Career Record & History of Ivan Calderon
The “Iron Boy” might only be 5-foot tall and weigh a buck and change, but he’s one of the ten best fighters in the world, and perhaps the best at 105-108 since the days of Ricardo Lopez. He is undefeated in 34 fights, with 18 of them being world title fights. What he lacks in power (only 6 KO’s) he makes up for in skill, quickness, durability, and experience.
Calderon had a long amateur apprenticeship, fighting in many international events as the premier light flyweight in Puerto Rico. He lost in the first round of the 2000 Olympics and turned pro at the relatively late age of 26.
Calderon began making his way through neophytes and journeymen, showing great craft and speed. Several undercard appearances on ESPN provided good exposure. He ran off a nice unbeaten streak and after 15 fights, he had zoomed to the top of the WBO ratings.
He won the WBO Minimumweight Title in 2003 by beating anonymous Eduardo Ray Marquez and began defending it regularly. From 2003-2007, Calderon defended his titles three times annually. His ten defenses at 105 lbs. include wins over contenders Alex Sanchez, Roberto Leyva, Noel Tunacao, Daniel Reyes, Isaac Bustos, and Ronald Barrera.
In 2007, Calderon made a jump in weight to 108 lbs. and took on his toughest opponent in long-reigning Hugo Cazares. Calderon won a hard-fought split decision, his supreme boxing skills rising above Cazares’ power. He rose from an 8th round knockdown and showed tremendous inner resource to gut out the win. Two more unanimous decisions followed, over 22-2-1 Juan Esquer and former champ Nelson Dieppa. This set up a rematch with Cazares. The bout was again close and hotly contested, until a butt opened up a gash on Calderon, who retained his title with a technical decision.
Calderon fought a strange two-fight series in 2009 with hard-nosed Rodel Mayol. The bouts were awkward, with Mayol playing the role of a rugged Billy goat. Both fights were extremely close, with Calderon calling on all his skill and toughness to stay in those fights; and both bouts were ended by head butt-induced gashes on Calderon, bringing his streak of fight-ending cuts to 3. Their first fight was a technical draw, with Calderon getting the nod in the second fight.
Calderon will fight Jesus Iribe on June 12, ending a 9-month layoff—the longest of his career. At 35 and a gaining list of talented young fighters on his heels, Calderon’s days may be numbered. If Calderon is inclined to take on the kind of fights that would give his career a hall of fame shine, he better do it soon.