By Lee Bates
WBO light flyweight champion Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon of Puerto Rico (32-0, 6 KOs) will make his Madison Square Garden debut on June 13th against two time world title challenger Rodel Mayol (25-3, 19 KOs) of the Phillipines. Along with this being Calderon’s first fight in the Garden the bout also is on the eve of the annual Puerto Rico holiday parade. Fightnews spoke with Calderon regarding his nearly 10 month layoff, his knowledge of Mayol, and fighting in MSG for the first time.
Any concerns on coming into this fight with nearly 10 months of inactivity?
As far as the inactivity, its even on both sides as Mayol has not fought in nearly 10 months as well. I don’t anticipate any ring rust on my part at all come fight night.
Many fighters who fight in your weight division have to lose a lot weight in order to make the weight limit. How hard is it for you to make the weight limit at this stage of your career?
I’ve been very fortunate and have never had any problems making weight in my career. The heaviest I’ve ever been in my career is right now and I’m only 122 pounds with about a month to go before the fight. I started my career at 105 pounds and now my body is actually very solid when I make the 108 pound weight limit.
Have you seen Mayol fight before?
I personally saw some footage of his fight with then world champion Ulises Solis where Mayol was stopped. I will be well prepared for Mayol when we fight.
A lot of rumors have been surfacing about a possible fight with you and newly crowned WBC light flyweight champion Brian Viloria later on this year should you successfully defeat Mayol. Can you speak on that?
My promoter PR Best Boxing (Ivan & Peter Rivera) advised me the plan is actually for me to fight three times this year. There is no particular order on who I would fight first but Viloria is definitely a possibility. The sure thing right now is I’m fighting Mayol. He is my priority right now and I must defeat him first for the other fights to be possible.
You and Viloria have a history dating back to the amateurs where both of you defeated each other and he actually stopped you in one of the fights. How does the series stand in your fights against each other?
Viloria defeated me twice in the amateurs and I defeated him once. Understand that he didn’t knock me out or have me in trouble in his stoppage win over me. The rules for amateurs were the equivalent of the 10 run rule in little league baseball where they stop the game or in our case of boxing the fight, after a fighter is up by a certain amount of points. However, I still remember very well that he hits very hard especially with his right hand. He did defeat me in two tournaments but I defeated him in the big one which was the Olympic trials.
How excited are you to be fighting in Madison Square Garden for the first time?
I’m very exciting. I don’t know any fighter who wouldn’t be. When I’ve come to the MSG when Miguel Cotto has fought here in the past many fans would ask me when I was going to fight there and now its going to happen. My family is going to be there and it’s going to be on the eve of the Puerto Rican Parade so it’s really going to be something special.