Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dan Rafael [Print without images]

Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Maidana makes move to trainer Garcia

By Dan Rafael

Junior welterweight titlist Marcos Maidana is one of boxing's most consistently exciting fighters, so most fans probably don't care that he is just 2-2 in his past four fights. No matter who he fights, he'll be interesting to watch because of his aggressive style and powerful punching.

But Maidana made a big change -- and a needed one -- on Wednesday, announcing that he is going to begin working with trainer Robert Garcia, who has become one of the hottest trainers in the sport.

Garcia, based out of Oxnard, Calif., is assembling quite the stable. He trains Brandon Rios and Nonito Donaire, two of boxing's best fighters and rising stars, and he recently took over training former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, who won his comeback fight last week in his first fight working with his new trainer. Garcia also trains his younger brother, top featherweight contender Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia, and Antonio Margarito.

Now Garcia has added Maidana to the fold.

"It's a honor for me to know that Maidana is interested in training with me," Garcia said. "He has given the fans great fights so far. We are gonna work with him in my gym now, and I expect good things for him."

Maidana needed to make some sort of change after he was utterly outclassed by Devon Alexander in a welterweight bout on Feb. 25. Maidana was unable to adjust to anything Alexander was doing and lost a lopsided decision.

After the loss, Maidana said he would return to junior welterweight to continue defending his belt. Now he has made the change in his corner, with Garcia replacing Rudy Perez, a well-respected Mexican trainer best known for his work with all-time great Marco Antonio Barrera. Cristian Rodriguez, a longtime assistant trainer to Maidana and Perez, was in the corner for the Alexander fight in place of Perez, who could not make it because of illness.

"This is a great move for my career, so I'm excited about it," Maidana said. "By joining a trainer like Robert and his team, I'll be able to make all the necessary adjustments that are required for me to take me to the next level.

"We have nothing set yet, but I want to go back to 140 pounds for my next fight, as I didn't feel comfortable against Alexander. I am still a world champion and want to defend my belt. But especially, I want to redeem myself after such a lackluster performance."

Sebastian Contursi, Maidana's adviser, said he has been talking to promoter Golden Boy about Maidana's next fight. Ideally, he would like to have Golden Boy put Maidana on a card in September, perhaps on a pay-per-view show it is planning for junior middleweight titlist Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, assuming Alvarez beats Shane Mosley on May 5.

"I had a phone conversation with [matchmaker] Eric Gomez of Golden Boy Promotions," Contursi said, "and we'll talk again with him and [CEO] Richard Schaefer in the next few days in order to see what the possibilities for Marcos are. There are a few great fights out there in the [junior welterweight] division."

Contursi mentioned potential opponents such as newly crowned titleholder Danny Garcia, all-action brawler Michael Katsidis and the winner of the June 23 bout between top contenders Humberto Soto and Lucas Matthysse (Maidana's countryman from Argentina, who is also a tremendous puncher).

"All of them would be great matchups for Marcos," Contursi said.

Now it falls to Robert Garcia to make sure Maidana is ready for any of them, and to have a Plan B if necessary.