By Ron Valderrama: A true test of a boxer is dealing with change. Dedicated and humble, Arizona’s Emilio "Milo Time" Garcia has had a roller coaster ride this past year. The super bantamweight has a amassed an unbeaten record of 4-0-1-(1)
Garcia has had to deal with switching trainers and gyms (one gym that was destroyed in a storm) and yet by the end of 2011, he remained dedicated and humble.
As 2011 came to an end, Garcia was dealt yet another crushing blow when his long time friend Alex Rodriguez (not the baseball player) was killed in an automobile accident In Phoenix on November18th. Garcia said Rodriguez was like a brother to him and was deeply saddened by his death. This reporter spoke to Garcia in December and he was still shaken by the loss of his friend and dedicated his next fight to Rodriguez.
Veteran trainer and long time Phoenix fixture, Chuck McGregor is now Garcia’s trainer. McGregor has trained or worked with many of the best fighters in the world including Shannon Briggs; Carl "The Truth Williams"; and Obed Sullivan to name a few. One of Chuck’s strong points is teaching his fighters stamina and how to work the ring. His gift is the ability to improve a fighter’s weakness while teaching ring smarts as they work on their improvements. A few years ago Chuck once said "You don’t have to be the stronger or better fighter all the time, just a smarter one", which has been proven to be true by McGregor.
2012 will be a pivotal year for Garcia. He is clearly a stronger fighter than a year ago and his power has increased along with a deadly combination that will surely be one of his strong points. His last win in Phoenix (Oct. 21st) against Miguel Armendarez displayed a new side of Garcia that had not seen before, the ability to use the ring and working the body. The kid is tough, he fought one of his fights with an injured hand and never complained or used it as an excuse. The crowd never even knew about it until after the fight.
Garcia has also mastered patience in the ring, he is aggressive and yet waits for the right moment to strike. He can also take a punch and is mastering his defensive skills, the ability to use the ring seems to confuse his opponents which is when Garcia goes in for the kill.
Another one of his strong points is his focus. Garcia’s eyes stay glued on the eyes of his opponent and he never telegraphs what his next move will be. Garcia is like a scanner when he enters the ring, pacing back and forth and then he breaks out his death stare on his opponent and begins to analyze his victim. It’s like watching Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. This writer believes his break out weapon this year will be the killer upper cut. It almost dropped Miguel Armendarez in his last fight, Garcia could have ended the fight right there but I believe he wanted to give the fans as much "Milo Time" as he could.