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Flores on Working With Pavlik, Martinez, Rios and More

By Chris Robinson

This past December saw former lightweight titlist Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ Rios lose his cherished WBA crown, yet it wasn’t solely because of the opponent he was set to face.

Then prepping for the second defense of his belt against the United Kingdom's John Murray, Rios would come in .6 pounds overweight in trying to make the lightweight limit of 135 pounds, with subsequent attempts also proving to be off the mark. Rios would lose his title on the scales and while he would end up pounding out Murray one night later for an 11th round TKO, his future suddenly became cloudy.
 
These days there is a new face in Rios’ camp as the brash 25-year old trains at the Oxnard Boxing Academy in Southern California. Strength and conditioning coach Cecilio Flores is now working with Rios in an attempt to see if a move back to the lightweight class is still within reach.
 
Flores is known best for his work with lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and is now bringing his philosophies into trainer Robert Garcia’s facility. And with Rios rumored to be meeting up with featherweight sensation Yuriorkis Gamboa this April 14th in Las Vegas, Flores’ role in camp is as crucial as ever.
 
During a recent interview, Flores had a lot to talk about, from his best moments working with Martinez during his memorable run on HBO, his initial foray into the world of athletics, what it is like working with Rios as well as former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, and much more.
 
In his own words, this is what Flores had to share…
 
Working with athletes…
“When I was younger I knew I wanted to work with athletes and I was an athlete myself and that always interested me. My mom was a massage therapist and a healer and I really loved the fact that, when I was hurt, she would just take care of me. I kind of grew up that way and I love just helping athletes; making them better, making them stronger, and I was probably about sixteen, seventeen when I knew this was the career I was going to go into.”
 
Getting down to the bottom of it…
“You know what? I didn’t know that aspect when I was sixteen, I just knew that working out and my older brother, always with weight-training, his friends would come over and work out at my house, and that really impressed the hell out of me. I always wanted to study more and find out ‘How do you get stronger? How do you get faster?’. It was not until after I graduated college, that’s when I really starting zeroing in on the massage therapy and athletic taping and just really studying the nutrition, just trying to get down to the bottom of it.”
 
Being drawn to boxing…
“I love all sports. A lot of boxers don’t like the U F C thing; I like everything. But boxing is just something that is an individual sport and the thing is, it’s the closest to gladiators that you are going to come to in this day and age. I like the fact that I can take part in that and really help athletes really enhance their strength and power to become better athletes in there. I like being a part of that.”

Working with his fighters…
“It’s a little bit different for some fighters and some fighters hire me for certain things. But I specialize in strength and conditioning. I do nutrition. I do massage therapy. I even cook for my fighters. I make sure that they’re eating right, they’re drinking the right supplements, and really that they are 110% ready by fight date.”
 
Knowing Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez…
“I met Sergio in early 2008. I actually met his trainer, a good friend of mine, Gabriel Sarmiento. He walked into my gym and I was introduced to him by my brother and ever since that day we became good friends and started working together. I told him what I did and he loved the fact that I did what I did. I was able to put myself into a position to help out Sergio Martinez.”
 
Always been a star…
“The thing is, about Sergio Martinez, is that he’s always been a star. I was just fortunate to take a small part in it. He’s really a great athlete, he’s a very disciplined fighter, takes care of himself in and out of the ring. Doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, and really walks the walk and talks the talk. Just an all-around good guy and it was a great learning experience just being with him and just being with him every day through camps.”
 
Martinez’s incredible 2010 campaign…
“2010, he got Fighter of the Year that year. That was an awesome year for the whole team. Matter of fact, Gabriel Sarmiento was also trainer of the year. He won the middleweight world championship from Kelly Pavlik and also he fought Paul Williams and he had that devastating knockout. It was great beating Kelly Pavlik, just because the history behind the middleweight championship is huge. I know, for Sergio, that meant the world to him. And he could have died the next day and he would have been happy. So, just to be part of that, that was awesome, and of course, Paul Williams, that knockout, I think they have it ranked number eighth all-time. It was awesome to be part of that.”
 
Knowing Martinez outside of boxing…
“He’s even keel, man. He’s a really chill guy. He likes to joke a lot and he likes a lot of comedy movies. He’s just a cool dude. Literally, he’s just like you and I. He has the belts, he has the money, but that doesn’t faze him. It’s just his maturity, his mental capacity it second to none. It’s remarkable.”

Forming a bond with Martinez’s trainer Gabriel Sarmiento…
“You know, I learned a lot from Gabriel Sarmiento. He’s a great guy and he’s a good friend of mine. Unfortunately he’s going through his legal troubles right now. But that’s something that he’s going to take care of and handle and stuff. But he’s just a good guy. I’ve had a chance to be with him the last four or five years and really develop a great relationship with him and I love him like a brother.”
 
Reconnecting with Robert Garcia…
“I’ve known Robert for many years now. I remember when he was an amateur, when he was a pro. In fact, my brother, he used to fight under his cards, so now that Robert’s father left him this great business, Robert is a very successful trainer. I used to work with Robert in the past, now we teamed up again and I’m officially his strength and conditioning [coach] for his team and all his fighters.”
 
Rios losing his title on the scales and a possible move back to 135 pounds…
“Unfortunately I was not working with him in that camp. I was not part of that, but if we do everything right, we’ll keep him at 135. But it’s really not up to me, it’s really up to Robert and Cameron [Dunkin] and all those guys. But if he can do it healthy, if we can do it right this time, let’s keep him at 135. But he’s getting to the point, he’s maturing and he’s getting older, and I think at 140, he’s going to do some damage up there at that weight.”

Kelly Pavlik’s future…
“You know what? I was very surprised that he came into camp at 172. He’s staying between 172 and 173 and it’s really up to Robert and Kelly and Cameron to decide. I could definitely get him down to 160, I think if we do it right, if we have enough time, he could do some serious damage at 160. If not, 168, there’s a lot of good fights and we just need to put a lot of muscle on him and he’s going to be a beast at 168.”
 
Customizing specific programs for individual fighters…
“First things first, we’ve got to set up a plan and once I find out what his weakness is and his strengths are, I try to tailor and customize a strength and nutrition program for that particular fighter. Not everybody is the same. We’ve got guys that are short, tall, different weights, so you have to be very careful with these athletes. Because that’s what they are, athletes. You’ve got to know what they hell you’re doing, if not you’re going to hurt the fighter. I don’t know who said this but they say boxing is a brutal, savage sport, but it’s really not. It’s really the fact that the coaching and the right training isn’t there. That’s what makes it more dangerous for the fighter. You got to take care of the fighters.”
 
Argenis Mendez, a new face in Garcia’s camp…
“I worked with Argenis in 08’ and a little bit in 09’. Now that Robert’s training him, I started retraining him as well. He’s having a great camp and he’s just one of those athletes that has a lot of skills man. I think time will tell and he’ll definitely be a world champion.”

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User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Kannabis Kid on 02-12-2012

[QUOTE=nycsmooth;11773929]w/his inflated recored flores needs 2 step up & box in the top 5...not guys that haven't fought in 3 1/2 yrs or 8 round club fighters...show us something...[/QUOTE] This is Cecilio Flores not BJ Flores pendejo I guess BJ…

Comment by nycsmooth on 02-12-2012

w/his inflated recored flores needs 2 step up & box in the top 5...not guys that haven't fought in 3 1/2 yrs or 8 round club fighters...show us something...

Comment by EveryDayDrew on 02-12-2012

Cool Interview. Hopefully Rios Can Pull 135 Off For The Gamboa Fight...I'm Excited To See What The Garcia Camp Is Going To Do In 2012. They Look Strong.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (3)
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