Rafael Garcia, a fixture on the Las Vegas boxing scene for decades, passed away Tuesday morning (Nov. 13) from complications of leukemia at age 88. In recent years, Garcia was best known as Floyd Mayweather’s cut man and hand wrapper. He was instantly recognizable by his ever-present beret which was decorated with pins.
A 45-year resident of Las Vegas, Garcia was born in Puebla, Mexico. During his more than 50 years in boxing, Garcia worked with 35 world champions, including such notables as Roberto Duran, Alexis Arguello, Wilfredo Gomez, and Rafael Marquez. He had a long association with Top Rank where he worked as an assistant to BWAA 1999 Trainer of the Year Miguel Diaz. When young Mayweather had a falling out with Top Rank honcho Bob Arum, Garcia chose to stay with Mayweather.
In 2010, Las Vegas Review-Journal boxing writer Steve Carp wrote that “Garcia’s constant maintenance helped restore Mayweather’s once-brittle hands.” Speaking to Carp, Mayweather said, “He’s the best. But it’s not just the hands. It’s the face. It’s the body. He has such an extensive knowledge of boxing. I trust Rafael completely. No one else touches my hands but Raf.”
This past summer, Garcia was inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame along with such notables as Thomas Hearns, Michael Carbajal, Erik Morales, Richie Sandoval, the Spinks brothers, and late Ken Norton. Joining him at the banquet was former WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas, Garcia’s godson.
Check back later as we expand this story with personal reminiscences of the late Rafael Garcia.
Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.