Alex Ariza feels that Robert Garcia’s Oxnard camp is the best one he’s been a part of

Alex Ariza working with Brandon Rios in Oxnard, Calif. (Photo: Chris Robinosn –

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By Chris Robinson

The night of Saturday, Nov. 9 was another showcase for the rising talents of Riverside, Calif. resident Mikey Garcia.

Facing off with former titlist Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez inside of the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Tex., Garcia was dropped by the Puerto Rican in the second round but rose as if nothing had happened.

Garcia then turned the tide of the fight in the following rounds before dominating and eventually finishing off Martinez in the eighth with a powerful left to the body.

There were some key changes for the newly-crowned WBO junior lightweight titlist for this particular camp, as Garcia benefitted from several weeks working with strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza.

Ariza was previously known best for his work with Freddie Roach’s core group of fighters in Los Angeles, including Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but has since relocated to the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard.

Now working with Garcia, Brandon Rios, and Marcos Maidana, Ariza had nothing but praise to share as he spoke to media members following HBO’s triple header.

“They have great work ethic,” Ariza said of his new clients. “They have respect for the sport; they have respect for the trainer. They come in and do their work. They get up early. Even though everybody is friends and there’s a great camaraderie outside of the gym, when it comes to business, it’s business and Robert runs a strict camp like that. It just showed tonight.”

In an interesting twist, the fact that Ariza split from Pacquiao’s camp in early August helped to pave the way for Rios and Garcia to seek his services.

Rios is an underdog heading into his Nov. 23 meeting with Pacquiao in Macau, China, but Ariza was quick to highlight some of the reasons why he has a legitimate shot.

“I don’t think it’s just one thing,” Ariza explained. “I think there’s a lot of things. Just his dedication, his hunger, his work ethic to the sport. None of these guys have an ego. They all work together, they train together, they motivate each other, they push each other.

“It probably was something I really wasn’t used to in how they are just all constantly looking for everybody to be successful,” Ariza added. “It just makes for a good, positive camp.”

Asked if this is the best team he’s been a part of, Ariza affirmed such a sentiment.

“Yes, actually,” stated Ariza. “It all goes back to how the camp went. Everybody getting along, everybody working together. There was no, everybody trying to interfere or get involved. Everybody worked together.”

CHECK BELOW FOR more updates from the boxing world…

Mikey Garcia on the knockdown from Martinez, facing Yuriorkis Gamboa, working with Alex Ariza

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Chris Robinson can be reached at


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