VA
  • TGT on YouTube
  • About TGT
  • The TGT Team
  • How TGT rates
  • Responsible Gambling Advice
  • Contact Our Team
  • Writers Wanted
  • Content Disclaimer
  • Affiliate Disclosure
Contains commercial content
Billboard Left
Billboard Left
The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Part Three: The Greatest Defensive Fighters Ever – Ivan Calderon

Part Three: The Greatest Defensive Fighters Ever – Ivan Calderon

Small in stature, big in skill
Publish Date: 04/03/2022
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Ivan Calderon

“I want everybody to remember me as the best pure fighter in the world and a champion who helps his people”—Ivan Calderon

Lost in the hodgepodge of alphabet soup organizations, too many divisions, being too small, and working in the shadows of other greats—particularly fellow countryman Miguel Cotto—Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon may not have convinced the world that he was the best stick-and-move guy in the business, but in his prime he wasn’t far off. Calderon was a ring-roving, jab-happy, paint-your-face-red kind of defender, and a southpaw to boot. He had the timing of a prog-metal drummer, could parry better than the Karate Kid could wash a car, was slipperier than a water slide at a theme park, but happened to be the sister puncher of Paulie Malignaggi. We have some big fights coming up and you will want to pick the best bookmaker out there!

Check out the top sportsbook providers for Boxing!

Bet365
1.
Favicon
4.6/5
Bet $1 & Get $200 in Bonus Bets
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Virginia (US) Lottery Board
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bet $1 and Get $200 in Bonus Bets at bet365. Deposit required. Bonus Bets winnings are added to Bonus Bets balance. Bonus Bet wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
BetMGM
2.
Favicon
4.6/5
100% up to $1000
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
PayNearMe
PayPal
Bank Transfer
Virginia (US) Lottery Board
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 21+
BetRivers.com
3.
Favicon
4.5/5
100% up to $500
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
PayNearMe
Bank Transfer
VIP Preferred
Virginia (US) Lottery Board
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 21+
PointsBet
4.
Favicon
4.5/5
5 x $50Bet Credits
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
E-Check
Prepaid Card
PayNearMe
Virginia (US) Lottery Board
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 21+
FanDuel
5.
Favicon
4.5/5
Get up to $1,000 back in bonus bets
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Prepaid Card
PayNearMe
PayPal
Virginia (US) Lottery Board
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 21+

Oddly enough, his nickname was a play on “Iron” Mike Tyson’s. Ivan worked at Waste Management in his native Puerto Rico and his co-workers mistook him for having heavyweight-esque power in a pint-sized frame. Calderon’s career was a 10+ year contradiction to that faulty reasoning—a career in which he scored only 6 knockouts in 39 paid contests. Not that it mattered much. The Guaynabo-native, with or without the godsend of a hard blow, was able to traverse through two divisions as a titleholder, was able to rate as the 9th best practitioner in the game at one point, and became recognized as the second greatest to lace them up at 105.

Before the mini-maestro penned his name to a pro contract, however, he had a lengthy amateur career, accumulating a win-loss record of 110-20. One of those wins came against a man he would develop a long friendship with, the aforementioned Miguel Cotto. Although a simple 3-2 victory and Calderon being clearly older, Cotto stated that, “He beat me. He kicked my ass. So I became his friend and we never fought again.”

Calderon traded leather with Brian Viloria, as well. He came out on the short end of the rivalry in terms of numbers, winning but one of their three fights, but Ivan had his hand raised in their most important match, an Olympic qualifier for the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. Calderon then went on to lose his first round of fighting against Indonesian, Masara La Paene.

When the 5’0” stylist finally took his silky smooth footwork—both inside and outside the ring—into the pro game, it was an unwelcoming site for those who peered across the ring at him. It’s not as if they might not have enjoyed a good dance, but when it’s potentially over 30 minutes long, they couldn’t buy a punch if Pat Sajak was asking them for it, and a pepper shaker of fists was being flung their way in return, you could envision the concern.

Calderon proceeded to slip and slide his way through the ranks, handing out lesson after lesson in ring generalship, eventually earning a shot at a portion of the championship in his 16th fight against Nicaraguan, Eduardo Ray Marquez. The ensuing display was little more than a game of cat and mouse, only this cat from Central America didn’t have the speed, swatting power, or hunting experience to efficiently track down his prey. Calderon looked like a southpaw Willie Pep in there at times, spinning, strafing, and countering his way through five rounds. In the 6th, with Marquez giving chase, Ivan connected with a hook inside of a telegraphed right hand, ducked Marquez’s follow up left hook, repositioned himself, stepped forward, let loose with a stinging left, and then let rip with an accurate right hook-straight left combination which sent the titleholder reeling into the bottom rope—a gorgeous sequence. Marquez arose but proceeded to finish the fight answerless.

Lack of offensive effectiveness from opposition extended to Calderon’s next nineteen bouts, all but one of which were title fights (the only one that was not was the scheduled contest with Edgar Cardenas who came in three pounds too heavy). His pinnacle may have well come in back-to-back bouts against Daniel Reyes and Isaac Bustos, both belt-wearers at one time. He pitched shutouts on 4 of the 6 judges’ cards and seemed to master every facet of his game: the jab popped crisply; the hand speed was incontestable; the incremental steps that setup both offense and defense threw off his foes’ alignment; he appeared indefatigable, and the punch detector was cranked to its highest setting. He was in “the zone”. Let the Grueling Truth help you when it comes to sports betting!

(I imagine others would label the first Cazares fight as his best, and I can see why. When stationary, Calderon got himself in trouble against the hard-charging Mexican, even touching the canvass in round eight. But when the five-foot-nothing lefty decided to put the moves on, he made Cazares look the fool. Regardless of what your choice performance was, Calderon proved unbeatable at his best.)

“Iron Boy’s” footwork was the most essential element of his game. It was always a perpetual game of catchup for the men who opposed him, as he positioned and repositioned himself in ways that were largely unpursuable. He rarely made his lines of retreat obvious. Sometimes he would glide left, sometimes he would glide right, or sometimes he would simply back out or in. It allowed him a unique distinction: the ability to outbox everyone from the outside as the shorter man. To add further confusion to the mix, the shifty small-man would feint down an avenue with his torso, only to feint again or retreat in the opposite direction. Other times he would bounce in both directions until an aggressor made his move and then he would react and place himself propitiously. There was no hiccup in his steps either. Nothing in his motion looked labored or forced.

Check out the top sportsbook bonuses for boxing!

Bet365
1.
Favicon
4.6/5
Bet $1 & Get $200 in Bonus Bets
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Min. Deposit: $10
Go to Bet365
Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bet $1 and Get $200 in Bonus Bets at bet365. Deposit required. Bonus Bets winnings are added to Bonus Bets balance. Bonus Bet wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
BetMGM
2.
Favicon
4.6/5
100% up to $1000
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Requirements (WR): 1x Bonus, Min. Deposit: $10
Go to BetMGM
Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
BetRivers.com
3.
Favicon
4.5/5
100% up to $500
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Requirements (WR): 1x Bonus, Min. Deposit: $10
Copy
Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
PointsBet
4.
Favicon
4.5/5
5 x $50Bet Credits
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Requirements (WR): 1x Deposit, Min. Deposit: $10
Copy
Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
FanDuel
5.
Favicon
4.5/5
Get up to $1,000 back in bonus bets
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Requirements (WR): 1x Deposit, Min. Deposit: $10
Go to FanDuel
Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+

Unfortunately, legs are quicker to give out than most other tools in a pugilist’s arsenal and things seem to decay at a faster pace for smaller prizefighters. So at 35 years of age and sporting a record of 34-0-1, the long-term belt-holder finally met his match in Mexican slugger, Giovani Segura, twice. At this juncture, Calderon could no longer outpace men like he used to, relying instead on smart footwork. And he did well in spots, stepping neatly out of range or ducking Segura’s big hooks in some instances, but on both accounts he could not hold the waves of attacks at bay and eventually found himself unable to continue (To Calderon’s credit, the first bout was named Ring Magazine’s 2010 Fight of the Year; not too shabby for a pure boxer). From there he managed a split decision over low-ranking Felipe Rivas and a knockout loss to Moises Fuentes in a last-ditch effort to regain his old glory.

Seeing the writing on the wall, Calderon announced his retirement in his hometown of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico and gave some parting words:

“This was difficult because (boxing is) something I love, but I want to say that I’m doing this not because I’m old or tired. I’m doing this because I want to work with the kids and youth, bringing them my knowledge and tips. I want to be an example for all my fellow boxers that when it is time (to retire) it is time, no matter if we are rich or poor. The health is what matters. I want to thank all (the fans).”

Puerto Rico and the boxing world benefitted from a cerebral and sure-footed man imparting his wisdom and skill upon would-be conquerors, and the youth he works with will, too.

Calderon is an often-ignored addition, but he belongs in the pantheon of greats—etched face on the side of the mythical Mount Rushmore of Defensive Demigods.

Billboard Left
Billboard Left
Read Also
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
Elmer Ray: The Humble Man of Hastings
"Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for ...
BetMGM Promo
Peter Maher: An Irish Tribute
INTRO: I was seriously ill in 2018 with 7 nights in the ...
Lady Tyger’s Tale: How Marian Trimiar Mauled the Boxing Establishment of the 1970s and 80s
To Feed the Ambition in Your Heart is Like Carrying a Tiger ...
The Forgotten Canadian Champion (And Maybe It’s Deserved): Billy Hawkins
As Mike Goodpaster and I prepare our popular Old-Time Boxing Show podcast, ...
The Army Boxer Who Knocked-Down Muhammad Ali (1960)
I had wanted to write a boxing story about Junebug Hudson for ...
The Twilight Rounds: Rod Serling explores the dark side of boxing – Round seven
“In this corner of the universe, a prizefighter named Bolie Jackson, 183 ...
The 1888 Colored Heavyweight Champion: George Godfrey
By January 1888, George Godfrey had been the Colored heavyweight Champion nearly ...
Midnight For Ernest Hemingway: His Boxing Life (1899-1961)
It is boxing publisher, Dennis Taylor that suggested Ernest Hemingway as a ...
Social Casino of the month
Stake.us - Sign up now! Sign up now!
Top Brands
Top Bonuses
Stake.us
Stake.us
Stake.us Review
4.6/5
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Review
4.6/5
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Review
4.6/5
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots Review
4.5/5
Pulsz.com
Pulsz.com
Pulsz.com Review
4.5/5
Stake.us
Stake.us Bonus
5% Rakeback
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Bonus
30 SCs on 1st Purchase + 4.5 SCs FREE
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Bonus
Get $5 extra in FREE play
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots Bonus
7,000 Gold Coins + 10 Sweeps Coins
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Pulsz.com
Pulsz.com Bonus
5,000 Gold Coins + 2.3 Sweepstakes Coins
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Latest News
Top 10 NBA Players of the 1970s
Sure Barry was an asshole, but he was ...
Top 10 Catchers of the 1970s
Fosse is best known for his run-in with ...
Top 10 NFL Offenses headed into the 2023 Season
Many questions are being asked headed into the ...
Betting Tips
06/04/2023 - 8:30 pm
Ball Arena
Tip:
Nuggets to Cover
-8.50
FanDuel
06/01/2023 - 8:30 pm
Ball Arena
Tip:
Nuggets to Cover
Nuggets -8
FanDuel
05/29/2023 - 8:30 pm
TD Garden
Tip:
Heat to Cover
Heat +8
FanDuel
Our Latest YouTube Videos
Video: NBA Finals Series Preview and Prediction: Jokic of Playoff Jimmy for the win?
NBA Finals Series Preview and Prediction: Jokic of Playoff Jimmy for the win?
Video: Boxing History 101: Randall
Boxing History 101: Randall "Tex" Cobb the Man who shut up Howard Cosell
Video: 1919 Cincinnati Reds: True Champions
1919 Cincinnati Reds: True Champions
Sportsbook of the month
PointsBet - Get your Bonus Bet now! Get your Bonus Bet now!
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....
Top Online Casinos
Top Casinos Bonuses
Stake.us
Stake.us
Stake.us Review
4.6/5
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Review
4.6/5
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Review
4.6/5
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots Review
4.5/5
Pulsz.com
Pulsz.com
Pulsz.com Review
4.5/5
Stake.us
Stake.us Bonus
5% Rakeback
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Bonus
30 SCs on 1st Purchase + 4.5 SCs FREE
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Bonus
Get $5 extra in FREE play
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots Bonus
7,000 Gold Coins + 10 Sweeps Coins
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Pulsz.com
Pulsz.com Bonus
5,000 Gold Coins + 2.3 Sweepstakes Coins
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
Bet365
Bet365
Bet365 Review
4.6/5
BetMGM
BetMGM
BetMGM Review
4.6/5
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Review
4.5/5
PointsBet
PointsBet
PointsBet Review
4.5/5
FanDuel
FanDuel
FanDuel Review
4.5/5
Bet365
Bet365 Bonus
Bet $1 & Get $200 in Bonus Bets
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Bet $1 and Get $200 in Bonus Bets at bet365. Deposit required. Bonus Bets winnings are added to Bonus Bets balance. Bonus Bet wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Bonus
100% up to $500
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
PointsBet
PointsBet Bonus
5 x $50Bet Credits
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
FanDuel
FanDuel Bonus
Get up to $1,000 back in bonus bets
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Our Team
Mike GoodpasterAuthor IconJosh SchwartzSamuel TeetsSimon Briffa
+8
Mike Goodpaster
Mike Goodpaster
Chief Editor
Author Icon
Christopher Carlson
Content Writer
Josh Schwartz
Josh Schwartz
Editor
Samuel Teets
Samuel Teets
US Sports Veteran
Simon Briffa
Simon Briffa
Sports Editor
Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis
Editor
Chris Benedict
Chris Benedict
Editor
Author Icon
Malik Zorrok
Author
Author Icon
Daniel Kornhauser
Author
John Raspanti
John Raspanti
Author
Author Icon
Buddy Gibbs
Author
Brian Coburn
Brian Coburn
Author
Peter Bonahoom
Peter Bonahoom
Author
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”

Contact us: contact@thegruelingtruth.com

Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

21+NCPG
Move to Top
Close
Stake.us Exclusive Bonus
5% Rakeback
Promo Code
Copy
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
Payment Methods
Bitcoin
Litecoin
Ethereum
Dogecoin
Highlights
  • Exclusive promo code: TGTSOCIAL
  • Play Plinko, Hilo, Crash and more!
  • Get Stake Cash bonuses every day!
Stake Originals
Dice
Crash
Plinko
Mines
×
Your Promo Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site