By Chris Robinson
Well-respected trainer Robert Garcia is on the road again, dividing his time between his bases of his personal facility in Oxnard, California and the Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos six hours north.
While in Oxnard, Garcia will be working with former champions Brandon Rios, Kelly Pavlik and his core stable of fighters and his time in the Bay Area will see him working with WBO junior featherweight champion Nonito Donaire, whom Garcia reconnected with this past weekend.
Donaire is eyeing a July 7th return at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California against IBF champion Jeffrey Mathebula and the early word coming from camp is that the Fil-Am star is working as rigorously as ever.
“It’s always great to join him and see him train,” Garcia told me on Sunday evening. “He’s always trained very hard and for this fight, the way I talked to him and the way that I’ve talked to some of the assistants that he’s got right there at the Undisputed Gym, he’s training harder than ever. This is the hardest he’s ever trained. He’s got great sparring partners, so he’ll be in great condition.”
Garcia noted that Donaire’s chief sparring partners at this moment are once-beaten Greely, Colorado native Robert Rodriguez, who already had been prepping with Donaire, and Gilberto Sanchez Leon, a battle-tested Mexican with a 32-10-2 (12 KO’s) record who Garcia brought to camp.
In an interesting side note, Garcia pointed out that if Rodriguez and Sanchez Leon are successful with Donaire, they will likely be brought to camp in Riverside as sparring mates for unbeaten featherweight contender Mikey Garcia, the younger brother of Robert who is getting ready for a July 28th duel with WBA champion Celestino Caballero.
Garcia also revealed that Donaire has stepped up his work with sprint coach Remi Korchemny, a surefire sign that he is pushing himself to the limit.
“As everybody knows, he’s working with Remi, the strength and conditioning coach that he has,” added Garcia. “And normally he [works with] Remi once a week and for this training camp he’s working with him twice a week. Training with Remi is not easy; I’ve seen his training and it’s very, very hard.”
Donaire’s last ring endeavor saw him pull out a split-decision over brash Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. on February 4th in San Antonio in a fight he won handily despite the courageous effort from his opponent over the second half of the bout. Many were expecting a quick blowout from Donaire on that night but Vazquez proved his worth by hanging around for the full twelve rounds.
Garcia sensed the detractors coming out after that match and instead of griping, Donaire is acting accordingly by preparing himself for a virtuoso performance against Mathebula.
“He’s knows that it’s very important,” Garcia stated. “He knows that he’s moved up in weight and that he’s had a few criticisms from his last fight, especially for not knocking his opponent out. I thought he looked great against a solid champion. But there’s always criticisms anytime you don’t look too great, that’s the first thing they do is criticize. So he knows that it’s very important for him to come out and give a good performance.”
Now back in Oxnard, Garcia will be making the trek to Las Vegas this weekend, as Pavlik faces off with newfound rival Scott Sigmon at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Friday night while undefeated junior welterweight prospect Andrew Ruiz faces local favorite Taylor Larson one night later on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley undercard at the MGM Grand.
After handling business in Vegas, Garcia will get back to his temporary routine, which will likely see him in Oxnard from Monday to Wednesday while hitting up San Carlos Thursday through Saturday to work with Nonito.
For Garcia, the beat never seems to stop.