Q&A: Trainer Garcia takes on Maidana, discusses Rios, Pavlik
Maidana (31-3, 28 knockouts) is coming off February’s one-sided, unanimous decision loss to former WBC/IBF junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander in his welterweight debut.
Garcia is taking over for Rudy Perez, who formerly worked with three-division titlewinner Marco Antonio Barrera. An illness prevented Perez from being in Maidana’s corner for the Alexander fight, so his assistant, Cristian Rodriguez, worked the corner.
Going in with a record of 25-0, Maidana suffered the first loss of his career to Kotelnik, who outpointed him by narrow split decision in 2009.
Maidana’s loss to Khan was by close unanimous decision in December of 2010, in which Maidana had to rise from a first-round knockdown that resulted from a body blow. Maidana was credited with the win over Morales in April of last year although many believed Morales won.
Maidana follows former undisputed middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik in joining Garcia, whose stable already includes THE RING’s No. 4-rated pound-for-pound fighter and WBO junior featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire, THE RING’s No. 1-rated lightweight Brandon Rios, and THE RING’s No. 5-rated featherweight Mikey Garcia, who is Garcia’s younger brother.
Pavlik (38-2, 33 KOs), who turned 30 on April 4, ended a nearly 11-month ring absence with last month’s second-round knockout of Aaron Jaco at the Alamodome in San Antonio. It was his first fight asssociated with Garcia’s Oxnard, Calif., gym, where he had been training since mid-January after having split with career-long trainer Jack Loew.
Garcia also inherited ex-beltholder Antonio Margarito for his past three bouts, starting with a unanimous decision victory over Roberto Garcia in May of 2010 that helped him to rebound from a ninth-round knockout loss to Shane Mosley in January of 2009.
A former IBF super featherweight champion who compiled a record of 35-3 with 25 knockouts, Garcia’s resume also includes having worked the corner of former featherweight titleholder Steven Luevano, guiding WBO flyweight beltholder Brian Viloria to a junior flyweight title, and training female fighter Mia St. John.
RingTV.com: Can you confirm that you will be working with Maidana for his next fight?
Robert Garcia: Well, he’s not with me right now, so he’s still not here. But I’ve spoken to his [adviser] Sebastian Contursi, and they’ve called me and we’ve basically agreed to it.
Contursi has made a press release and gone public with it, so it’s been announced that he’s doing that. So I guess that’s the case. But until he’s here, I can’t really say that I’m training him. I haven’t even met Maidana yet.
RingTV.com: What can you do with him?
RG: Well, you know, he’s always given us great fights. I think that he’s got tremendous power and tremendous heart. So, those are two things that you can not teach.
But once a fighter already has those things, the rest can be easy. The rest is things like, you know, one thing that I can do is get him to move his head more.
Use his hands more and things like that. I can work on his balance and things like that. His footwork. He’s got really bad footwork. Sometimes, he’s just swinging wildly.
So those are things that I believe that I can correct. But just with him already having those two qualities, you know, the power and the heart, those are things that made him a world champion.
RingTV.com: So you have sort of a head start?
RG: Certainly. I would say that with me working with him, I can do little things like I just told you and to make a big difference. So that’s my job.
RingTV.com: But you’ve already been there before with other fighters, right?
RG: Yeah, you know, that’s my challenge. You have the Kelly Pavliks and the Brandon Rios’s who have been in and out of trouble or who have gone to jail.
Kelly Pavlik, who has had personal problems with the law and with drinking and stuff like that. And now, Maidana, who is a fighter who — I don’t know if he has had personal problems.
But just inside of the ring, Maidana does have a lot of problems. Now it comes comes down to technique, and that’s a personal challenge for me.
RingTV.com: Are you satisfied with your work regarding Pavlik so far?
RG: Yeah, I think that our work showed up where he did better than anybody expected and better than I even expected. Everybody thought that he looked great.
To me, I think that we did a great job. That’s just another one coming to my stable where I have to work and show what kind of trainer I am.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on Jorge Linares considering leaving Freddie Roach after his second-round knockout loss to Sergio Thompson?
RG: You know what, Jorge Linares is a great fighter. He’s always been a very, very good fighter. He’s got everything. I’ve got to say that he’s a great fighter.
Him going to Freddie Roach was a great move. But when you lose a fight, the first person they blame is the trainer.
Nobody knows if Jorge had any personal problems. If he messed up on his own or did something he wasn’t supposed to do. Maybe he could have gotten sick or this or that.
Nobody knows, but the first thing that they do is blame the trainer. Freddie Roach is a great trainer. Freddie Roach is a trainer who has done a great job.
Not only with Manny Pacquiao, but also with many other fighters. So Linares loses, and now the person to blame is Freddie Roach? Freddie Roach can’t give this guy a chin.
That’s something that you can’t just give to somebody. If he just can’t take a punch, then he can’t take a punch. But Linares is a great fighter, and that’s something that you can’t take away from him.
But the first thing after a loss is, “Freddie Roach didn’t do a good job, so I need another trainer.” Maybe he messed up a few days before, you know what I mean?
If he can’t take a punch, that’s not Freddie Roach’s fault. Freddie Roach is a great trainer, and I have nothing bad to say about him, but that it’s not his fault.
Photo by Alexis Cuarezma-Fightwireimages.com
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]