Former world champion and current top trainer, Robert Garcia, is one of the most well known and respected trainers in the sport. Garcia has taken over a dozen fighters to world championship belts and has worked with some of the biggest stars in the sport. Currently, Garcia’s number one fighter is his brother, Mikey Garcia, who is undefeated in 35 fights and is looking to add a world title in his third weight class.
In part 1 of my interview with Robert Garcia, I talk with him about his brother’s upcoming fight this weekend and discuss how he feels Mikey will do against Dejan Zlatičanin. Garcia also talks about his brother’s time out of the ring, how he feels Mikey is compared to before the layoff & gives his prediction for this weekend. Additionally, Robert gives his thoughts on what could be next for his brother and if he thinks Mikey matches up well with Terence Crawford. Here is what Robert Garcia had to say.
Robert Brown: Mikey Garcia has a fight against Dejan Zlaticanin. How is the preparation going for the fight so far?
Robert Garcia: We’ve been training very hard. We know and Mikey knows the importance of this fight and how big a win would be, to become a world champion at the lightweight division and becoming three division world champion is huge for us. Training has been going great, we’re finishing up the last couple of weeks of sparring and we’ll be ready for the fight on the 28th.
Robert Brown: How has Mikey looked in the gym? Are you worried about any sort of ring rust going into this fight?
Robert Garcia: It doesn’t concern us at all. I actually think it has helped Mikey out to forget about boxing for a little bit and do other things and enjoy his life and kids. At this point I believe that Mikey is better than before. Now he’s doing it with a passion, now he’s doing it because he’s got challenges and goals to accomplish. Before it was too easy for him and he was just doing it just to make a living. Right now he’s doing it because he has passion and he wants to accomplish many things. The ring rust I don’t think will be any problem, I think Mikey will have no problem when it comes to ring rust.
Robert Brown: Are you concerned about anything that Dejan Zlaticanin brings to the table?
Robert Garcia: Look, there’s always concern when it comes to fighting, especially a world champion. He’s a world champion and he knows that this fight for him is the biggest fight of his life and I’m sure he’s training like never before. Does anything concern us? A lot of people talk about his power but I think Mikey has the same power or maybe even more power. Mikey has 29 knockouts out of his 35 wins and the champions has 15 knockout out of 22 wins.
I think Mikey has a better percentage of knockout, so not only is Mikey a very smart fighter and very good counter puncher, but he also has tremendous power. We definitely have to be prepared because we know it’s going to be a tough fight but nothing really concerns us to where we might think we don’t have a chance. We know we have everything to win the fight and unless something happens and God doesn’t want us to become great in boxing, anything could happen in boxing. In regards to our opponent, I feel very confident that Mikey will dominate without a problem.
Robert Brown: Do you believe Mikey’s counter punching skills and the fact that Dejan Zlaticanin likes to come forward, do you think that will suit Mikey in this fight?
Robert Garcia: It has always suited Mikey when his opponents come forward. It’s always been his best performances when his opponents come looking for him, so I think this will be a perfect fight for Mikey to show his skills and power.
Robert Brown: Are you expecting a knockout in this fight?
Robert Garcia: Look, we hardly ever like to make predictions but in this fight I am very confident with the way Mikey has been training and the sparring partners that we have. I have no doubt that Mikey will win by knockout.
Robert Brown: Assuming you get past Zlaticanin would you like to unify the titles at 135lbs?
Robert Garcia: Mikey wants the big fights and now in this stage of Mikey’s life and career, he has goals and plans. He wants nothing but big fights and if big fights are available at 135lbs against Flanagan or Linares, Mikey is more than happy to take those challenges because that’s what he wants.
People have even mentioned Lomachenko, and while Lomachenko is a good friend of mine, if he decides to move up in weight, Mikey is more than welcome to give him an opportunity. If there are none of those challenges, then Mikey is going to move up to 140lbs and challenge the big names at 140lbs.
Robert Brown: Terence Crawford is looking for a big named opponent. Would Mikey be willing to move up and take that challenge and fight Crawford?
Robert Garcia: Those are all the fights that Mikey wants. Like I told you, Mikey wants to make history, he wants to make a statement. Now that he came back, he wants to fight the best and yes Terence Crawford is one that Mikey knows that he could fight and it would be a huge fight for both of them, so definitely those are the types of fights that Mikey wants.