Ivan Calderon's goal is to throw a no-hitter on Saturday in New York.
And while that is an admirable, though difficult goal for guys like Johan Santana and CC Sabathia, it's almost impossible in Calderon's profession.
Calderon is one of the finest defensive boxers in the world, a man who has become one of the top-ranked pound-for-pound fighters despite his lack of ability to punch. By making his opponents miss, Calderon has fashioned a 32-0 record, which he'll take into a bout against Rodel Mayol on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
"That would be a great fight, if I could do that," Calderon said. "I would love it."
He's realistic enough to know, however, that even as good defensively as he is, it's virtually impossible. Something – anything – has to touch him during the course of 12 three-minute rounds.
Not necessarily, according to the ebullient World Boxing Organization light flyweight champion.
"Theoretically, I guess it could be done, but that's not what the people are coming to see, even though it's boxing," Calderon said. "When they watch my fights, I'm always giving, but I'm never receiving. I think they want to see me receive a little, too."
So Calderon says if he loses the chance for the no-hitter early, he may opt to stand in front of the taller, more powerful Mayol in order to make a more crowd-pleasing fight.
Bob Arum, Calderon's Hall of Fame promoter, said it's a misnomer anyway to label Calderon strictly a defensive fighter.
"There are guys you'd say that about, because they are so concerned with defensive that they stink the joint out," Arum said. "But it would be absolutely incorrect to say that about Iron Boy. He throws a lot of punches. He can't break an egg – he has no power – but watch any of his fights. He throws a lot of punches. His hands are always moving.
"Nobody can hit the little [expletive]. That's the thing. To say he's another Willie Pep would be wrong.
"He has great defense, but he throws more punches than most guys do in a fight. The problem is, like I said, no power. He couldn't break an egg if his life depended upon it. But he lets his hands go plenty. If there's no action, it's not his fault."
Calderon's goal is to defend successfully against Mayol and point toward a unification bout with International Boxing Federation champion Brian Viloria later this year. Viloria, who was on the 2000 U.S. Olympic team, won two of their three fights as an amateur.
Arum said the bout is a very real possibility, possibly on one of the "Latin Fury" pay-per-view cards the company has been producing.
Calderon said he'd love the fight and the exposure that goes with it.
"It would be a challenge to fight [Viloria] and I would accept that challenge and look to put on a good show for the people," he said. "As a fighter, those are the kinds of fights you want. I have to do my job [Saturday], though, before I get ahead of myself. I've been pretty good in my career about staying focused on what I have to do.
"But if there is a guy like Viloria, who has a big name from the Olympics, that I could fight, of course, that's going to be of great interest to me. Tell Mr. Bob Arum I say yes already."
Before I get on to answer your questions and comments in this week's mailbag, please, if you're not already doing so, follow me on Twitter. Feel free to send me questions there for use in a future mailbag, too. If you do, please put your first and last name in as well as your hometown.
Please tell me you're going to write a piece on the b.s. that is Wladimir Klitschko-Ruslan Chagaev. Chagaev wasn't well enough to fight Nikolai Valuev, but he's fit enough for this fight? Give me a break.
John, I've written what I've had to say about Chagaev already. However, please note that in his defense, it was the Finnish Boxing Federation that would not allow him to fight. He wanted to fight, and I think he proved that by taking the bout with Klitschko, who is far better than Valuev, whom he was scheduled to fight in Helsinki.
Miguel Cotto should not even be a factor in whether or not Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the greatest fighter in the world. This man is one of the only boxers alive to fight as many fights as he has fought with an undefeated record. The critics are foolish for not commending him on his abilities. He made Oscar De La Hoya look ridiculous, he knocked out Ricky Hatton and anytime there has ever been someone that would step up to the challenge, they have tried and failed. However, back to my point: Miguel Cotto lost to Antonio Margarito and then Sugar Shane beat Margarito senseless, so in all honesty, unless the fight between Cotto and Moseley was a fluke, how can anyone write that Floyd Mayweather has to beat Miguel Cotto. The other three I say OK, but Cotto has to go.
Cotto is one of the top 10 fighters in the world and he's in Mayweather's division. Mayweather is saying he'll fight all the top challengers. I think the fight has the potential to be a 21st century version of the 1980 classic between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. Mayweather has carved a niche as one of the finest boxers of this era, even if he doesn't fight Cotto. But why shouldn't he, Lee? If he wants to be considered an all-time great, he needs to beat the best in his era and Cotto is one of the best.
Floyd Jr. is really a boring fighter. If he wants to be the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter again, he must earn it. He's just good at talking a lot. Come on, Floyd! Don't be a coward; fight for the love of the game, not for money. If you do, boxing fans will love you for real.
He's a wonderful boxer. He's not a toe-to-toe slugger like Arturo Gatti, but I find his fights plenty interesting. He says he's going to fight all the big names around his weight, so I'll take him at his word. If he starts to back off on that, believe me, I'll call him on it. In my mind, though, he's a wonderful boxer with great offense AND great defense and doesn't deserve the criticism that flows in his direction.
No way Mayweather beats all four of those guys you mentioned in your column (Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto) without an angle. He'll do something to tip the scale. I hope Steele doesn't work his fight.
Jose L. Munoz
Richard Steele won't be officiating any of his fights because he's retired as a referee. Mayweather insists he's going to fight all of the top-ranked contenders. Realize, though, that because of how much money he makes, it's almost impossible for him to fight more than twice a year, because promoters would have trouble affording that. But time will tell what he does and he knows we'll be watching carefully.
I want to make a comment on your column about Floyd practicing his defense. Floyd doesn't need to practice defense against Marquez because Marquez is not an offensive fighter. Marquez is just a pure counter-puncher. I would say this fight would be a real boring fight between a scared defensive player (who only wants to fight smaller/lighter fighters) and a pure counter puncher (who still can not believe he was beaten by Manny after being knocked down three times in their two fights).
Long Beach, Calif.
We'll agree that Marquez is a counter puncher. Other than that, we will have to agree to disagree, Jay. I want to state on the record that I wish Mayweather had opted to fight Pacquiao first. I suspect the reason he didn't was because of his dislike for Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum. But there are a lot of people, myself included, who think Marquez beat Pacquiao twice. Despite what you think, any fair observer would have to admit that both fights were tossups and could have gone either way. No one would be knocking Mayweather now if he had chosen to fight Pacquiao. Given how close both Pacquiao-Marquez fights were, why is he getting heat for fighting Marquez? It doesn't make sense to me.
Where does Floyd go from here if he has a lackluster performance against Marquez? Personally, I'd like to see him in against Shane, Miguel or Andre Berto.
If he has a great performance, I think he fights Pacquiao next. If he has a poor outing, I would bet on Mosley. There is zero chance of him fighting Berto.
Surrendering the title
How do you feel about Dawson's vacating his IBF belt so that a rematch with Glen Johnson may be negotiated? I think it's a good move. Fans have been demanding that the rematch take place as Dawson narrowly won the first fight, though I believe Dawson had won.
The Dawson-Johnson fight is the fight that should have been made, so I'm glad that's the road Dawson is taking. After Dawson's rematch victory over Antonio Tarver last month, promoter Gary Shaw was pooh-poohing a rematch with Johnson. But that was before he took a look at the gate receipts. Dawson-Tarver II only sold 1,400 tickets, according to Nevada Athletic Commission records. In two fights, Dawson couldn't sell 2,500 tickets against Tarver. That fact alone gave the Dawson-Shaw tandem zero leverage to negotiate a fight against Bernard Hopkins. I don't feel badly that a Dawson-Hopkins fight isn't being made, though, because a Dawson-Johnson fight will be far more entertaining.