By Chris Robinson
The buzz is building each day for the December 3rd rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. Set to take place inside of Madison Square Garden, the second encounter between the two rivals boasts a solid undercard and will go down as one of the year’s biggest events.
I remember talking to Margarito’s trainer Robert Garcia in August and was told that the Tijuana fighter was eyeing an October 3rd return to camp in Oxnard, Calif. Knowing that Garcia always runs a busy schedule, I checked in with him to see where everything stood on Margarito’s preparation.
Garcia of course is referring to WBC and WBO bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire and his brother and featherweight contender Miguel ‘Mikey’ Garcia, who both share an October 22nd HBO-televised card from the WaMu Theater inside of the aforementioned Garden. Donaire faces off with super flyweight champion Omar Narvaez while Garcia’s showcase will see him meeting up with capable journeyman Juan Carlos Martinez.
“No yet,” said Garcia when asked if he had begun working with the former champion. “We decided that I’m going to finish up with Nonito and with Mikey, so on the 22nd is when we will start camp together.”
Garcia has been visiting Donaire’s camp up in San Carlos at the Undisputed Boxing Gym and has once again been taken aback at the Fil-Am fighter’s abilities.
“Nonito did ten rounds of sparring on Monday, he looked very good,” said Garcia, who added that Donaire might shoot for twelve rounds of sparring on Saturday. “Very impressive, very powerful. He trains very hard and when I’m not there he has great people with him. The work he does with Remi, his strength and conditioning coach, is just unbelievable.”
Garcia noted that Mikey is currently training in Riverside and has been sparring with stable mate and WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios. But given the different training locales for Garcia and Donaire, Robert constantly finds himself traveling back and forth from Southern to Northern California and admits it can be wearing at times.
“It’s not easy. It gets tiring,” Garcia continued. “The five and half hours that I drive to Northern California, it’s time that I have by myself. Where I get to think on my own, cry if I have to cry. It’s my own time. I don’t mind doing it. I know I’m going to great people. [Nonito] and everybody always treat me really nice. Everybody wants me there.”
And when he is back in Oxnard, Garcia is sure to keep tabs with the boisterous Rios, who seems to be slated for a clash with once-beaten Manchester native John Murray on the Cotto-Margarito II undercard. It should be a crowd-pleaser and Garcia confirms that is exactly what Rios is looking for at this point.
“Brandon wants those kind of fights. Hopefully it can last a few rounds. Brandon wants to go to war for twelve rounds. He said he wants to move up to 140 and face [Marcos] Maidana. That’s the one who’s going to give me a war. That’s the fight he wants to fight. Those type of wars like Castillo-Corrales, Gatti-Ward, he wants to be in that type of fight. And he’s the only one who can give him that fight.”
[Reader's note: For a closer look at Nonito Donaire, Brandon Rios, and Antonio Margarito in and out of the ring, please visit Behind the scenes with Donaire, Rios, and Margarito ]
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at [email protected]