By Michael Marley
Highly regarded boxing trainer Robert Garcia always has his suitcase packed.
Finding time to unpack, well that’s a different story.
Here's Garcia's air itinerary this week, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Puerto Rico and back to LA.
Garcia was with his lightweight world champ Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios for a Monday press conference at which ostensible April 14 opponent Yuriorkis Gamboa was a no show with no explanation (in Miami).
Garcia and Rios then jetted to Lose Angeels for a second presser and again the Cubano was not present. Rios then went home to Oxnard as Garcia grabbed a flight to New York his young prospect Allan Benitez fought and won on Lou DIBella’s sold out BB King’s “Broadway Boxing” club fight show Wednesday night.
Garcia had no time to catch his breath, leaving Thursday to the airport at 4 a.m. to catch a flight to Puerto Rico where his abundantly talented little brother, Mikey Garcia, will fight for Bernabe Concepcion Saturday night.
Three stops in three cities and heading to San Juan and Garcia still has not seen neither hide nor hair of the reluctant Gamboa.
“I’m more concerned about Manny Pacquiao, who won’t have much of a problem with Tim Bradley. If Manny wins that fight on June 9, we’re gunning for Bam Bam to fight him,” Garcia said. “I’d really like to see that one, it would be an all action fight, a war.”
“It’s no big deal,” Garcia told me of Gamboa’s disappearing act. “Todd (duBoef, Top Rank president) even out a $100,000 bounus for the winner of that fight and still no word from Gamboa.
“At first, we thought Gamboa was just playing mind games, trying to trick us into thinking he’s not training. It is unbelievable for a guy to walk away from a nice HBO fight like this. In Miami, Brandon was a little upset but, by the time we got to LA, Brandon just played it off. This guy, Richard Abril, showed up in Miami, talked a bunch of spit and even pushed Brandon. We didn’t even know who he was.”
Benitez, who comes from Juarez, Mexico, is “in the process” of becoming a solid fighter, Garcia said.
“I’ve got a lot of guys in my new gym in Oxnard, where I’ve got two big rings,” the fomer IBF junior lightweight champ said. “I’ve got a Mexican heavyweight also, Luis Carlos Rosa, he’s about 6-1 and a bit over 200 pounds. He just fought in the U.S. nationals and now is ready to turn pro.”
I could’ve rapped out with Garcia for hours but the ubiquitous trainer, who counts Pinoy sensation Nonito Donaire Jr. among his ring stars, had to make an airport run.