Ivan Redkach Aims to Spring Another Surprise

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The hard-hitting southpaw says he's being overlooked as he prepares to face former two-division champion Danny Garcia in WBC Welterweight Title Eliminator Saturday night on SHOWTIME.

It was the spring of 2019. Ivan Redkach needed a new trainer. 

For the longest time, he had been under the wing of José Santa Cruz, the quiet man in the cowboy hat best known as the father and trainer of four-division titleholder Leo Santa Cruz. 

Redkach, a Ukrainian expat who moved to Los Angeles in 2009, learned the bulk of his professional trade from the man. Redkach’s nickname was “El Terrible,” derived from his all-heart-and-brawn style of Mexican prizefighting. 

But there were complications. 

Joséhad been wrestling with a virulent form of bone cancer, thus impacting his ability to commit to long training camps. And, perhaps more pointedly, there was the simple fact that when it came to José’s priorities in boxing, Redkach would always take a seat back to Leo. 

There are few bonds more passionate in boxing than that between a father and his son, and Redkach, despite his closeness with the Santa Cruz family, knew this was not a hierarchy he was ever going to change. Nor did he have any desire to do so. 

The clock kept ticking. Redkach, 33, had been a professional for nearly a decade, on top of an amateur career consisting of over 300 fights. He’d suffered his fair share of setbacks and was now set on pushing for a title shot. With a significant fight against longtime welterweight contender Devon Alexander scheduled for the summer 2019, Redkach needed a trainer who could go “all in” on him. 

So Redkach contacted Shane Mosley, whom he first met at Abel Sanchez’s gym in the mountains of Big Bear, California, back in 2010. Mosley gave him some pointers and worked the mitt with him a few times. They had hit it off well.

“Something seemed to work between us, so I just called him one day,” Redkach recalled. “But Shane said, ‘No, I’m busy.” 

Redkach figured that was that, but a few days later he got a call from Mosley, who simply told him: “Come to the gym tomorrow morning at 10 A.M.”

Later, Redkach found out that Alexander had also reached out to Mosely at around the same time, asking him to work with him. In any case, Redkach had finally found his trainer, who also happened to be one of the great contemporary lightweights. (Mosely will be inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame this year.) 

“Shane Mosley really dedicated his time to me,” Redkach, a southpaw, said. “He spent at least four hours in the gym with me every day. He really got me ready for the Alexander fight. He went through the whole strategy with me. I was the focus for him.”

“It’s understandable that with (José) Santa Cruz the main focus was his own son. I was getting better attention from Shane. It’s simple.” 

The partnership paid off immediately. 

On June 1, 2019, Redkach stunned onlookers by stopping Alexander in the sixth round. It was easily the most dramatic win of his career. The left uppercut, a punch the tandem worked on repeatedly in camp, was what caused all the trouble for Alexander, who had hitherto never been knocked out before. 

Devon took me for granted. I think the same thing is happening here (with Garcia). Welterweight Contender - Ivan Redkach

This Saturday, January 25, Redkach (23-4-1, 18 KOs) will look to craft yet another upset when he goes up against former two-division champion Danny Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) in a welterweight showdown at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). Once again, Redkach will wade into enemy territory as the decided underdog. But that is nothing new. 

“Devon took me for granted,” Redkach said. “I think the same thing is happening here (with Garcia). He wants the (Manny) Pacquiao fight. But he hasn’t won this fight yet.” 

In a new wrinkle, Redkach won’t have Mosley by his side. Mosley had to bow out for this camp due to a lingering elbow injury that hindered him. Instead, Mosley brought in a familiar face to work with Redkach, his father and longtime trainer, Jack Mosley. They were not going to take any chances. 

“Shane’s elbow is not the best so he can’t work the mitts like I do,” Jack said. “We can’t mess around.” 

“He’s training me like Shane did,” Redkach said. “We made a lot of adjustments and changes. I’m a lot better now.”

He will need to be. In Garcia, Redkach faces the most accomplished and dangerous fighter of his career. Although there is no title at stake, Redkach knows that a win would catapult into another stratosphere. In fact, Redkach has had his eyes set on Garcia for quite some time, seeking a fight versus him or Shawn Porter. But that didn’t materialize initially. 

Instead, Redkach negotiated to fight Adrien Broner, but talks quickly fell apart. After welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr. suffered a major single-car accident last October, throwing a wrench in a projected fight between him and Garcia, Redkach suddenly had his dance partner. 

“And that’s how Garcia came up again,” Redkach said.  

“(Team Garcia) is looking at Ivan as a tune-up fight, as I understood,” Mosley chuckled. “They’re looking at that Pacquiao fight. 

“But, you know, top fighters do that kind of stuff all the time. That’s the name of the game. Everybody’s got to talk a little trash to hype themselves up for the fight.” 

Redkach, though, doesn’t need to engage in any trash-talk to motivate himself. He had been waiting for fights of this magnitude all his life. Of course, for a few years, it didn’t appear he would reach this stage. 

In 2015, he was knocked out by Dejan Zlaticanin in a lightweight bout. Redkach claims he was weakened by a low blow. 

In 2016, he lost a unanimous decision to Tevin Farmer, also at lightweight. 

In 2017, he engaged in a furious 140-pound scrap against John Molina Jr., with both fighters decking the canvas. Alas, Molina would have the final say, stopping Redkach inside four rounds. 

It’s all water under the bridge, as far as Redkach is concerned.

“Molina was almost four years ago, so I don’t remember what happened,” Redkach said. 

Memory lane can wait, apparently. 

“I don’t really dwell on those things,” Redkach said. “I’m just moving forward.”

For a closer look at Ivan Redkach, check out his fighter page. 

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