Robert Garcia Invites Adrien Broner to his Training Camp to Recover
When Floyd Mayweather Jr. was looking to face Manny Pacquiao in 2009, he demanded a higher grade of drug testing. Mayweather was skeptical of Pacquiao getting stronger and stronger as he rose in weight and sought to make sure the playing field was level. At the time, many thought this was simply a form of ducking and cast scorn on Mayweather.
Nevertheless, this ushered in a new era of drug testing in the sport. Since that time however, as drug testing became far more stringent, countless fighters have been busted with PED’s in their system. So even though he was ridiculed for insisting on the expanded testing, ultimately Mayweather’s perseverance has benefited the sport overall. This appears to be a similar road that Ryan Garcia is walking.
When preparing for his match with Javier Fortuna, Garcia would bow out citing mental health concerns as his reasoning. Similar to Mayweather, scores of fans and insiders berated him as being weak and simply making excuses. Yet, in the wake of his admitting to his mental issues, more and more fighters are coming out saying the same type of thing. Austin Williams, Danny Garcia and Teofimo Lopez, for example, are all modern fighters who have voiced their own mental health concerns.
A SAFE SPACE
Before Ryan Garcia ever had a chance to withdraw from a fight, four division champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner (34-4-1, 24 KO’s) had long since made his mental anguish a matter of public knowledge. He has aired his troubles with the aforementioned Floyd Mayweather Jr, promoter Al Haymon and he has even insinuated that he’d commit suicide more than once.
Just recently he pulled out of a fight with Omar Figueroa citing mental health reasons as the culprit. Former fighter and current chief second Robert Garcia has seen the damage that boxing can reap on fighters and is sympathetic to these realities. This is why when speaking with Fight Hype, Garcia made a compassionate offer to Broner.
“I know him, personally. He is a great person, man! I know the media, people that don’t know him might think he’s arrogant and they don’t like him or whatever but he is actually a great person […] and if he is going through some personal problems, hopefully he gets better from that.
I would actually love to invite him to my training camp. Not so that I could train him, but maybe just so that he could recover and get better. Because being around world class fighters, training around the Jesse Rodriguez’s, the Jose Ramirez’s, you know, not because I want to train him, but just to invite him so he could do something different.
Get away from what he is used to and live in my camp house and train and just hang out. It would probably help him out a lot. If he’s willing to do it, I’d be more than happy to invite him to my training camp just so that he could recover. We’ve had some problems with fighters, we just haven’t told the media, but some of my fighters have had mental problems also. But we deal with it, we know how to deal with it and they get better! They get back to becoming world champions in the future. So can Adrien do the same? Yes!”
A SIMPLE SEED PLANTED
This blatant form of compassion is admirable. It will be interesting to see if Broner takes Garcia up on his offer, or seeks some other form of recovery process. In the end, we all would just like to see The Problem get his situation in order without any more calamity to himself or those he loves. In terms of the larger subject of mental health itself, this is clearly continuing to evolve in the sport.
Given how far drug testing has come since the creation of organizations such as the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA), it would be unsurprising to see the rise of companies offering pre- and post-fight mental health screenings. Along this line of thinking, it would not require a grand leap of imagination to foresee more stringent forms of testing of the brain and other traditional chemical markers of subpar mental state put into place. Who knows? The only thing that we do know for sure is that, like the subject of drug testing, the notion of mental health in boxing is here to stay. So, let’s watch how it evolves.
By: Bakari Simpson