Anyone who follows the sport of boxing knows of the recent showing of animosity between Lightweight contender "Bam Bam" Brandon Rios and Junior Welterweight contender "Vicious" Victor Ortiz.
However, what seems like a slew of recent events is actually a storm that has been brewing in the city of Oxnard for years now.
At or near the center of the controversy stands Robert "Grandpa" Garcia. The former IBF super featherweight champion is now a red hot trainer on the rise, with first-hand knowledge of both fighters. Garcia currently serves as Rios’ trainer.
"I first met Victor at the Junior Olympics I had some fighters there," explains Garcia. "Victor would hang around with the California fighters often going places with them like the mall."
Garcia states that the relationship with Victor began with Garcia's offering of assistance.
"I approached him about whether he was going to the World Championships and Victor told me that he couldn't afford it so he didn't think he would go. At that point, I felt that he was a nice kid so I told him if he ever needed my help to contact me."
From this point the relationship began between Ortiz and Garcia, the latter bringing the former to his Oxnard hometown to live with his family.
About having to sleep on the floor that Ortiz claims he had to endure:
Garcia states that when he brought Ortiz to California, he stayed with his father Eduardo Garcia. When the time came for Garcia to move Ortiz, the fighter was given his son's room so he could have his privacy.
When Garcia started housing more fighters (such as Rios), he built out the bottom of his house so they could have their own space. He even converted one of his half-bathrooms into a full bathroom.
Once it became apparent that the fighters were outgrowing their current living space, it was Garcia who paid for much of the expense of the apartment that Ortiz and his brother Temo lived in.
This flies in the face of the story told several times over that Ortiz took up a job in order to support he and his brother.
"I have the receipts of the expenses I paid for the apartment, upwards of $1200 every month for 18 months,” Garcia insists. “Victor didn't have to do anything. By the time he moved into the apartment he had turned pro so he had that money ,the money from Top Rank ($1500 per month) and sometimes he would get money from this construction company I friend of mine owned.
“Don't get me wrong Victor likes to work. He is responsible and self motivated but for him to say he was mistreated by me by sleeping on a floor is just part of the lies"
On the animosity between Ortiz and Garcia:
"I tried to get this kid to a point where I could get someone to help him and sponsor him. Initially, we got Shelly Finkel to help him out but after several performances where he looked bad, including a horrible performance against Daniel Jimenez to qualify for the Mexican national team, Shelly backed out.
“Well, the problem came when Shelley wanted what was owed to him, $17,000. That's when I called in Cameron Dunkin who called Top Rank and got him about $15,000 of the $17,000 owed. The rest came from my dad Eduardo and I have the receipt for that as well.
"It's funny because he says how we cannot stand the name Ortiz and it cannot be mentioned. But who was the one who told their promoter to tell Cameron Dunkin that I couldn't be around the fights this weekend even though I had a fighter (the Dunkin managed Alfonso Blanco) on that card?
“I couldn't work my fighters corner because he didn't want me around? Was he scared of me?"
On the beginning of the end, when Garcia sensed their time together was ending:
"It's funny, because as I started to get more and more fighters, Victor would get more and more agitated often telling me he wanted a new trainer. ‘Well Victor, I am your trainer,’ I would tell him, and he would say that he didn't want me training anyone else like Luevano, Brandon and my little brother (featherweight contender Mikey Garcia.
“He said that since my father only trained Feroz (Fernando Vargas), he felt he should be treated the same way. I told him that my father made millions with Feroz but Victor would tell me that he would make millions and he deserved to be treated this way.
"More and more, it became apparent to me that Victor wasn't the fighter I thought he was. That Maidana fight was nothing. I have seen him cry himself out of the ring sparring. I have seen him given up in amateur fights.
“He simply does not like to be hit. That's not just me saying it plenty of people saw it. My brother my nephews Brandon all saw what kind of fighter Ortiz was.
"My brother Danny knows what type of fighter he is. I mean he told Victor to stay away from a guy he had down twice? A fighter he should have stopped yet he chose to box? Had that been Brandon, he would have put Peterson away yet Victor chooses to stay away.
“It's because he does not like to get hit and looks for ways to avoid it at all costs."
When the time came for Ortiz to flee from Garcia, the accusations occurred:
"He basically accused me of stealing $50,000 from him. I find it funny because at the time he left his biggest purse was $22,000 from the (Carlos) Maussa fight in New York. My cut from that was $3,000! There is no way I could have stolen ($50,000) from him; it's impossible and another lie from him to make him look good and look like a victim."
Where it became ugly:
"After everything had been done, I started getting calls from someone telling me they were going to hurt me and my family and that they knew where I lived.
“They did the same with Brandon as well. When they did it to Brandon, the idiot asked, ‘Victor what's the address,’ so that's when I knew he was involved in all this. Also when I found out who it was and went to beat him up, Victor's brother Temo was with him and ran like a little kid when I started kicking the guy's ass.
"The last straw and where it became personal between Brandon and Victor was when this guy went to Brandon's house he pointed a gun at Brandon threatening to kill him. Brandon's girlfriend (now wife Vicky) walked out and saw this. Brandon told her to go inside so she starts to run inside but slipped and hit her head on the floor cutting her head open.
"That nice guy persona - the kid I thought was nice when I brought him to California and took him into my house - was a lie plain and simple.”
On whether Rios and Ortiz will fight:
"I laugh at Victor saying he would end Brandon's career. I mean, I know what type of fighter Victor is. He hates to be hit and he would be hit plenty with Brandon. Why in the world would my brother threaten to stop the fight if he was beating Maidana? Because he knew Victor was hating what he had to endure.
"I would put Brandon in with Victor 100% but I mean what's the point? He says that Brandon needs the money of an Ortiz fight but who is on the rise and whose career has stalled?
Brandon gets paid, let's make that one clear. Also, Brandon has big fights on the horizon. His next fight will be a championship fight whether it is Soto or Acosta. Victor fought to a draw against a guy he had down twice. Don't get me wrong - Peterson is a good fighter. but Victor should have finished him"
"The way I see it is Brandon has business at 135 he has to make happen. At this point, it is getting hard for him to make 135 so after a few more fights we will be at 140. However, I would much rather go after guys like Khan and Maidana, real fighters not a guy like Victor who when you think about it brings nothing to the table."
"Also tell Victor that if he thinks my story is made up we will conduct a lie detector test on both he and I. I am willing to do it because I know my story is truthful and the stories he has are made up. I mean I heard about all the rumors of Victor sleeping with Brandon's wife, about him being the happy kid wanting the best for me and Brandon. Well, I just showed how opposite his words are and I am willing to back it up."