One Last, Last Time for Segura at 108
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (March 28, 2011) Special to Doghouse Boxing
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Prior to his first hook-up with Ivan Calderon last year in Puerto Rico, Giovani Segura privately pledged that this would be his last foray in the junior flyweight division. He would make this one final fight at 108-pounds in an attempt to unify his WBA title with Calderon's WBO belt. This chance at history (and its accompanying payday) was worth the sacrifice. But after this one, no way, no how would he ever shrink back down to this weight class. It's a wrap, done deal; fugeddaboutit.

Segura’s next bout, a non-title affair versus Manuel Vargas, was contested at flyweight.

But as he prepares to face Calderon once again this Saturday night in Mexicali, he is preparing to make the junior flyweight limit.

"Yeah, I did actually have a lot of problems to make 108 at that fight," Segura admitted last week. "The last few pounds at the end, they were a nightmare for me and so after that, it's no secret for anybody. We all agreed it was not healthy to make 108 but at the end of the day, they offered me a good purse and we have to do what we have to do."

As unhealthy as it is for the 28-year-old Segura to emaciate himself, it's just a healthy for his checkbook. This was purely a business decision. "Yeah, because the main thing, right now, is get better paydays and this is boxing; the fans want this and we're here because of them," he said. "We have what we have; we have our food on our table because of them. So it's our job to please them. They pay for it." It was very simple; if they paid enough, he'd lose enough. Segura's manager, Ricky Mota, was blunt in admitting that the financial incentive to take this fight under these circumstances was tough to ignore. "At the small weight classes, your options are limited to big fights. So after we went to the drawing board, the rematch was the biggest for him, so we decided one more time at 108."

What's not helping matters are the rather cold conditions in Southern California, where storms rolled in the last week, putting daytime temperatures in the high 50s. Not the most conducive weather in which to shed pounds.

Segura admitted, "I've been struggling a little bit but finding one way or another to think positive and I keep my house warm. I don't try to eat nothing cold and stay away from the flu, which is the main concern."

One adjustment they have made for this camp is setting up at a local, private gym in Bell Gardens, just a few miles from their usual haunts at the Azteca Boxing Gym, which is spacious and has high ceilings. This other gym is about the size of a small one-bedroom apartment (in fact, it's located in a residential area and looks like an apartment that has been converted to a small gym) and with its cramped quarters, with the help of several portable heating lamps, the conditions can become quite tropical in a hurry.

This isn't so much a gym but a sweat box.

"First we were at Sal Casillas' gym for a week," Mota pointed out. "The only thing that we didn't like is that a few of our guys- including Giovani- twisted their ankles at the end. So we came over here. It was real small and we brought heaters and it's been a success."

So how warm does it get in there, once the fighters start moving around?

"I'll tell you like this," said Mota, laughing, "I never make it through the full workout; I always leave halfway through. One time Giovani tried to lock me in so I would stay with them."

Segura, who wears a plastic suit on this day, with one of those big blue rubber belts around his midsection, says, "It gets hot. I can't really tell; I don't want to think about how hot it gets here. I just try to go with the guys, right here. We make this hard job as fun as we can. We mess around; we put music [on]. We talk about the fights; we talk about upcoming fights, all about boxing. It's like school; we got our lessons, our teacher, but we get our recess, too. We make it fun."

The first few dozen pounds are the easiest for any fighter to shed; it's those last three or four that are the most grueling to shave off. As a boxer hits that stage, you can see his mood change, accordingly. Individuals who were once so amiable and jocular can suddenly become grouchy and short-tempered in the days leading up to a weigh-in. Segura hadn't hit that stage as of last week.

"No, I haven't," he said. "Y' know, it's been such a blessing in my camp; the difference from this camp to the other one- talking about the first fight with Calderon- it was like, I said before, it was a nightmare making the weight and I believe and I think that this time, it's going to be less. I made something different."

Segura's got an unlikely watchdog for his refrigerator.

"I talked to my family and we were talking about all the struggles that I went through making 108 and my mom told me, 'Y' know what? For this fight, I'm going to take care of you.' Now, I have my mom staying at my house, cooking for me and so far, she's been one of the toughest things of my camp because she is like a bully. I don't know how to call it," he said, with a bit of bewilderment. "Every time I walk to the kitchen, she's checking me out, asking, 'Can I get you something? What are you looking for?' She sleeps right there at my house and she's really been strict with me. I never expected that from my mom. All the time I'm coming from running, she has my juice right there, ready. When I go after, my salmon is cooked for me, all ready. She doesn't let anyone cook for me; she's doing everything and compared to the last fight with Calderon, I'm really advanced on the weight."

Segura really shouldn't be at this weight class anymore but while boxing is the toughest of sports, it's an even harder business. The bottom line demanded he put himself through this one last time.

"I mean, there's no secrets; Giovani has grown. I don't think he's a 108-pounder anymore, as he was two, three years ago," Mota stated. "I think 112's going to suit him a little better; he'll make [108] with a struggle. He's been doing things a lot better for this camp than he did in the previous fight with Calderon."

What won’t be revealed until Saturday night is just how adversely affected Segura will be by this ordeal but he says you can expect the same kind of fight we did the last time, when he simply wore down the classy Puerto Rican southpaw in eight rounds.

"I'm thinking we're both going to do our job and we're not going to make the mistakes we both did. I have my mistakes; he has his mistakes and we both are going to make the same plan. We are going to make a freakin' cartoon, Tom and Jerry, a cat chasing a mouse. He's going to try to move around, I'm going to try to catch him and whoever does the better job is going to win. I'm thinking I'm going to go up there and the fans are expecting a big KO from me. I'm going to go out there and look for the knockout but at the same time, I'll be patient and not try to get it as quick as possible.

"Just try to get him in a smart way. Not missing a lot but be patient, waiting for the right time."

BAD

It wasn't necessarily a spectacular performance from Mikey Garcia, who systematically broke down Matt Remillard in ten rounds, finishing the fight with a flourish by scoring three knockdowns throughout the ninth and tenth frames. At the highest levels of the sport, Garcia will be a guy that will slowly but surely impose his will in a careful and calculating manner. He seems to be a boxer with a lot of substance and depth to him. However, Garcia isn't a sprinter, prone to early highlight reel KOs, but a well-conditioned long-distance runner who shows professionalism beyond his years.

The question now is, is he ready for the likes of the true elite at the featherweight division? And will his style and temperament resonate with the Mexican fans who love their fighters to be blood-and-guts and passionate? Garcia is more surgical and proficient in his style. Regardless, he looks like a prizefighter ready to compete at the world-class level.

The main event was the tortoise and the hare, except in boxing, those who strike the quickest and most often will find the finish line first. In this case, Jorge Solis didn't even come within a few miles of seeing the distance, as he was blown away by the gifted Cuban, Yuriorkis Gamboa. This was a physical mismatch in every single way. While Solis moved around the ring as if he were shackled, Gamboa floated around the ring as if he were Fred Astaire. As Solis threw slow, looping punches that weren't so much telegraphed (but sent via Pony Express), he was countered by sharp, deadly accurate punches he didn't even see coming. After several knockdowns, the fight was waved off in the fourth.

I want to see how Gamboa deals with a tall, lean boxer who can stabilize him with a long jab and time him a bit (maybe Chris John?). But for all his flaws, he's still a very, very tough out. Right now, you won’t find many observers who believe Gamboa wouldn't topple “JuanMa” Lopez or be the betting favorite against every other featherweight on the planet.

HBO

Like many others, I was quite moved by seeing Nick Charles calling the Garcia-Remillard fight for HBO. Producer Rick Bernstein should be given a ton of credit for making this happen and fulfilling one of the last wishes of a man who seems resigned to his fate but is still fighting on a daily basis with valor and an upbeat outlook that is truly inspirational.

Anyone that knows Charles knows that he is a good man, one of the most gracious you'll find in this business. And he's not a guy who just happens to cover boxing; he's a guy that loves the sport and its participants- which is why many of those in the industry love him back.

K2

In the upcoming months, the Klitschko brothers will engage in anticipated match-ups against the likes of David Haye (on June 25th or July 2nd) and Tomasz Adamek on September the 10th (just who Wladimir and Vitali will face, respectively, is still yet to be determined). Just a few weeks ago, it seemed as though HBO would only have money in its budget for one or the other but not both. However, in talking to some people in the know, that doesn't seem to be the case and it looks like HBO is in line to televise both bouts.

It's been well over a year that HBO has been in the “K2” business as they went on their bum-of-the-every-fourth-month tour in Germany. Now, it looks like they are getting back into the Klitschko business as the brothers are now facing foes that bring something to the table. In my view, this is exactly what the model should be for both premium cable networks as it relates to their decision making strategies. Fair fights that matter, not just ones that happen to have a certain fighter involved.

We didn't get to see the Klitschkos face the likes of Albert Sosnowski, Odlanier Solis and Ruslan Chagaev on HBO, which were prudent decisions by the network. The problem was, we were still subjected to Andre Berto-Freddie Hernandez and the like.

NO CANADA

Early in the week, it looked like the “Super Six” bout between Carl Froch and Glen Johnson was going to land in Quebec City or Toronto on June 4th but I’m told much of this deal was contingent on Adrian Diaconu’s participation on this card. If he faced Chris Henry as the opening about (which Showtime would've televised), then it would've had the backing of InterBox and GYM, who co-promote him. Once Diaconu waffled (and it looks like he'll face Chad Dawson on the May 21st opener on HBO), the deal hit a snag.

On Friday, the organizers of this event finalized a deal to place the fight at the small room of the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City (where this past weekend’s card from Top Rank was staged). It's a shame that a fight of this caliber couldn't be featured on a better stage.

FINAL FLURRIES

Alejandro Perez scored a big knockout of Antonio Escalante in one round this past Friday night in Fairfield, California. Let's hope he doesn't have to go another year-and-change till his next bout...It was a mixed bag for Cuban boxers this weekend, as Gamboa shined and Erislandy Lara struggled to get a draw against Carlos Molina. Sorry, folks, just not a fan of these Cuban boxers, for the most part. They might be effective but they aren't particularly entertaining...Arum told me earlier this week that they were “focusing in on the Staples Center” for Top Rank’s June 4th show featuring Julio Cesar Chavez Jr...Best fight of this weekend was the featherweight tilt between Teon Kennedy and Jorge Diaz, won by Kennedy in a slugfest in Atlantic City before HBO went live. Kennedy is an old-school Philly tough guy...Best club fight had to be the four round war between Cleven Ishe and Ruben Rivera, who scrapped all the way through and had the crowd at the Commerce Casino on its feet. Ishe won a decision but even before the fighters left the ring, they announced a rematch...Can't wait to see the summertime documentaries from HBO on the Bjorn Borg-John McEnroe rivalry and Curt Flood...Can you believe VCU? No matter what happens next weekend, their run from the First Four to the Final Four is the story of this NCAA tourney. Jay Bilas is even a believer by this point, right?....

I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.Twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.

* Special Thanks To MaxBoxing.

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