You know Gabriel Sarmiento. He’s the guy who always wears the shades, one of the best trainers in the business. Trains one of the top pound-for-pound fighters on the planet Sergio Martinez. Not well-known in boxing circles yet, the Spanish boxing trainer discusses how he started with Martinez, what attributes of Martinez most impressed him, why they will defeat Paul Williams in November, and much more…
BoxingInsider.com: First of all, why do you always wear the sunglasses indoors (he’s wearing them again this afternoon at a New York restaurant)? Do you have some kind of an eye condition?
Gabriel Sarmiento: “When I first came here with Sergio for a fight, (international matchmaker) Sampson Lewkowicz said to wear them, so security would know I was part of the entourage. I did and kept on wearing them ever since.”
BoxingInsider.com: When did you start working with Sergio?
Gabriel Sarmiento: “I started nine years ago in Spain with Sergio. I originally started in boxing with my brother Pablo who was an IBO champion. After the Margarito fight in 2000 it appeared Sergio’s time in Argentina had finished. In 2002 Sergio came to Spain and got in contact with my brother who got us together.”
BoxingInsider.com: Is Sergio an easy fighter to train – or are you an excellent boxing trainer?
Gabriel Sarmiento: “I took advantage. I got a dull diamond and I sharpened and shined that diamond. I took advantage of his talent and I need to continue to encourage that talent to fulfill.”
BoxingInsider.com: Do you remember the qualities you first saw in Sergio that stood out to you and inspired you?
Gabriel Sarmiento: “Velocity and leg work. Without the legs he couldn’t do what we’re doing. He has very good defense. Then he attacks. But above all it’s leg work we worked on first in order to go to other aspects.”
BoxingInsider.com: You stated that Paul Williams was forced to take this fight. Does that mean you believe Williams doesn’t really want this rematch fight with Sergio?
Gabriel Sarmiento: “His manager (George Peterson & Al Haymon) didn’t want the fight. It’s not the time. Williams fought (Kermit) Cintron and was supposed to knock him out and that didn’t come out that way. Cintron was the winner of that fight.”
(Note: Actually Williams won by technical win 4 after Cintron shockingly dove out of the ring after a missed punch and supposedly hurt his shoulder, with Williams ahead on two judges scorecards, though many media members thought Cintron was winning the fight.)
“Things didn’t go right from then on for Williams. So this fight (rematch with Sergio) clearly isn’t of any help to Williams. That’s why the managers didn’t want to go to this fight. They wouldn’t accept it from the get-go.”
BoxingInsider.com: Now we are here and the rematch will take place in November 20 in Atlantic City. The first fight last December was very close, most thought Paul won by a narrow margin over Sergio. Why are you so certain and confident Sergio will win this time?
Gabriel Sarmiento: “He (Williams) didn’t win the first fight. Paul Williams didn’t feel he was a victor in that fight either. Sergio is evolving and he will win this fight. He’s a diamond in the rough, he needs to be polished but he will win this fight. Last time the trainer of Paul Williams predicted he was going to win the fight in the first round. He said Martinez will be knocked out. And if there were 20 seconds left in the first round after Sergio knocked down Paul Williams, Sergio would have had the knockout.”
Translation by Carrie Sanchez
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