Boxing: robert garcia

Arum, Rios hype Pacquiao fight

October, 29, 2013
Brooklyn-born promoter Bob Arum's next mega-card endeavor is a promotion to run in Macau on Nov. 23. His top dog, Manny Pacquiao, who is beloved as a congressman in the Philippines, gloves up against California resident Brandon Rios.

Rios (31-1-1 with 23 KOs), a 27-year-old Texas native, took part in a conference call Tuesday afternoon along with Arum, trainer Robert Garcia and manager Cameron Dunkin. It is clear he is relishing the role of underdog, and is reading articles that say he has no chance against Manny. "It's OK, I just want to go out and shut everyone up, and prove everybody wrong," he said on the call. "I want to show him I'm a live dog, not a puppy."


Does Brandon Rios have a real shot to beat Manny Pacquiao?


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Anyone thinking he's a punching bag, or "walking bull's-eye" will be in for a shock, he said, because he's aiming to hand the 54-5-2 (38 KOs) PacMan his third straight loss.

Rios said he thinks Manny is smaller than him, and Arum chimed in. "Brandon towers over Pacquiao," whom he said has to eat five meals a day to keep weight on. Arum left the Philippines yesterday, and said Manny was about 142 pounds.

The promoter said months ago that this fight in Macau is something of a gamble, as the bout will be fought in the morning, to mesh with U.S. television and pay-per-view. He said on the call that the risk tag has been removed, that the arena will be sold out, and business will be brisk throughout Asia on closed circuit. He said he expects bang-up PPV numbers, and there will be no shortage of hype in the States. A radio row will be set up at the Venetian in Vegas prefight to stir the pot, he noted.

Rios was asked about the presence of strength and conditioning and supplement expert Alex Ariza in his corner. Ariza was a longtime member of Team Pacquiao, who was bounced by trainer Freddie Roach and Pacquiao after a long period of discord, and squabbling between Ariza and Roach, as well as between Ariza and Arum. Rios said Ariza made him "faster and more light on my feet," but he didn't ask for any scouting report on Manny.

Readers, what kind of chance does Rios have to upset the congressman, who some feel at age almost-35 might be nearing the end of the fistic road?

Garcia likely to fight in Texas on June 22

April, 10, 2013
Mikey Garcia generated hard-core buzz in his last fight, having his way, especially in the early rounds, against respected vet Orlando Salido. Fight fans are looking forward to see if Garcia can build off that TD8 victory, which unfolded on HBO and in the Madison Square Garden Theater on Jan. 19.

His manager, Cameron Dunkin, chatted with NYFightblog today at MSG, before the Donaire-Rigondeaux presser kicked off.

Dunkin said WBO featherweight champ Garcia -- whose brother Robert will be in Donaire's corner versus Rigo at Radio City Music Hall -- will have a slot on a June 22 Top Rank card in Texas. That event will be topped by a Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. scrap, if Junior can get the Nevada commission to give him the OK to glove up; Junior tested positive for THC after his September 2012 loss to Sergio Martinez and was suspended for nine months. Bob Arum said Darren Barker is the lead dog to test Chavez Jr. in Texas.

Dunkin said that Juan Manuel Lopez is booked, so he's out as a Garcia foe. Orlando Cruz might make the cut with HBO, which will televise. "I just wanna see the kid fight," Dunkin said.

Yes, Dunkin is biased, but I still took note when he told me he thinks Garcia is "gonna be an all-time great."

Robert Garcia sparred Salido

January, 18, 2013
Trainer Robert Garcia has a pretty good read on what Orlando Salido brings to the table at the Madison Square Garden Theater on the Top Rank-HBO show Saturday.

Robert has done his due diligence ahead of younger brother Mikey's clash against the featherweight titlist, watching ample tape of Salido. But Robert has an even more intimate basis of knowledge on Salido, because he has sparred with him.

Yep, the former IBF super featherweight champion, who boxed as a pro from 1992-2001, used Salido for sparring for his last fight, a TKO4 win over John Trigg in September 2001.

I asked Robert -- who, along with dad Eduardo, tutors Mikey -- if he recalls anything from the sparring which will help him devise a strategy for Mikey.

"No, that was so long ago," he said. "Salido was a young guy." Salido had already been a pro for five years, but yes, he has advanced far beyond that stage.

While I had Robert, I put him on the spot. "Forgive my directness ... but who is the better fighter, you at your best or Mikey?"

The amiable older brother thought for a moment. "I'm done fighting," he said. "I think he's way better. In my big fights I sort of turned into a brawler. Mikey fights smart."

Cameron Dunkin, who manages Mikey, piped in: "Robert was a helluva fighter. I remember he fought Julian Wheeler, gave him a helluva fight, and Juan Manuel Marquez destroyed Wheeler. But Mikey is special."

A look back at fightweek

December, 2, 2011
Here are some entries which ran on that I should have posted here. Please accept my apology, readers. Just a little extra recap to fightweek here in NYC.

12/1 RIOS IS SURLY, AND SURELY EXCITING TO WATCH: At the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito II undercard news conference at BB King's in New York on Thursday, Brandon Rios had the look of a man who has been munching on broccoli for late-night snacks.

The California boxer will try to raise his record to 29-0 and retain his WBA 135-pound crown against 31-1 Brit John Murray on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

Rios could and should be a TV staple and fan fave for some time to come; he presses forward, throws punches in bunches and seeks to give fans value for their money. Plus, he has the mentality of a shark. If he draws blood, he goes for the kill.

"He's recognized as one of the most exciting fighters in the world," said Bob Arum, Rios' promoter. "People want to see fighters, not a lot of movement and posturing. Rios epitomizes that type of fighter."

Rios, 25, spoke about his opportunity Saturday night. "Glad to be in New York for the first time," he said.

Then, to Murray: "I ain't going nowhere and you ain't going nowhere. There's nobody out there at 135 that can give me a challenge. Saturday night, your ass is going down."

Arum drew a laugh when he called Murray to the mic, then noted that the fighter stayed at the same hotel as Barack Obama on Wednesday night during the president's New York fundraising stint.

"We go to England, and we don't see the Queen," Arum said.

Murray said Rios is "fun to watch." Wonder if he'll have the same appraisal after Saturday's bout.

11/30 HEAT IS LIKE HAGLER-HEARNS: Hagler-Hearns: That's what promoter Bob Arum compared the level of heat and dislike on display between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito to at the final presser before the fighters' Saturday rematch at Madison Square Garden. There was no final faceoff between the boxers at the end of the press conference, despite it being customary, because, Arum explained, why risk an early skirmish?

Now, would there have been a faceoff if the arena wasn't 300 seats from a sellout? I speculate, but I'd guess yes.

I asked Arum, who promoted Hagler, why Marvin hated Hearns, who was no villain sort -- not anything like the dimpled alleged "criminal" Margarito. "Who the f--- knows?" Arum answered.

Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti recalled two other occasions when obvious enmity cancelled a faceoff: before Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson and before Oscar De La Hoya-Fernando Vargas.

"Why risk it? There was no need," Moretti said after Cotto and Margarito went their separate ways.


NEW YORK -- Pretty much everyone in the building on Saturday night expects Miguel Cotto to play "Pin the Glove on the Eye" on that messed-up, iffy right orb of Antonio Margarito.

I know what the doctors, a whole bunch of them, say: that the eye is fit to fight, that the Mexican-born hitter isn't any more susceptible to damage in his right eye than in his left. I accept that on face value. But if it were me in there, I'd like to do some tests myself.

I'd like to go at that thing without remorse, and test the doctors' theory. It's a pretty good bet that we'll see more jabs than usual from the Puerto Rican boxer this weekend at Madison Square Garden, and that his hook will be cookin' from minute one. He will be testing the doctors' findings for as long as the fight lasts.

For more on Cotto-Margarito II, check out our topics page.
Margarito's trainer, Robert Garcia, expects the same. He told that he asked sparring partners in camp not to steer away from the eye, but to target it, as he expects Cotto to do.

"I'm not even worried about the eye," Garcia said. "We have nothing to hide. We had [HBO's] '24/7' in camp and I never tried to prevent left hooks. I asked sparring partners to throw more jabs and hooks to get ready for it, because I know Cotto will. We have no worries about the eye. Like the doctor says, the same thing could happen to either eye. And if something happens, that's part of the sport."

Garcia was a more-than-fair pugilist in his day; he boxed from 1992 to 2001, and won a super featherweight crown while accruing a 34-3 mark. He lost three of his final five bouts, each time by KO, so he well understands the feeling and risk of getting tagged.

I wondered if he would have soldiered on if he had had surgery on a busted orbital bone, surgery to fix a detached retina and surgery to fix a cataract within a span of six months, as Margarito did. Garcia said he would if the doctors told him he could.

"He's healthy, the vision is good, and I was telling sparring partners to throw more left hooks," Garcia said of Margarito. "We have to be ready for that."

The trainer said he foresees a stoppage win for his guy.

"Last time, it was Round 11, and I see a similar kind of fight. I don't think Cotto is as fast and as strong as at welterweight, so it could happen maybe two rounds earlier."

I have a vision of that right eye getting puffed up quick, and it being a drag on Margarito. What about you, readers?