Glynn Evans chronicles the traumatic life and topsy-turvy career of the mean Mexican Middleweight who defends his WBC Silver Title against England’s Martin Murray at London’s O2 Arena this Saturday, live on BoxNation.
1) Garcia was born on 26th March 1980 in Reynosa, north Mexico, a US border town situated on the southern bank of the Rio Grande River. The family relocated to the rough side of Houston, Texas, USA when he was a very young child. Today, Roberto lives with his wife of 10 years and their daughters in Weslaco, Hidalgo County where he runs the AMZ fitness center.
2) His father Rafael converted the family garage into a boxing gymnasium and coached his two elder brothers Rafael Jr and George. However, his father developed drug and alcohol problems and when Roberto’s mother Antonio threatened to divorce him in 1990, dad shot her fatally through the chest in their bedroom, then turned the gun on himself. Roberto, then just 10, was an eye witness to the double killing.
3) Thereafter, he was raised by assorted family members and shifted between various schools. He often slept on a couch or the floor and, as an adolescent, confesses to drug and alcohol abuse.
4) The troubled teenager re-started his boxing career, aged 16, after being challenged to a fight by a local youth center champion. In a spar to settle their dispute, Garcia broke his antagonist’s nose and finished the spat inside a round. At the coach’s request, he continued to attend the club’s boxing program.
[Image credit: PBC]
5) As an amateur, Garcia racked up 22-3 (17) stats and bagged three Rio Grande Golden Gloves Titles, prior to joining the profession at the age of 20.
6) Billed as ‘La Amenaza’ (The Menace), Garcia kickstarted his paid career as a 5ft 10in Super-Welterweight under the guidance of Fernando Castrejon (once right hand man to Hall of Famer ‘Nacho’ Beristain, back in Reynosa. Six of his first eight pro gigs took place in Mexico.
7) During a 45 fight career, the Tex-Mex has conceded just three times. In his 14th start in April 2003, 6ft 3in Californian welter Calvin Odom outpointed him over eight and, 12 months after, he dropped an eight round split to Montreal’s 17-3 Ian McKilliop. The Odom reverse was subsequently avenged (UD8).
8) Over the last 14 years and 28 fights only Mexican bad lad Antonio Margarito has mastered him. The disgraced three-time Welterweight World Champion won by margins of 12, 10 and nine rounds in a May 2010 10-rounder for the vacant WBC International 154lb belt in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
9) Garcia’s CV also lists a No Contest with 23-1 Freddy Hernandez. Garcia dropped the future WBC Welterweight challenger in the second but the pair clashed heads a round later and Hernandez was unable to continue, with the requisite number of rounds still to be completed.
10) Style wise, relentless Roberto is a stereotypically rough and rugged Azteca warrior. Twenty-four of his 41 victories have come by stoppage with eight wins by count out. He is a particularly destructive body puncher.
11) Iron man Garcia has never been stopped but Margarito, ex Amir Khan conqueror Breidis Prescott and Baltimore’s 22-1 James Stevenson all stuck him on the canvas.
12) In addition to Prescott and Stevenson, there are several other notable names on Garcia’s scalp list such as Juan Carlos Rubio (wpts12), Carson Jones (wpts10), Jose Flores (wpts8), Antwon Smith (wpts10), Norberto Gonzalez (wpts10), Victor Cayo (rsc6) and Omar Chavez (wpts10). The latter, beaten just three times in 40, succumbed in Garcia’s most recent start, an August 2017 victory that brought the vacant WBC Silver title which he defends for the first time against Murray.
13) While Saturday’s opponent Murray has already made four challenges for versions of the World Title, the Don King promoted Garcia is yet to compete at the highest level, despite his stellar stats. He is presently listed sixth in the WBC rankings. In March 2015, he failed to show up for the weigh-in for a non-title affair with Shawn Porter, then three months later, withdrew from a scheduled fight with future IBF Welter boss Errol Spence, citing ‘weight issues’.
14) Now 38, Mexico’s second ranked Middleweight enters the match against Murray unbeaten in 13 fights over eight years and certainly shan’t be coming to lie down.