Last time we saw Glen Tapia on our television screens, he shot out his corner like a space rocket and jumped all over a cold James Kirkland. Tapia landed some monstrous right hands that had Kirkland in a bad state in the ring. However, the incredibly conditioned Kirkland survived and fought back to overtake Tapia after the third round. Tapia’s heart was the only thing keeping him on his feet throughout the barrage, while his body was giving in until the contest was finally halted in the 6th round.
“It was the wrong game plan. I fought the wrong fight,” stated Tapia. “I learned that I just can’t knock everybody out but now I’m a definitely a different fighter. “
He’s a different fighter with a new trainer. Tapia linked up with the legendary Freddie Roach in the famed Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles leaving his old trainer Alex Devia. Many have come to speculate that the switch in trainers had to do with Tapia’s handlers believing that his fight with James Kirkland went too long and Devia being responsible for that.
Tapia however disagreed with the notion. “It’s not about that. There was no bad blood or nothing. It’s a great opportunity to be with Freddie (Roach).” Regarding the late stoppage Tapia said, “I don’t care about that. But I went back and saw it twice and they could have probably stopped it after the 4th or 5th and you know if it’s up to me, I’d keep going out there. But I’m passed that already.”
Closing that chapter in his book and starting anew with Freddie Roach and some new wrinkles being instilled in the fighter that is Tapia.
“It’s a different trainer and a great experience. He’s one of the best for a reason and he just doesn’t train anybody. Freddie has made me realize that I’m a boxer and I’m not just a bar fighter with balls. He makes me use my head more and become more defensively responsible.”
Who are we to question Roach? There were plenty who did in 2012 when Roach trained fighters like Manny Pacquiao and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to name a few lost. It was to the point where some were calling Roach an average trainer. Roach stormed back in the next two years with Manny Pacquiao defeating Brandon Rios and Tim Bradley in the rematch. He introduced the premium network audience to Ruslan Provodnikov with the near upset of Tim Bradley and then he made Mike Alvarado submit to win his first world title. If that wasn’t enough, Roach resurrected Miguel Cotto’s career this past weekend after dismantling Sergio Martinez to become the middleweight champion of the world.
Tapia feels he’s in good hands because of that and says his experience in the Roach camp is special because of the level of fighters he trains with who learn from each other.
“Camp was a great atmosphere,” stated Tapia.” It was me, Provodnikov and Miguel Cotto. After working hard from beginning to end, we talk. We talk after all the sessions and we learn from each other. When I’m on the pads or they are on the pads, we watch and talk. It’ a great experience to learn from guys like that.”
And its guys like that with Freddie Roach that has given the young fighter that he can recover from a loss to make history. Tapia headlines an Unimas card at scene of his last fight in Atlantic City, in an area that is starving for a home fighter since the days of Arturo Gatti. Tapia loves the connection to Gatti but doesn’t want to be the next Gatti; he wants to be the first Glen Tapia.
“It’s an honor to be mentioned with Gatti. I’m training to be something different of course. I got some Gatti in me but I’m not him. I always wanted to bring big time boxing back to Atlantic City. It’s still my vision and with my team, Freddie, Pat Lynch, and Top Rank. I will. It’s time for me to put in that work. The goal is bigger than this and at 23 years old the time is there to do it.”