Ivan Calderon outboxed WBO strawweight champion Moises Fuentes through three rounds, and then most of the fourth. But suddenly, the fight changed, with Fuentes cornering Calderon and unloading on him to end the fourth, and in the fifth round, it all fell down for Calderon.
Fuentes, 10 years Calderon's junior and eight inches taller, continued his barrage as the fifth started, dropping Calderon on a flurry in the corner, and doing it again moments later. With Calderon, 37, favoring his right arm, he took another knee without being hit. The referee called it off, and "Iron Boy" may have heard the final bell of his great, Hall of Fame-caliber career.
The end came at 1:22 of that fifth round.
Calderon (35-3-1, 6 KO) wasn't quite his old self in the first three rounds, but he didn't look terribly far off. He still has the natural ability to outbox a fighter like Fuentes (16-1, 8 KO) -- who is quality, don't get me wrong -- in his sleep, but he just couldn't keep it up long enough. We saw a similar situation with Calderon against Giovani Segura. Legendary as he is, Calderon's time has come, and he'd be wise to hang up his gloves for good. He would leave the sport with a valiant final effort, a true world champion in an era where those are few and far between, one of the genuine elite boxers of his generation.
For Fuentes, it's a scalp, but one that came beaten up. He's a good fighter, but Calderon's ability was enough to make him look foolish in the first few rounds of the fight. He has a future in the sport, but tonight showed mostly that yes, he could successfully hunt a wounded animal. He deserves credit, but the real Ivan Calderon is not the fighter he defeated tonight.
After the bout, Calderon said he would go home and speak about his future in boxing with his family, not retiring, but certainly, it's on his mind. If this was the last time we saw Ivan Calderon in the ring, I can truly say it was a pleasure over the years to watch him operate.