Roberto Garcia is getting his hands wrapped, forearms resting on the back of a metal folding chair, his gaze as steely as the thing he’s sitting on as he contemplates the biggest fight of his career.
“This type of event, this type of fight, can change my family’s life,” he says, the gravity of words hanging in the air along with the lingering scent of various cleaning products. “It really can.”
Garcia was referencing his March 13 clash with former 147-pound champion Shawn Porter, which opens the first Premier Boxing Champions broadcast on Spike TV.
“I’m grateful that we’re going to be the beginning of this beautiful thing, this idea (of boxing) going back on mainstream television,” he says.
It’s a bit past 9 a.m. on a Thursday, and Garcia’s getting ready for a day of training at the Roy Jones Jr. Fight Academy in Las Vegas.
“Yeah, there you go!” he exclaims after his left hand is swathed in tape and gauze. “I like to feel my knuckles.”
The tune that plays on the stereo in the background, Logic’s “Intro,” could double as Garcia’s theme song. “I don’t know how, but I’mma find a way,” the rapper sing-rhymes. That’s pretty much Garcia’s mantra.
After slugging it out mostly on smaller cards for more than a decade, the Weslaco, Texas-based brawler had a breakthrough 2014, winning three televised fights in a row and earning his highest-profile bout yet with his surging, come-right-at-you style of fighting, which is the boxing equivalent of being swarmed by bees.
“I do what I have to, to win,” says Garcia, wearing a Superman T-shirt, red shorts and a recurring smile. “I’m not there to look cute and do all these little moves. I go in there and break a guy down, beat him however I can.”
In Porter, he meets an accomplished former champion determined to rebound from his lone loss.
“Shawn, he’s a great fighter, with very good skills and amateur background,” Garcia acknowledges. “But the difference between Shawn and me, he’s more of a boxer, with movement and angles. I’m a fighter.”
Flanked by his trainer, Roberto Norris, Garcia says that he’s not altering his approach or tweaking his style much in anticipation of facing Porter.
“We’re just making little minor adjustments,” he notes. As he speaks, it becomes evident that Garcia is as straightforward outside of the ring as he within it.
“I’m not going to change what got me here,” he says. “I’m going to go in there and fight my ass off and be all I can be, because that’s all I can do. I’m a fighter, you know what I mean? I fight, man.”