Roberto Garcia is a boxer by profession—just don’t call him that.
“I’m a fighter,” he clarifies matter-of-factly.
With his blue-collar, no-nonsense style and straightforward attack, Garcia’s the kind of guy who opponents tend to overlook—until he’s jarring molars loose with an overhand right to the jaw.
“I’ve always been that fighter who’s been under the radar,” he says.
Prior to the bout, Garcia reflected on his three most significant fights:
3 vs. Victor Manuel Cayo, May 1, 2014, at Hialeah Park Race Track in Hialeah, Florida
Garcia went after the well-traveled Cayo like a wolf in pursuit of his prey, applying nonstop pressure during their May 2014 scrap.
“I just had my foot on the gas and no matter what he did, I didn’t stop coming,” he says. “I kept going, kept going, kept going. He just drowned.”
After pummeling Cayo relentlessly, the referee stopped the fight in the sixth round as Garcia was going in for the knockout.
“When they stopped it, I didn’t even know he was hurt,” Garcia says. “I was going to throw a left hook. I went in and he was falling. If the ropes weren’t there, he would have fell on the floor. I could hear my wife screaming, ‘Roberto!’ I feed off of that.”
2 vs. Norberto Gonzalez, February 7, 2014, at UIC Pavilion in Chicago
Garcia took his February 2014 clash with Gonzalez on short notice, having only 12 days to prepare.
To make matters worse, he had to move up in weight above the 147 pounds he normally competes at.
“They were so confident, because he was in shape,” Garcia says of his opponent’s camp. “He was supposed to fight Jonathan Gonzalez, a Puerto Rican Olympian, but he hurt his shoulder. They needed a late replacement.”
Because of the circumstances, Garcia recalls Gonzalez’s team being particularly dismissive of him.
“They were laughing at us at the weigh-in,” he remembers. “They were confident as hell.”
Instead, it was Garcia who got the last laugh, hammering out a 10-round split-decision victory.
1 vs. Juan Carlos Rubio, March 10, 2006, at the La Villa Real Convention Center in McAllen, Texas
Five years into his career, Garcia took a step up in competition in March 2006 against the rugged Rubio.
His aim: to demonstrate that an underdog can still have plenty of bite.
“Everybody thought that he was going to beat me,” Garcia says. “It was my first 12-round fight; they thought that I was going to gas out. I went from eight rounds and I jumped straight to 12—I never even did a 10.“
Instead, Garcia pounded his way to winning a unanimous decision, ending Rubio’s career in the process.
“I retired him,” Garcia says. “I knocked him out of the ring in the 12th round, detached his retina. That was a big win. That got me world ranked for the first time.”