I have a hard time getting over the fact that he is the same height as my wife, who I call Smallie. But that aside, everybody who has seen him knows WBO light flyweight champion Ivan Calderon (34-0-1, 6 KOs) is a pure pugilist.
The Puerto Rican retained his title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Mexican Jesus Iribe (17-7-4, 10 KOs) on Saturday night at Madison Square Gardens Theater, and showed his ring acumen all night long. Save for the second round, when Iribe sent Calderon to the mat with a right hand. He rose quickly, with a clear head, and a newly solidified intention not to let the banger Iribe repeat the feat.
The judges saw it 118-109, 118-109, 116-111, but a minority in the audience of 2,150, quite a bit under the capacity of 4,700, thought the Mexican did better. He certainly did press Calderon, but as TV analyst Raul Marquez pointed out to me after, he too often launched a single shot. One aint gonna get it done against the mobile slickster Calderon.
US Army helicopter pilot Steven Badgley made his pro debut. The 30 year-old Poughkeepsie, NY native had 20 amateur bouts under his belt. He set up makeshift ring in the Iraq desert last year, during his second tour in Iraq, and trained with fellow soldiers. The light heavyweight met Carlito Gonzalez (1-2), out of Yonkers, in a scheduled four rounder. Gonzalez sent Badgley down twice in the first, and the bout was halted by ref Will Rosado at 1:55. The grapevine said prior to the bout that the military man might be in tough; the grapevine was lyin.
Queens Wil Rosinsky had his way with Angel David Gonzalez (6-8-1; from Guaynabo, PR) in a light heavyweight scrap. Rosinsky, a busy hitter with middle-level power, played pitcher and Gonzalez catcher for three rounds, and the Puerto Rican didnt leave his stool to start the fourth. With the TKO win, Rosinsky is 11-0, with 7 KOs.
Pay Lynchs kid, Glen Tapia (from Passaic, NJ; 7-0), looks like one to watch. He wasnt in tough, with North Dakotas Nick Runningbear (4-3), and scored a TKO2 victory.
The fight of the night came just before the main event. Two minis, Japanese import Takashi Okada (2-0-1, 1 KO) and 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian McWilliams Arroyo (3-1, 3 KOs), had the crowd jazzed. The PR man hit the deck in the second, and the judges rewarded the man who took the long plane ride to get here…Judge Steve Weisfeld scored the bout 39-36, while judges John McKaie and Steve Epstein saw it 38-37, all for Okada, who was smiling during after the bout.
SPEEDBAG NYC boxing lifer Tommy Gallagher, ex trainer, manager and NYPD cop, is branching out. He a partner in Jailbird Productions, a company putting out crime dramas, for film and TV. Gallagher promises theyll get superior access to the principals involved in the stories–no second, or third-hand tales here. He learned the Hollywood ropes working on The Contender in 2005-2006, and says he has a couple flicks in pre-production. He worked the corner of Gabriel Bracero (10-0) who beat Phillys Julius Edmonds (7-7), and will celebrate by signing a deal with Lou Dibella.
—Arthur Mercante Jr wasnt in da house, or at least, he didnt work any of the bouts. Probably best that he lay low for awhile, let the lingering controversy from last Saturdays Yankee Stadium situation fade away. Probably best he wasnt at MSG, as he cant be happy with Tom Hauser, who raked him over the coals in a Friday piece. Best case scenario, the ref perhaps takes away from this a new understanding that the trainer is probably a better gauge of how his man is faring than the ref is. Nope, Foreman wasnt taking a nasty, prolonged beating, as weve seen in other situations which resulted in scarier outcomes, so Arthur gets off easier than he couldve here. Lets hope he becomes a better ref from all this, watches the tape and soberly critiques himself, and that we never see another ring death in NYC, or for that matter, anywhere.