Four-division champion Mikey Garcia “is going to be stronger, faster, quicker and…better” for his 147-pound debut and pursuit of a fifth crown in as many divisions against left-handed IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence on March 16 at The Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Fox Pay Per View.
Corner man Robert Garcia said his brother, Mikey (39-0, 30 KOs), has years of affiliation with strength and conditioning guru Victor Conte, but that his past two weeks are his first training at Conte’s Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning (SNAC) facilities in San Carlos, California, an organization that supplies legal sports nutrition products and supplements.
The 28-year-old Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) has advantages in height (5-foot-9 ½-to-5-foot-6) and reach (72-inches-to 68) as well as perceived edges in speed and power over Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), who, as part of Conte’s program, will incorporate weight-lifting and other methods he is unaccustomed to.
Robert Garcia tells BoxingScene.com that he is unconcerned about increased bulk affecting Mikey Garcia’s timing or punch fluidity.
“Mikey can walk around and make 147, but I want Mikey to be physically stronger than he’s been before, if possible, and I want his body to look good as a welterweight if possible. If I thought it would adversely affect Mikey, he wouldn’t be over there. Those are all things that my Dad and myself talked to Victor Conte about, making sure that it wasn’t going to adversely affect Mikey,” said Robert Garcia of their father, Eduardo Garcia, who co-train Mikey, along with his grandson, Robert Jr., in Oxnard, California.
“We wanted to make Mikey faster, stronger and a better fighter, and that’s what’s going to happen. Mikey’s already very strong, physically, so that was not really reason why we sent him over there. The main reason was that here training with us, Mikey’s one of the fighters who runs in the morning and does the boxing, the sparring, the mitt work, the heavy bag. But he never does any of the physical training when it comes to his abs, or doing weights, or anything like that. So we know that Victor Conte will wake him up every day and make him do it. Mikey never has done anything like the pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups, and I know he’ll be doing all of that.”
Conte spent four years helping athletes to circumvent Olympic-style drug testing policies until BALCO was raided in 2003, and served a four-month prison stint after pleading guilty to orchestrating the distribution of illegal performance-enhancing drugs to athletes in some professional sports. But since his release in March 2006, Conte has gone legitimate with SNAC.
Robert Garcia’s “not concerned at all” with Conte’s past, and said “Mikey has already signed up” to be tested by The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
“I’ve talked to Conte many, many times…I’m confident that he’s the correct person and that he knows what he’s doing. For the past three or four years he’s always been part of our use of supplements, vitamins, blood work, and whatever Mikey needed. But Mikey had never worked with him in Northern California. This is the first time Mikey’s gone to Northern California to work with him. For the past four years, Mikey’s been taking Conte’s supplements and doing blood work through Victor Conte, so we’ve been working with Victor Conte for at least four years,” said Robert Garcia.
“I don’t want him to look like a chubby 147-pounder, but a solid 147-pounder,” said Robert. “Whatever Victor has him doing, he’ll do. My son is out there with him, and they’re telling me that the work is unbelievable and it’s work that Mikey wasn’t doing here in Southern California. Mikey does a lot of rounds of great sparring and comes to the gym every day, but that’s all he does. He doesn’t’ do any of the other physical workouts — like he might need some weights or pushup and sit ups — and I felt that it was needed for him to do that.”