By Chris Robinson
Since becoming familiar with Robert Garcia’s talented stable of fighters in Oxnard, Calif. over the past few years, I could never deny the entertainment value that former lightweight champion Brandon Rios always brought to the table when in camp.
From practical jokes to good old-fashioned trash talk, Rios helped to make for a lively environment that served as a backdrop to the intensity he always displays while in the gym.
Ahead of his rematch with Mike Alvarado this weekend, things were a little different for Rios, as he chose to have a closed camp for reasons that weren’t fully disclosed in the previous weeks.
Rios meets Alvarado for a second time on Saturday night inside of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas in an HBO-televised attraction and eyebrows were raised when it was reported that he had enlisted the services of strength and conditioning coach Angel ‘Memo’ Heredia for this assignment.
Heredia is known for his work with four-division champion Juan Manuel Marquez and his history as an admitted supplier of performance-enhancing drugs to Olympians in years past has made some question his involvement in boxing.
Speaking with Garcia recently, he opened up a little on Heredia’s place within Team Rios.
“Those are the changes that we did,” said the former junior lightweight titlist and two-time trainer of the year. “We added morning workouts and evening workouts with him. Noon, Brandon is mine from twelve to two.”
Garcia pointed out that Rios used to do all of his core work inside of the gym but seems to agree with his decision to add more dynamics to his regimen as his career reaches greater heights.
“That’s the only thing he would do,” said Garcia or Rios’ boxing routine. “He wouldn’t do morning runs and if he did it would be the treadmill, just to sweat. Now he did tracks, sprints, all kinds of stuff. And in the evening he also did a workout where we brought in some light weights and bands and stuff like that.”
Garcia points out that he is a little in the dark as to the exact drills Heredia is putting Rios through, but he seems fully confident in the results thus far.
“In the gym, he never even showed up to my gym,” added Garcia. “Never even came into my gym, because that’s my job. But in the mornings, we let him work and he knows things that I don’t know when it comes to conditioning and stuff like that. He did a great job.”