Boxing sensation Mikey Garcia is ready for the toughest fight of his career. And Reebok has been with him every step of the way.
The undefeated Garcia is set to face welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., who is also undefeated, on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Garcia is moving up two weight classes to fight Spence, something that is almost unheard of in the sport.
While training for the fight, Garcia — who is now a Reebok ambassador — worked with the brand on its “#SplitFrom” campaign, which takes its name from the split cushioning on its Sole Fury sneaker. According to Reebok, the effort will highlight the stories of its ambassadors who have defied convention and pushed boundaries to reach the pinnacle of their respective fields. It will be done via collages — which can be viewed as a single image or six separate ones — to showcase the moments that shape their stories.
And Garcia’s narrative is a great one to feature.
“Many boxers fight for glory, but Mikey fights to serve. He fights to give back to his community, to provide for his family and to honor the talent he inherited from his boxing-trainer father,” Reebok’s performance business unit VP Todd Krinsky told FN. “Where other fighters can’t wait to leave their old neighborhoods behind and buy a mansion on the hill, Mikey prefers to live on his old block and invest his energy in the neighborhood that raised him. Humility over grandeur, discipline over flash — Mikey splits from the path by staying true to where he came from.”
Ahead of the megafight, Garcia talks with FN about signing with Reebok, his favorite sneakers from the brand and preparing to take on Spence.
What made you want to sign with Reebok?
“We discussed opportunities with Reebok a while ago, but unfortunately I was not actively boxing at the moment and we weren’t able to work together. (Garcia did not fight for more than two years due to a contract dispute with his former promoter.) But after I came back it started to fall in place. Last year they invited me out to their facilities, talked about their vision and where they want to go, who they want to be associated with and it made sense. They had the same vision and felt they could help me in a way and at the same time I’m helping them establish and create the image that they want and the stories that they want to showcase.”
What can fans expect from your appearance in Reebok’s #SplitFrom campaign?
“Some people don’t know where I come from and what my backstory is, but through these stories that we share people can relate. I think Reebok did a great job to highlight, explain and share and that will motivate a lot of people. We spoke to the guys at Reebok about where I come from, my background, my parents. I told them the story about my mom and my dad emigrating from Mexico to the states and trying to make a better life for us, their kids. A lot of people can relate to the American dream of hope. That has inspired me in a way that keeps me motivated, keeps me grounded and tells me that the sky is the limit. My parents accomplished so much with limited abilities, coming to a new world here — a new country, a different language — and still helped the family through hard work, dedication, discipline. It’s terrific to share that with the public.”
What are your thoughts on the Sole Fury and the other sneakers you’re training in?
“They’re terrific, dude. I use several shoes throughout training camp depending on what the day consists of, where I’ll be running or working out at — the track, the gym, the road, trails — and the Sole Fury is one of them. And the CrossFit Nano 8, I use a lot. I like that one even for just lounging around. And the Fusion Flexweave I like for the track. I really like the boxing boot I use. I tried other ones and the sole did not have the greatest grip so I explained to them what I needed. They sent me different pairs and the ones I wear now work well — much better grip, the heel is protected, the stability and support is there on my ankle.”
How is Reebok supporting you through training camp and into the fight against Errol Spence Jr.?
“All the gear, man. The clothing, the sweatsuits, the jackets, the different shoes for different days — everything. It gets cold up in camp where I stay so it’s good to have the right clothing. The gym itself is in Riverside but I stay up in Redlands, up in the canyon, so it gets pretty cold.”
How do you prepare for someone like Errol Spence Jr., who is both a technically-gifted fighter and a physically larger opponent?
“We implemented some strength and conditioning through this camp, we started in December up north at the Snac facility with Victor Conte. We did a five-week program and it felt good to do a different workout. Then we focused on the boxing with my brother and my dad, we focused on the game plan for the fight while still using strategies with the speed and explosiveness of footwork that training we got up north. I feel really good and I’m going to be well prepared to do whatever it takes to win the fight. If I need to box for 12 rounds I’ll be ready for 12 rounds. If I need to put pressure and close the gap I’ll be ready and strong enough to be able to do that.”
Your brother and trainer, Robert Garcia, said you never do core workouts during training camp, but started because of Spence’s body attack. How tough was that on you?
“The first two days that I was up north doing the routines I felt sick, I felt like I was going to vomit, I felt like I was going to pass out — it wasn’t the best experience. But I was able to adjust and work pretty comfortable after it. Back in 2012 or 2013 I worked with other strength and conditioning coaches, but this is the first time I’m doing this much core. The five weeks up north at the Snac facility was a little different but I was able to adjust quickly and work through it and now I feel strong and fast. I didn’t want to exchange power for speed but we were able to keep both. Even if I don’t have a six-pack my strength is still there. A six-pack doesn’t mean anything, the big muscles don’t mean anything. I know I’m going to be in very good shape for the fight and will be well prepared for whatever it takes to win.”
Who are some of your favorite all-time boxers?
“I’ve always admired Juan Manuel Marquez and Floyd Mayweather. Floyd for his ring generalship, his intelligence in the ring and the way he’s so defensive. And Marques with his combinations and how he walks around the ring and can counterpunch at any given time. Also, whenever he had to show heart he definitely had it, he gave everything in the ring.”
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