Yeah, William Zepeda, one of our favorite lightweights is in action this weekend, but quite frankly, most of the focus is still on Gervonta Davis' seventh round stoppage of Ryan Garcia last weekend at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Not so much the fight itself, which has been dissected at length by the public and pundits, but the aftermath.
What has transpired since that fight has been pretty interesting. Just a day or two after this contest, Ryan Garcia posted that there was a 'mole' in his camp. This had been part of the pre-fight banter from Leonard Ellerbe.
In other words, there might have some prying eyes inside that camp. Or some members of the team that perhaps had divided loyalties. Some Spy-vs-Spy stuff going on in the lead-up to Davis-Garcia, which is really nothing new to the sport. Years ago, as Sugar Ray Leonard was preparing to face Marvin Hagler, sent over a member of his camp, J.D. Brown, to peek in on 'Marvelous' as he was training in Palm Springs.
To get paid for his reconnaissance mission, Brown had to provide a picture of himself with Hagler. In order to camouflage himself, Brown dyed his hair grey, put on glasses, and blended in with the public for three days that came to see Hagler prepare for battle. In order to collect his fee from Leonard, he had to provide a picture with 'Marvelous', which he did.
In that era big name boxers would regularly hold their training camps in public settings. Get this, they would even spar in front of people. Muhammad Ali basically had an open door policy at Deer Lake.
It was interesting to see the windows of the Ten Goose Gym be covered up a few weeks prior to this fight. Its something I had never seen in over 20 years of going to that facility. My understanding that there were some concerns that outsiders were looking in during these evening sparring sessions of Garcia.
Who knows if this is true, or just how much could be gleaned from seeing what they did. But more than one trainer will tell you that if you just watch the previous three or four fights of any boxer, you will pretty much get an idea of what they can -- or can't -- do, and what they might do given the physical attributes and styles of the boxers involved.
Unless there is an injury that is being nursed, or a specific punch/combination being worked on, there really may not be all that much benefit of looking in on an opposing fighters sparring session.
This is 'the sweet science', but it ain't rocket science.
Courtesy of PBC l Al Bello
You really didn't need to be Emanuel Steward or Angelo Dundee to figure out what both Davis and Garcia would need to do on the night of April 22nd.
To me, the bigger issue is that for this particular bout, Garcia basically came to Joe Goossen's gym three times a week on sparring days, and the other days he would do his days work at his camp mansion. Personally, I think Goossen is taking a bad rap on this fight, bottom line, he had the underdog, and truthfully, he really didn't get to fully prepare him as he would for most others.
I've witnessed Goossen put his fighters through 'floor days' (which consist of an arduous gauntlet of the heavy bag, double-end bag, slip-bag, shadow boxing and other drills), oftentimes, these sessions take up to two hours. It's the type of work that wont go viral on social media, but will condition a fighter and sharpen up their fundamentals.
He calls it his 'system', and along with hard sparring, he has used this as his foundation to develop the likes of Gabe and Rafael Ruelas, Michael Nunn and Joel Casamayor, among others. You can debate if Goossen is an elite trainer (he's going to the Hall-of-Fame for a reason) my argument is that not only has he created world champions from scratch, but there are boxers who have never been quite as good after leaving him.
Courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions
The noted trainer said himself last week that you don't so much train Garcia, but that you 'collaborate' with him. This right here, is an admission of what his role really was for this bout. (By the way, this got me thinking about Rakim and Jody Whatley's 'Friends', my personal favorite collaboration.)
Goossen understood what he was getting into with Garcia. Sometimes a trainer is hired to truly prepare a boxer, at other times they are there to be a figurehead, and eventually be the fall guy in case of a defeat. Hey, it pays well, regardless. Who knows what will happen here, but to blame Goossen here is misguided and unfair.
Along with his fundamental flaws, Garcia just may not be all that coachable and committed to truly learning the finer points of the game. He's good enough to beat a fair share of guys, but not the elite like 'Tank' Davis.
Since the beginning of 2021, he had fought just twice coming into this past weekend. Hitting the cobra bag for months at a time is no substitute for actually sharpening tools while fighting.
No espionage was truly needed to see and exploit his flaws.
A lot has been made of Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins not showing up to the post-fight press conference. Oscar regularly blows off these things. But yeah, he would have probably been there if Garcia would have been victorious....Do the same people who are so offended that De La Hoya disappeared and went off to dinner, or left because of death threats, have the same feelings for Al Haymon as he is never seen at these same functions?.....According to Keith Idec, Davis-Garcia did 1.2 million pay-per-view buys across all platforms, with ticket revenue of $22.8 million.....William Zepeda faces Jaime Arboleda on Saturday night from Arlington, Texas on DAZN on Saturday night....'Succession' just isn't the same without Logan Roy....I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.....