Robert Garcia and his fighters didn't slow down in 2012, as the Oxnard, California, trainer led his men to win after win, including four HBO main event victories for Nonito Donaire, a bounce-back year for Kelly Pavlik (3-0), Brandon Rios' Fight of the Year contender against Mike Alvarado, younger brother Mikey Garcia continuing to win, and a rebuilding effort for Marcos Maidana.
Garcia has been voted unanimously as the 2012 BLH Trainer of the Year, the only unanimous award of the season.
Garcia won our award last year, too, though most 2011 awards went to Virgil Hunter, who came in second last year and this year in the BLH voting. In third place this year is Pablo Sarmiento, mainly known for his work with Sergio Martinez, followed by Carl Froch's trainer Robert McCracken, Hall of Famer Nacho Beristain, and the late Emanuel Steward.
Garcia's island of misfit toys camp is one of my favorite things in boxing. Even with one-eyed Margarito done, you still have Brandon Rios, Kelly Pavlik, Marcos Maidana, Mikey Garcia, and Nonito Donaire under Garcia's care. Eventually, Garcia's guys will lose some fights, and everyone will wonder whether or not he's actually any good at his job. He will be good at it then, he's good at it now. Trainer of the Year awards generally just go to the hottest guy at the moment, and these things change quickly. For now, it's Robert Garcia.
It's only right that Garcia completes the Fighter-Trainer one-two with Donaire, and for good reason. It's hard to downplay just how good a year the Californian has had, and what's more impressive is the variety of trainer hats he switches between from fight to fight - often in the space of one card.
Whether taking Donaire from strength to strength following his switch from his father, acting as the voice of reason in the corner of a sometimes seemingly-untameable Brandon Rios, mentoring his own brother to what could be a breakout year ahead, and resurrecting or rejuvenating the likes of Kelly Pavlik and Marcos Maidana, in 2012 Garcia did it all, and won every time.