Dealing in truth is rough trade in this world, and especially in the world of big-time boxing. Dealing in truth can lose you a ton of money.
The truth about Anthony Joshua’s recent losing effort against Oleksandr Usyk is that Usyk was simply stronger, mentally, than Joshua. It showed in the way the Ukraine native came back after eight close rounds and a nearly disastrous ninth to dominate the last three frames and take the decision.
Joshua’s mental weakness, in comparison to Usyk’s overwhelming will to win, also showed in those last three rounds.
And this was something that Joshua’s newly-acquired trainer Robert Garcia noted in the immediate aftermath of the heavyweight championship fight in Saudi Arabia.
“During that ninth round, me and the guys in the corner were telling ourselves that we had the fight,” Garcia told Spanish-language boxing site Izquierdazo, in an interview which was later translated to English by Boxingscene.com and various other media outlets. “Usyk came back stronger in the tenth round, and that changed the fight. I have even thought in these last few days that it was Anthony Joshua who mentally defeated himself. In the ninth, Joshua threw a lot of punches, and almost put Usyk out. Maybe, he emptied out [in trying to finish Usyk off], but maybe it was just that Usyk came stronger and more motivated to the tenth round, we don’t know.
“In this fight, I think that Usyk was mentally stronger. I think he was stronger, to the point that after being close to a knockout, instead of giving up, he came back stronger…And I think that Anthony’s mind is a bit weaker than Usyk’s, because instead of going out stronger, his mind and exhaustion play games with him.
“Because of my own experience, I can notice when a fighter is mentally defeated. In such a situation, instructions don’t work, because the fighter is not listening anymore, his mind collapses. What we did with Anthony was trying to motivate him, and not giving instructions on how to win the fight. You have to instill images, like his family, to switch him on, but that didn’t work either.”
Now, however, Garcia is denying those quotes about his fighter attributed to him in recent articles.
“I talked to a Spanish [site] that I know, so I gave them an interview. But from Spanish translated to English, they make it seem like ‘Robert is talking s***’ pretty much,” Garcia told ESNEWS, in a recent video interview.
“But, no, I would never say that about my fighters. I’ve never done it before, and I never will. Plus, Anthony was fighting a great fight.
“If I said Usyk, after the ninth round, where we all thought he was done, came back stronger mentally and physically…he surprised me…he did come back stronger…But that’s not talking [trash about Joshua]…I’m giving Usyk props and saying the truth. That doesn’t mean Anthony [was] mentally beat, no, I just said Usyk was stronger…I didn’t say that [Joshua was mentally beaten].
“The headline is, ‘Robert says Anthony mentally beat himself’ but I never said that. I said that Usyk after being hurt really bad in the ninth he came in the tenth like that never happened, he came strong which you’ve got to applaud that. So that’s not saying ‘oh Anthony was beat mentally’.
“We see that stuff from haters. But if you see it from reports, ‘Breaking news’ and s*** like that, then that kind of bothers you because there are people out there who might be a part of the team that actually do believe it. That actually think that it is true.
“Words in Spanish translated to English, it’s a big difference, but it’s the way it is. It bothers a little, but it’s not the end…If something like that happens and the fighter believes that and doesn’t want to get the real story, then that’s his problem too. If they read that, ‘Is this what I’m reading? Is it true?’ No.
“It’s actually a good story, but translated to English the way people do, they make it seem like I’m talking bad [about Joshua].”
Well, not to burst any bubbles, but what was posted on Boxingscene was very accurate based on the interview posted on Izquierdazo. Garcia DID say that Joshua was mentally defeated in his bout and was mentally weaker than Usyk.
If the veteran trainer claims that he never uttered those words to the reporter at the Spanish-language site and that the quotes attributed to him were entirely fabricated, that’s a completely different issue. That’s lawsuit territory, and rightly so. But that his words lost their meaning when translated from Spanish to English? Nope.
And Garcia’s esteemed trainer father, Eduardo, also saw things the way Robert did.
“He lacked the desire to win,” Garcia told YouTube channel TV Boxeo in Spanish. “He could’ve won, but he didn’t want it. He was lacking a lot, he didn’t want to win.”
The truth matters…even if it might cost you a ton of money later on. Lord knows the boxing media needs and deserves figurative (and maybe literal) kicks in the behind, violently and frequently. But, in this case, they didn’t get this wrong. Garcia hanging these people out to dry, making them the subject of scorn, just because the words he spoke have come back to bite him and threaten future paydays, is flat-out wrong.