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With IBF Title, Garcia Gets Another Promotion

July 25, 1998|VINCE KOWALICK

Robert Garcia continues to bob and weave between boxing promoters.

Garcia, 23, became the first world champion from Ventura County when he won the International Boxing Federation junior-lightweight title in March with a 10-round decision over Harold Warren.

Now, Garcia has switched promotional teams for the second time this year.

Garcia, undefeated in 30 fights, will make his first title defense Sept. 19 against unheralded Ramon Ledon at an undetermined Las Vegas venue. The fight will be Garcia's first under Dan Goossen and America Presents, which last week signed the Oxnard fighter to a three-year contract.

The transition comes five months after an inactive and frustrated Garcia severed ties with Don King and joined New Jersey-based Main Events, the promotional company headed by Dino Duva and his father, trainer Lou Duva.

Garcia's agreement with Main Events briefly aligned him with former U.S. Olympian Fernando Vargas, a former stablemate at La Colonia Youth Boxing and a major attraction for Main Events.

Both fighters beamed at the prospect of appearing on the same card. Now, Garcia, training at Goossen's Big Bear facility, and Vargas, training in Florida, are a continent apart.

"Maybe the promoters can get together and we can do something soon in L.A.," Garcia said.

"I've had a lot of offers but [America Presents] came up with the best deal. This is better for me. Main Events, they were good. Lou Duva was real good to me and fun to be with. They got me the title shot."

Garcia is a coup for Goossen and his growing stable of talented fighters that includes former U.S. Olympian David Reid and brothers Gabriel and Rafael Ruelas.

As a teenager, Garcia became acquainted with Dan and trainer Joe Goossen at the brothers' Van Nuys gym.

"It's amazing how things happen in this crazy world," Dan Goossen said. "During our Ten Goose days we never had a major stable of fighters. But that's what we're looking for--a world champion or a fighter that has the ability to become world champion."

Garcia's departure leaves the Duvas less one world champion. And with a bitter taste.

Dino Duva could not be reached Friday. A Main Events spokesman said the organization was surprised to learn this week of Garcia's decision.

"We don't yet know what the deal is," spokesman Donald Tremblay said. "All we know is, he has a promotional contract with us. But sometimes, this isn't a logical business."

Garcia said his contract with Main Events was voided by a Las Vegas arbitrator because it was not signed by members of his management team.

Last month, an arbitrator ruled against Garcia, allowing managers Scott Woodworth and Sterling MacPherson to retain rights to Garcia through 2000.

Throughout his career, Garcia has been trained exclusively by his father, Eduardo, who, along with Lou Duva, trains Vargas.

That arrangement won't change for Garcia, no matter who is his promoter.

"No way," Garcia said. "Why would I want to change?"

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Vargas' 16-month ascent from his professional debut to No. 1-ranking by the International Boxing Federation is the fastest of any fighter in the history of the IBF.

Vargas has had only 13 fights, all knockout victories. Vargas is scheduled to fight for the first time on HBO when he faces Jose Rivera on Aug. 22 at Atlantic City.

Rivera, 25, of Philadelphia, is 26-1-1 with 19 knockouts.

Vargas might fight for the IBF junior-middleweight title before his 21st birthday in December. Champion Luis Campas is required to make a mandatory title defense by the end of the year.

*

Rafael Ruelas of Sylmar, 52-3 with 42 knockouts, will fight Konstantin Tszyu of Russia in a 12-round World Boxing Council super-lightweight title elimination bout Aug. 15 at El Paso, Texas. Tszyu is 20-1-1 with 16 knockouts.

The winner will fight Miguel Angel Gonzalez for the vacant WBC title, probably in the fall. The Aug. 15 card will include a 10-round bout between Gonzalez and John John Molina.

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Notes: Eddie Contreras of Santa Paula, who won the California lightweight title in Oxnard in January, has left Eduardo Garcia and is training with Joe Goossen in Van Nuys. Contreras, 12-2-3, is the second former member of La Colonia Boxing Club to join Goossen. Goossen also trains lightweight Carlos Martinez of Oxnard, a member of the 1996 Mexican Olympic team. . . . Contreras has been dropped from a scheduled fight on the Aug. 29 card at at L.A. Fitness Center in Woodland Hills. The program, promoted by Robert Valdez of Oxnard, will include middleweight Nick Martinez (9-0) and lightweight Antonio DeSantiago (6-0), and the pro debut of California Golden Gloves champion Jesse Casas. A woman's bout also is scheduled. . . . Bridgett "Baby Doll" Riley of Studio City defended her International Female Boxing Assn. bantamweight title with a ninth-round technical knockout over Aicha Lahsen on June 26 at Las Vegas. Riley, 25, a former gymnast and five-time world-champion kickboxer, is 6-2.

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