and address the meniscus (cartilage which was torn), tomorrow. Hell be out of the hospital the same day. The doctor said in four months hell walk normally and will be 100% in six months. The fighter has probably been favoring the right knee, which he first hurt when he was about 15 riding bike, and impacting his punching power, for awhile. I have no problem fighting in February against anyone, Wilson said. He said Foreman might still hold the No. 2 ranking in the WBA. Cory Spinks is someone who is a possibility. He also said he has no big beef with Arthur Mercantes conduct on fight night. He followed the rules, the rules say stop it if you arent defending yourself. The fact that Yuri was hurt and he should have stopped it, thats a judgement call. If Yuri hit Cotto with a good right, you never know what would happen. Yuri agrees with this, and hes the one who counts the most.