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Segura’s on the Cusp

(Photo © K9 Photos)
(Photo © K9 Photos)

By Steve Kim

By the end of 2011, Giovani Segura was considered one of the better fighters in the sport. No, he wasn’t one of the most technically sound or stylish performers in the game but it was hard to argue with the results of this two-handed slugger. Simply out, Segura cut a swath through the light flyweight division while riding the crest of two career-defining victories over the previously undefeated Ivan Calderon.
But after getting stopped by Brian Viloria in an attempt to win the WBO flyweight title in December of that year, he found himself on the sideline for all of 2012. Segura didn’t just lose a fight; he lost an entire year.
According to Segura, the lesson learned from the Viloria loss was: “There’s no small opponents; the other one is that inactivity does affect you. I had never been inactive in my life. It was like a year and some months and I felt it this time.”

February of last year saw his return with a ninth round stoppage of Omar Salado. Three months later, Segura was on the losing end of a tough scrap versus Edgar Sosa. As he’ll tell you, he felt the effects of ring rust in that contest. “It did feel very frustrating that I couldn’t throw punches that I used to throw. I was missing punches that I shouldn’t be missing. My timing was really bad and I was seeing punches coming and I wasn’t able to move and the power was not there. All that inactivity came out and that was the reason that I learned. But the opportunity was there and we couldn’t say no to the fight,” said Segura on Monday at the Ponce de Leon Boxing Club in Montebello, California.
It was a disappointing defeat but not a backbreaker, his adviser, Ricky Mota told Maxboxing, “It could’ve gone either way. We came up short and we lost. We were in Sosa’s hometown but it was a close fight. It wasn’t like [Segura] got knocked out or stopped or anything career-ending. He was still in the mix. A lot of times, people think you lose -- you’re out. It depends on how you lose. Sosa’s an experienced guy. I think sometimes you do well in your career losing. Of course, we didn’t go in there to lose the fight. We wanted to beat Sosa but at the time, that was the best fight and when you have a small fighter at 112, 108, it’s hard getting them the right fights.”
The fight did lead to a shot at the undefeated Puerto Rican prospect Jonathan Gonzalez, who Segura proceeded to butcher in four short rounds.
“I saw that as an opportunity to prove to myself to the public that I was back and I still have what it takes to be champ,” stated Segura, who was then matched with the always-dangerous Hernan “Tyson” Marquez. In one of the best - and physically brutal - fights of last year, he stopped Marquez in the 12th and final round.
“It was awesome; it was progress,” Segura recalls of that bout which took place last November. “Like I said, I learned from my wins, my losses and I built up my body. I built up my timing, my strength, my power and it was perfect. The ‘Tyson’ fight was what I needed to take all that out of me, take the power, take the energy, the conditioning that I had. I never lost my power and versus a guy who’s young, can take a punch and who can hit too - so it was perfect for me.”
With a victory over Felipe Salguero this Saturday night in Tijuana, Segura could be next in line to face unified flyweight beltholder Juan Francisco Estrada. He is looking at this weekend’s assignment as a continuation to the possible summer match-up. “After this fight, we’re going to go back in the gym right away. There’s no vacations for me and we’re looking forward,” he says.
Segura has indeed learned his lesson. Sometimes you really are only as good as your last fight.
“I think it was a reality check for him,” explained Mota. “You’ve got to take the sport serious. You can’t let go of the gas pedal because this sport, when you’re on top, everyone wants your position and you just gotta work hard once you’re up there. So I just think that was a major wake-up call. You gotta take it serious and you gotta be on your A-game all the time.”
Here’s this week’s episode of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly:
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