Top boxing trainer, Robert Garcia, has been training fighters for over 15 years and has bought many boxers to world titles. With so much success as a trainer, it is easy to forget that Robert Garcia was also a world champion as a fighter. Garcia won the IBF super featherweight title in 1998, defended it three times and amassed a career record of 34-3 (25 KOs). Robert has his final bout in 2001 and retired from the ring at age 26.
In part 2 of my interview with Robert Garcia, I get his thoughts on a potential Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin bout. Garcia breaks down the fight and talks about who wins it and why. Robert also talks about his former long time fighter Brandon Rios and why the two are no longer working together. Additionally, Garcia speaks about his own boxing career and why he decided to retire so early. Here is what Robert Garcia had to say.
Robert Brown: If Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin win their upcoming bouts, they are likely to face each other in September. If that fight happens, who are you favoring?
Robert Garcia: Look, Golovkin is very powerful, very strong, and right now one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. But Canelo is young, Canelo is being smart in waiting on making the fight last a little bit longer and when the moment is right, Canelo is going to fight ‘GGG’ and I really believe Canelo has the tools to beat Golovkin. Maybe last year ‘GGG’ was still too strong and powerful for Canelo, but Golovkin is not getting any younger and Canelo is getting a little bit wiser because he’s very young. I really believe Canelo could beat Golovkin.
Robert Brown: What are your thoughts on Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia?
Robert Garcia: Thurman vs. Garcia is a very even fight. Garcia always has a way to win, he always finds a way to win and a lot of people count him out but he finds a way to win. I pick Thurman but it won’t be easy, and I won’t be surprised if Garcia pulls it out, but my pick is Thurman.
Robert Brown: Recently Nonito Donaire and Brandon Rios left your camp. Can you explain the circumstances surrounding that?
Robert Garcia: In boxing, that’s nothing new. Maybe ten years ago, I would see that as bad or maybe I would get mad because fighters decide to leave me, but it’s already happened before, it’s not the first time or last time something like that happens. I’m very used to seeing that, not only with me but with other fighters.
Brandon Rios decided to train with somebody else. He came to me, he talked to me and was very straight up with me and he told me that he felt that he needed a different voice and somebody else to run his training camps, and I agreed with him. I told him, “I think you’re right, with me you’re too comfortable already, we became too close to where you don’t do what I tell you to do. You started making your own decisions, so I agree that you need someone else.” We made that good decision. We’re still in touch, we’re still good friends and it happens in boxing.
Robert Brown: Are the doors open to both of those fighters if they wanted to come back?
Robert Garcia: Definitely, if they need the help, I would be more than happy. Sometimes where you’ve been with someone for too long, you get too comfortable and you don’t want to do as you’re told, so sometimes it doesn’t make any sense. But yes, I’m very close to all my fighters, they respect me and everything. So definitely, if those chances are like that, I love all my fighters, even the ones that are not with me anymore. I would give them another chance.
Robert Brown: You retired at 26 years old, still in your prime and went into training. What was the reason for that?
Robert Garcia: When I was 26, I was already too tired of the sport. The reason is, my father was my trainer and everything I know, I owe it to him, I can’t blame him for anything, but he was very strict with me when it came to boxing. Since I was a teenager, it was always boxing, I was never able to do anything else. I was never able to do any school activities or any other sports, I grew up in boxing.
I thank my dad because I became a world champion but at the same time, when I turned professional, it was even worse. Training camps for two months, my dad wouldn’t allow any phone calls, any visits. I had my two younger kids and I missed a lot of school activities, first days at school, awards, sports with my little ones. By the time I was 26, I was just sick of the sport and I decide to call it quits.
I never really thought I would come back to boxing as a coach but I decided to come back a couple of years later just to help out my dad with his amateur program, and I fell in love with it. I love the traveling, that was the main thing that caught my attention, all the traveling without having to make weight, without having to go to sleep early. I enjoyed every trip that I did, I enjoyed the city, the locations.