By: Sean Crose
You can tell a lot about people watching them eat. Take Mikey Garcia, for instance. Some time ago, I caught a video interview with the multi-division titlist. Garcia looked as if he might have been approached while enjoying a breakfast sandwich. He wasn’t irritable, however. As always, the man was polite. He also appeared to be aware of his eating process, making it a point to carefully dab at his face with a napkin to keep from making a mess. This clearly wasn’t a person to talk with his mouth full. My mother would have approved. That interview said volumes about Garcia. I can’t recall what he talked about in the clip, but I remember the careful way he ate that sandwich. Here was a guy, I concluded, who was keenly aware of his own actions.
And, since watching that video, I’ve viewed Garcia as someone defined by a deliberateness few possess. Whether he’s waiting years for a contract dispute to play out, planning for his financial future, or training in his brother’s gym, Garcia always looks to be approaching things like a chess player. Such acutely deliberate behavior has served the man incredibly well. He’s found success few do both in and out of the prize ring. Yet last Saturday night in California, Garcia’s deliberateness failed him – for he couldn’t crack the code of an unknown Spaniard named Sandor Martin.
Deliberateness can be so effective because it’s usually based on an intelligent assumption of results. If we diet, we lose weight. If we save money, we become financially secure. Deliberateness, however, can sometimes ironically allow us to let down our guard. If we put too much faith into being deliberate, we may not know how to adapt when a wild card – in Garcia’s case, Martin’s slippery style – is thrown into the mix. There wasn’t much altering of Garcia’s game plan on Saturday. He simply kept stalking his man. Perhaps nothing would have worked to the Californian’s advantage, but Garcia really didn’t try anything new. There was no Leonard-Hearns dichotomy to Saturday’s fight.
And so, Garcia stepped out of the ring having lost the second of his last three matches. The first loss came to Errol Spence in what was obviously a case of a bridge too far. This time, though, it appeared that Garcia had simply been bested by a better opponent. Even in defeat, Garcia, good sport as always, seemed deliberate in his choice of words. It’s actually one of the many likeable things about the guy. In an age of big mouths, Garcia actually thinks before he speaks. If he’s to meet Martin again, however, Garcia may want to loosen his deliberate mentality up enough to expect the unexpected – and then to deal with it effectively.
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