Thursday, June 10, 2010


By Tony Mangia


Ivan Calderon walks into the mid-Manhattan gym at noon, surrounded by a posse of four. Kingsway Gym is full of reporters and photographers and if it wasn't for the boxer's shiny blue sweatsuit---emblazoned with his nickname "Iron Boy" on the back---you wouldn't notice him at all. Diminutive is the only word to describe him. Such is the plight of a 108 pound fighter; even one who is defending his world title against Jesus Iribe Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Calderon, the WBO jr. flyweight world champion, is no stranger to title defenses. This will be the southpaw's 18th title defense (17-0-1) since 2003. Even at 35, Calderon (33-0-1) shows no signs of letting up. He is coming off a seventh-round technical decision in a rematch against Rodel Mayol in September 2009. Calderon was outboxing Mayol throughout the fight until a bloody head butt stopped the fight and Iron Boy won on the scorecards.

The Puerto Rican Calderon is being cautious of Mexico's Iribe (17-6-4, 10 KOs). "I saw video of him and he is a strong fighter," the soft-spoken champ says, " he throws a lot of punches." Iribe is ten years younger than Calderon and is no stranger to top competition. He moves good and is tough and determined. This should be a good fight.

Calderon looked sharp at the workout. The leftie's hand speed is incredible---he looks like a smaller version of Manny Pacquaio---and he is proud to say he's trained very hard to put on a show for the people. "For our weight class to be a main event at the Garden is a great honor," he proudly states.

The often overlooked lower flyweight divisions--a few classes below featherweight--offer a refuge from all the mediocre fights in the higher---more visible---weight classes. The speed of the smaller fighters and the action in the ring never stops. The nine-year pro, Calderon, is routinely recognized as one of the best pure boxers in the game today. His trainer even had a hard time keeping the hand pads in time with the fighter's combinations during the workout.

For now, Calderon will stay focused on this fight, but has no plans of quitting the fight game. "I plan to move on up to 112 after this fight," he confessed, "Or even dare to go to 115." Either way, what these fighters lack in stature they make up in undaunted courage and skills.

The WBO junior flyweight championship is this Saturday night at The Theater at Madison Square Garden and will be televised on the FSN Network and Fox Sports Espanol. The under card includes the pro debut of Steven Badgley, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot, who jokes he used to fight in the "ghetto ring", a makeshift boxing arena in the desert of Kirkuk, Iraq.



According to the, a 57-year-old drunken lonelyheart, in Ohio, called the 911 emergency line fives times looking for a husband---any husband for herself. She was convicted of improper use of the 911 system.


Cant' believe the Washington Nationals pulled Steven Strasburg after the seventh and seven straight strikeouts! Thanks a lot Joba Rules. Nolan Ryan must be laughing in his cleats.


Not being a big hockey fan (I didn't watch one minute--except the outdoors match) all I can say is the Blackhawks have the coolest logo in sports. Canada, it's been 17 years since a Stanley Cup called the Great White North home, but you still have the Olympics.

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