by David P. Greisman
Boxing trainer Robert Garcia, whose stable includes Thomas Dulorme, Mikey Garcia, Evgeny Gradovich, Marcos Maidana and Brandon Rios, among others, spoke with BoxingScene.com on March 28.
BoxingScene.com: Who do you think wins the rematch between Pacquiao and Bradley?
Garcia: “It’s a pick’em fight. I think this time it’s going to be a lot closer. Timothy Bradley won the first fight — I think Pacquiao won it. I think Pacquiao won it, but this time Bradley’s on a winning streak. Right now Bradley knows that he’s unstoppable. He just beat [Juan Manuel] Marquez and he’s on a winning streak. I think this time’s going to be a lot closer. It’s going to be a fight that I can’t pick the winner right now.”
BoxingScene.com: After Pacquiao fought your fighter Brandon Rios, it seemed to me that it didn’t necessarily prove that Pacquiao was back, but that Pacquiao, despite his recent losses, hadn’t necessarily been shown to be done in the first place.
Garcia: “I think he looked good. He looked fast. He looked strong. But like you said, it didn’t prove much, but this is the fight where he has to do it. It’s Timothy Bradley, and he really has to do it. This is pretty much not his last opportunity, but the fight that he needs to win and prove everybody wrong.”
BoxingScene.com: As a former fighter and as someone who works with high-level fighters, how do you keep the hunger? How do you stay hungry later in your career?
Garcia: “At 26, I hated the sport. That’s why I retired. I wasn’t hungry anymore. And I was only 26 when I had my last fight. But now, what I’m doing, I just turned 39. I’m not 55, 60, 65 where I’m tired, I’m sick of the sport, I just do it for the paydays. I do it because I love it. I do it because I know I have to take care of my family, the people in my gym, my employees, my amateur program. I do it because I love it, and I still got 15, 20 more years of this.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you think it’s possible for a fighter in Pacquiao’s position to still be hungry, or is it potentially slipping at his age?
Garcia: “With all the fights that he’s had, the wars that he’s had, it can’t be the same anymore. He can’t be the same. We can hear it from his trainer. We can hear it from his manager. We can hear it from his sparring partners, from him himself — ‘I’m in the best shape of my life.’ That’s never going to be true. It’s never going to be true. It’s hard at the age and all the fights that he’s had, and all the wars, and all the money that he’s made, to be the same fighter.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]