Last month, Roberto Garcia was supposed to battle Shawn Porter. He ended up warring with his own body instead.
For 11 hours Roberto Garcia was confined to the hospital when he should have been preparing to enter the ring, to fight in the biggest bout of his career instead of fighting to regain the ability to stand upright.
Initially, it was believed that he was merely struggling to make weight, suffering from extreme dehydration as a result of his attempts to get his body down to 147 pounds.
The dehydration part was right, but it wasn’t from trying to cut weight. Instead, Garcia was struggling with severe toxicity resulting from an excess of vitamin B complex, which his coach at the time administered to him intravenously.
“I received five injections in 15 days,” Garcia said. “When you get those type of vitamins injected in the bloodstream, it has to be under medical supervision. But they were just given to me by my coach thinking, ‘Oh, they’re good for you.’ Yeah, but you have to know when and how to do it. You don’t just give a guy a bunch of shots. My coach just wanted to win so bad, but we were doing great without it.”
Garcia says that he started feeling sluggish earlier in the week, although he thought it was just part of the rigors of getting down to his fighting weight, not because of the injections he was receiving.
“We had no idea,” he says. “I was feeling a little run-down, but I thought it was just normal.”
Come the day before the March 13 fight, though, his body crashed, as short on fluids as a dried-up riverbed.
“I think I set the world record for drinking Fiji waters,” Garcia says with a chuckle.
He can laugh about it now, though it was serious business at the time, so much so, that it took him nearly two weeks to recuperate and get to the point where he could return to the gym.
Back on his feet, Garcia (36-3, 23 KOs) sought some new, old faces for his corner, reuniting with New Jersey-based trainers Edgar “Butch” Sanchez and Angel “Tin Tin” DeJesus, both of whom Garcia had worked with in the past, training with them for 10 fights, all victories.
He had but a 24-day camp to prepare for Friday night's fight against James Stevenson (22-1, 15 KOs) at Chicago's UIC Pavilion. The bout airs on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Garcia says that he doesn’t know much about Stevenson, a Baltimore native. He’s not one to spend much time breaking down an opponent on tape.
“I just train hard, I eat right, I fight my ass off for my family,” he says matter-of-factly, his words as to the point as his approach in the ring, where he constantly presses the action, doing his best to turn every exchange into an all-out war.
This will be the third time in his last four bouts that Garcia has fought at the UIC Pavilion.
The Porter drama behind him, Garcia is focused in doing in life what he does best in the ring: move forward.
“I’ve come 360,” he says. “I didn’t lose my drive. I didn’t lose who I am.”