In a year that was pretty wide open in terms of trainer of the year accolades, the candidates came from all over. But much like last year, one trainer did just a little bit more than the others according to the staff at ThaBoxingVoice.com and that trainer was Robert Garcia.
Yes, I know Nonito Donaire got taken to school by Guillermo Rigondeaux and looked so-so against Vic Darchinyan. Yes, I know Brandon Rios lost twice this year in a very exciting fight with Mike Alvarado in their rematch and was virtually shutout versus Manny Pacquiao, then went on to test positive for a diuretic . But let’s take a look at the rest of his body of work.
Mikey Garcia, the younger brother of Robert went 3-0 and won 2 titles in 2 different weight classes and is definitely going to be a pound for pound fighter in the very near future. Mikey is probably the best fighter out of the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy and that will likely be the trend for a while to come as he steamrolled past his 3 opponents Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez, and Roman Martinez and will look to continue his work next year against Juan Carlos Burgos.
Garcia also guided Evgeny Gradovich to a world title at 126 lbs and two title defenses making Gradovich another breakout exciting fighter to come out of The Robert Garcia Boxing Academy. Robert Garcia was also the man in the corner when Jesus Cuellar won his interim WBA featherweight title this year against Claudio Marrero.
But some will say Garcia’s best work came when he took over the corner of hard-punching Argentine Marcos Maidana. After his loss to Devon Alexander in 2012, most seen Maidana as a one dimensional brawler who could not deal with a boxer with fast hands and feet. Garcia showed little wrinkles in Maidana’s fight with Soto-Karass in 2012 with a jab and subtle movements.
In his fight with Josesito Lopez in June of last year, Maidana showed that when it was time to turn it up, he could still do that while trying to box as he out brawled Lopez in route to a stoppage victory. The biggest success for Maidana came in December of 2013 as Maidana dethroned WBA champ and heavy favorite Adrien Broner knocking him down twice to a clear decision victory. What was great about the game plan was the relentless pressure he maintained against Broner and also the weird angle punches that systematically broke Broner’s should roll defense. His work in the corner that night was almost flawless, telling Maidana not to let Broner get in his head with his antics like the dry humping, pushing, holding, and the dramatic rolling on the ground after Maidana head butted him because Broner kept with a holding tactic that referee Laurence Cole let him get away with. It was to the point that Garcia stood up for his fighter telling Cole to be fair and call things both ways. Maidana’s victory over Broner was his finest moment in 2013 that even caused my co-host Nestor Gibbs 20 pushups in the process in a bet he lost with Garcia while in Texas. Garcia is consistent and is great at what he does. That’s why whenever someone note worthy is looking for a trainer, Garcia’s name is always brought up. That’s why for the second year in a row, he is our trainer of the year.
Freddie Roach: He helped the comebacks of two of the three biggest boxing stars in the states when Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto were victorious this year in their comeback fights as both fighters were winless in 2012. He also trained Provodnikov in the fight of the year against Bradley and his title victory over Mike Alvarado (although he was not in his corner that night). All 3 will likely have bigger fights in 2014.
Joel Diaz: He trained Bradley in that same Provodnikov fight and guided Bradley to a clear decision over Juan Manuel Marquez and was excellent in the corner that night. He also has hard-hitting lightweight Omar Figueroa in his stable who himself was in a fight of the year type fight. His brother even past his prime has shown to be a tough fight for the likes of Amir Khan and Shawn Porter. He will now welcome the Magdaleno brothers to his stable as well.
Angel Garcia: Although, he only has one fighter in his stable, Danny Garcia, the duo once again proved everyone wrong in 2013 after doing the same in 2012 when Garcia knocked out Amir Khan. The still undefeated Garcia won the Ring Magazine title when he beat Khan. After he decisioned Zab Judah, he went on to take on Lucas Matthysse, who many thought was the number 1 guy at 140 even though he was not even a title holder. The fight took place on “The One” undercard and was probably the fight of the night. Garcia out boxed his opponent, knocking him down and closing out his eye. Garcia also showed a chin and toughness as he took one of Matthysse’s best shot in the 11th that causes his mouth piece to fly out of the stands but the young champion weathered the storm and won a decision victory. Garcia looks to continue his success with his father in 2014 where the duo may be in like to enter the Mayweather sweepstakes.