By Ryan Maquiñana
Several media outlets have named Robert Garcia their Trainer of the Year, and with good cause.
With Nonito Donaire and Brandon Rios in the thick of the Fighter of the Year race for their accomplishments in 2011, along with the rise of others under his tutelage like little brother Mikey, Garcia has turned his Boxing Academy in Oxnard, Calif., into a powerhouse.
The new addition to the gym is former undisputed middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, who has arrived from Ohio and will attempt to resurrect his career.
Garcia spoke to BoxingScene.com on Saturday afternoon, touching on a variety of subjects involving his fighters as well as the boxing world at large.
BoxingScene.com: It seems like Brandon Rios vs. John Molina Jr. is falling through. What’s the status on that currently?
Robert Garcia: I’m not sure if it’s already not going to go through. There’s a chance of the fight happening. It’s just something that Top Rank and Goossen Tutor have to negotiate. But the fight’s still possible.
BoxingScene.com: What’s Brandon walking around at right now?
Robert Garcia: Right now he’s already doing really good with his weight. He’s got that nutritionist feeding him every day, exercising him every day. So it’s a lot better than previous fights.
BoxingScene.com: What’s the name of the new nutritionist?
Robert Garcia: His name is Cecilio Flores. He’s the same guy who’s done Sergio Martinez’s nutrition the past five years. Now I have him in my gym and he’s working for me in my gym, so he’s really great at what he does.
BoxingScene.com: In his last fight against John Murray, his sheer will shined through, but I doubt you want to have another issue with the weight like that again.
Robert Garcia: It was his heart and his determination, and actually a little bit of what Victor Conte advised us to drink and eat right after the weigh-in helped us a lot, too.
BoxingScene.com: Kelly Pavlik was reportedly heading over to train with you. Has he arrived?
Robert Garcia: He’s already in Oxnard.
BoxingScene.com: How is he fitting in to the new environment?
Robert Garcia: He’s fitting in. He’s enjoying it. He’s having a good time. We got good people around him, and he’s also working with Cecilio Flores. So Cecilio’s good at what he does, and I think he’s going to make a big difference.
BoxingScene.com: Is he campaigning at super middleweight?
Robert Garcia: He wants to at 168 [pounds], but we actually weighed him last Friday, and he was 173, so maybe 160 again. Maybe.
BoxingScene.com: Switching gears, it appears that Manny Pacquiao is inching closer to a rematch with Miguel Cotto. What’s your take on that fight if it happens?
Robert Garcia: We’re all going to see it, because whenever Pacquiao fights, everyone wants to see it, but I think that’s a fight that makes no sense. He already beat him and put a beating on him.
It wasn’t even close, so why would they even do that fight? That’s a fight that I’m going to see, and everyone’s going to see it, but it doesn’t make too much sense.
I think Pacquiao would be better fighting off somebody like [Lamont] Peterson, somebody like Timothy Bradley, but that’s their decision, and Top Rank and Bob Arum make those decisions.
BoxingScene.com: Pacquiao-Cotto II would mean Floyd Mayweather will fighting someone else on May 5. Most reports have Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Robert Guerrero the lead candidates by default.
Robert Garcia: I don’t see Floyd fighting Canelo anytime soon. I think Canelo has a big name and he’s a hell of a fighter, but it’ll probably be within a year or so before he fights Mayweather.
BoxingScene.com: What’s your take on a matchup between Mayweather and Guerrero?
Robert Garcia: I don’t think he’ll fight Guerrero either, because Guerrero’s a left-hander and Guerrero’s got a different style. Tough style. I see Mayweather fighting maybe [Erik] Morales next.
BoxingScene.com: Cinco de Mayo angle?
Robert Garcia: I think so. I think so, man. I don’t know, but maybe Morales.
BoxingScene.com: So are you saying out of those three fighters—Canelo, Guerrero, and Morales—that Guerrero offers the most difficult matchup for Mayweather?
Robert Garcia: Out of those? I think so. I think so. Guerrero would be tougher. And for Mayweather, Mayweather’s all business. Mayweather’s not about pride, about wanting to prove something. He’s about business. If it comes to business, he’d rather pick something like a Morales or a Canelo.
BoxingScene.com: Congratulations on winning Trainer of the Year. Do you feel vindicated?
Robert Garcia: It doesn’t make any difference to me. I think my fighters are the ones that get me there, and I have very great fighters, very good people around me. It’s all teamwork. It’s all teamwork.
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at www.maqdown.com, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.