How Mikey Garcia Got His Start

Undefeated #1 lightweight contender Mikey Garcia of Oxnard, Calif. and his brother and trainer Robert Garcia. Photo Credit: Chris Farina

Before Mikey Garcia stopped Matt Remillard in the 10th round of his last fight on Boxing After Dark, HBO.com's Eric Raskin dubbed 2011 "Year of the Garcia" due to Mikey's potential in the ring and his brother Robert's emergence as a marquee trainer. With Mikey set to take on Rafael Guzman (substituting for the injured Miguel Beltran Jr.) on the Zbik-Chavez Jr. undercard, take a look back at how the youngest Garcia first got in the ring: 

Even though he was born into a boxing family, believe it or not, 10 years ago, Mikey had never seriously stepped into the ring. He was all set to be the un-Garcia-like Garcia, the one who didn't box. Then one day, when he was 13 years old, the kid who used to cry when his dad asked him to spar, who would get spanked by his father in the gym for refusing to enter the family business, suddenly changed his mind.

The whole family attended an amateur exhibition tournament, and one fighter on the card, who happened to be roughly Mikey's age and weight, needed an opponent.

"So Mikey said, 'I'll do it,'" Robert recalled. "We're like, 'What do you mean you'll do it, Mike? You don't even train.' And he's like, 'Let me give it a try, I want to try.' So he went in there and had that exhibition and did pretty good. Just from watching boxing all the time, watching his brothers spar, his nephews boxing, he knew how to box, he knew how to fight. So from his first time inside the ring, he looked like an experienced fighter. It was just, I guess, in his blood."

Read the rest of the story "Year of the Garcia" on HBO.com.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Looks to Step Out of Father’s Shadow Against Sebastian Zbik

By Nat Gottlieb

Photo: Chris Farina

“I don’t know if there have been many sons of great fighters who equaled their fathers,” says HBO analyst Larry Merchant. “They’re always compared against their father’s very high standard, and that is difficult to live up to. Most of the fathers overcame extreme poverty and had a certain kind of hardness because of that. Sons had it a lot easier growing up, and even though they lived in the gym, they didn’t have that kind of hardness inside. They’re able to get to a certain level, able to make some money, but the question remains, will the son also rise?”

Read the rest of the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Sebastian Zbik fight overview on HBO.com.

Keiran Mulvaney On Bernard Hopkins, George Foreman

When George Foreman challenged Michael Moorer for the heavyweight championship of the world in Las Vegas in  November1994, I airily boycotted what I anticipated would be the shameful spectacle of an old man being beaten up for public pleasure.

On Saturday, when Bernard Hopkins attempts to one-up Foreman’s shocking knockout win and replace Big George as the oldest man to win a major belt, I will be ringside.

There are justifications for these contrasting stances.

For one thing, in 1994, I was a boxing fan; now, I am a boxing writer.

For another, 46 doesn’t seem as old to me now as it did when I was 26.

Read more at HBO.com

Hopkins-Pascal Overview: Something Left In The Tank

by Nat Gottlieb

The common thread running through the three biggest fights of Jean Pascal's 28-bout career is his inability to finish what he started. Like a thoroughbred sprinter asked to stretch out in a distance race, Pascal has consistently had trouble reaching the finish line with any kick left. It cost him his only loss against Carl Froch in 2008. Two years later he barely escaped getting knocked out by Chad Dawson in the 11th round of a fight he won on points by technical decision. Against Hopkins, only a draw saved him from absorbing his second defeat.

Now Pascal has a chance for a do-over. If he is to win this time, he'll have to find solutions to the many problems Hopkins still poses at 46, plus overcome his own stylistic failings. "Pascal has an impressive body, but in a physical fight he starts to feel fatigue around the seventh, eighth or ninth rounds," says Daniel Cloutier, longtime Montreal boxing writer. "Pascal is always at his best through the sixth and seventh rounds. Why, I don't know. He trains very hard."

Read more of the Hopkins-Pascal Overview at HBO.com.

Face-Off: Bernard Hopkins vs. Jean Pascal

Look Ahead: Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins II

Victor Ortiz Outshines Andre Berto in Upset

by Peter Owen Nelson
 Photo: Will Hart

In the locker room after defeating Andre Berto for the WBC title, Victor Ortiz's manager Rolando Arellano informed his fighter, draped in his new green belt, "Victor, this belt goes back to Andre. It is symbolic. Yours will get made and will arrive in a few weeks."

Ortiz (29-2-2) stopped smiling for the second time since he put on the belt in the ring of the MGM Theater in Mashantucket, CT.

"That's bullshit. I was going to sleep with this belt tonight," said Ortiz after a thrilling unanimous decision win (115-110, 114-112, and 114-111) that included four knockdowns split between the boxer-punchers.

After some haggling with a WBC representative, it was agreed Ortiz could hold onto the belt for the night.

The first time Ortiz stopped smiling in the locker room it was to cry, as he embraced his foster mother and father, who had arrived from Garden City, Kansas, to see their son fight as a professional for the first time. Ortiz, who spent parts of his childhood homeless and eventually adopted his own brother to get him out of foster homes, announced to the room of friends and coaches through his tears, "These two are my mother and father. They raised me." Ortiz's mother, Sharon Ford, then said, "We always told Victor that when he fought for a world title we would be there. Here we are."

Ortiz had been a 4-1 underdog, and ever polite he told the collected media at his press conference, "I want to apologize if I ruined anyone's plans." (Berto was taken to the hospital and could not attend the conference.)

Continue reading Berto-Ortiz recap on HBO.com

Look Ahead To Andre Berto vs. Victor Ortiz & Amir Khan vs. Paul McCloskey