Robert Garcia has long grown used to working around the clock for the betterment of his vast stable of boxers.
These days, the former 130-pound champ and now A-list trainer finds himself overseeing vastly different projects.
“I’m getting a lot of stuff down around the house,” Garcia joked to BoxingScene.com, in making the most of his time indoors in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. “Look, nobody wants to be home but we are all experiencing the same thing and have to work together and do their part so that it can go away that much quicker, whenever that is.
“In the meantime, though, I’m getting to do a lot of things I haven’t been able to do for years.”
Among that list is the simplest of things; being able to spend quality time with his family. For years, Garcia has remained among the more active figures in the sport, seemingly in a different venue every weekend working the corner of one (or more) of his athletes. The Southern California-based trainer—who reigned as a junior lightweight champion during the late 1990s—has long ago gained a reputation as one of the best cornermen in the sport, and with it a growing list of boxers seeking his wisdom.
It all came to a screeching halt with the past couple of weeks, however, as the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis has prompted mandatory curfews and shutdowns worldwide. The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) was among the first to cancel events, wiping out the entire March schedule in accordance with the state-issued lockdown. Most shows in April and May have been canceled as well.
“We had to send everybody home,” Garcia said of his boxers who normally train out of his Riverside (California) facility. “Three of my Dominican kids (including junior middleweight contender Carlos Adames) couldn’t even leave since flights to Dominican Republic were canceled. So they are stuck in the house, and frustrated with their families thousands of miles away.
“The whole boxing world is blocked off right now, all sports. Of course, everybody is frustrated. They want to know what’s going on, and the ones I train and manage, I have to be honest and just tell them nothing is going on until this is over. None of us are happy about it, but we just have to make the best of it and do our part until we’re all able to go back to work.”
For Garcia, it means strengthening bonds with his already tight-knit family.
“For me, it gives me the chance to spend more time at home with my loved ones,” notes Garcia. “We’ve been doing a lot of cooking together, doing things around the house I couldn’t because if I wasn’t at a fight with my (fighter), I’m working until 7 or 8 o’clock at night training fighters.
“These past couple of weeks, it’s been a nice change. I’m waking up to my grandson every day. He’s 10 months old, he’s starting to express himself—he’s not talking yet but making noises with his mouth to let us know what he wants. I’m enjoying my time at home with family, taking walks with my grandson—I’m not saying I’m happy about what’s happening and all of just waiting to go back to normal, but once you (embrace) reality, all you can do is just make the most of it.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox