Joe Goossen received a phone call from Ryan Garcia’s representatives on Thursday to see if he’d be open to coaching the budding star.
By Friday night, the undefeated Garcia had announced he was no longer training with Eddy Reynoso and alongside Canelo Alvarez in San Diego.
Instead, Garcia preferred independence and to strike out on his own.
By Sunday morning, the Van Nuys, California-based Goossen had already met to say goodbye to his family and was making the near three-hour drive down the SoCal coast to San Diego to start living there full time in order to train Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) in preparation for his April 9 fight against Emmanuel Tagoe (32-1) in San Antonio.
“Once I got in the car, I was all in and not looking back,” Goossen told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “The fact that I’m packing up and moving to another city speaks for itself. I’m really gung ho on Ryan. I’ve always been a huge advocate of him, and I’ve said it in the past and in the beginning of his career, and I’ll say it again – nobody will ever beat Ryan Garcia when he is at his best. As a trainer, when you have somebody of that nature, it’s incredibly inspiring and motivating.”
Garcia will still be co-trained by his father Henry Garcia. The family has a long past with Goossen dating back to the fighter’s days as an amateur. Goossen helped guide Garcia to his fifteenth and final national title before he turned professional in 2016.
The Garcias couldn’t work out a deal at the time to work with Goossen. Both sides remained friendly, however, and they’d even have dinner around major boxing events, which last happened March 2020 in New York while Goossen was working as an analyst for a FOX show.
Henry coached his son for the first 16 fights before handing duties over to Reynoso in 2018.
The 2019 trainer of the year Reynoso coached Garcia to five wins and five knockouts during their 3 ½ run together.
“I know everyone involved with Ryan and have great relationships with all of them, including his mom Lisa and dad Henry. We have a past, and it’s a friendly one. Ryan has spent time at my Ten Goose Boxing Gym as an amateur. We know each other on a boxing level as well as a personal level,” said Goossen.
“Only they can tell you what led to the decision [to move on from Reynoso]. I would only speculate. How they were led to it, I could only imagine, and I don’t want to do that. They are in control of their own careers and lives. But however they came about the decision, I am quite happy with it.”
The California Hall of Fame trainer Goossen has coached Diego Corrales, Joel Casamayor, Shane Mosley, Michael Nunn, as well as brothers Rafael and Gabriel Ruelas throughout his career. More recently, he’s cornered the likes of Chris Arreola and Sergey Lipinets.
Goossen has also guided the careers of established stars who’ve wanted to work with him midway through their careers as Garcia has done. Most notably, Goossen coached Casamayor to a sixth-round TKO win against Corrales in 2003, only to then switch corners and coach Corrales to a split decision win over Casamayor in 2004. Mosley also tapped Goossen as a trainer in 2004 for his rematch and majority decision loss against Ronald “Winky” Wright.
“I’ve been watching Ryan’s career and progress. I’ve seen his maturity and prowess. I’m quite familiar with what he does,” said Goossen. “Ryan is really coming into his own and his real prime is right now. I think Ryan is just really starting to feel his oats. I think he’s going to be hitting harder than ever. The difference in strength is palpable for 23 going on 24 than 22 going on 23.”
Goossen said he’s not concerned about navigating around Garcia’s interests outside of boxing, which heavily involve social media, commercial projects, and filming content.
Garcia will have to rebound after a rocky 2021 that started spectacularly with a knockout win against Luke Campbell only to then be derailed with a hiatus due to mental health issues as well as right-hand surgery.
In the midst of it all, the undisputed super middleweight champion Alvarez opined that Garcia was wasting time, talent, he wasn’t 100% dedicated to boxing, and that it was a bad sign.
“I don’t think I have to draw any lines or set ground rules for Ryan. I’m going to give it 120% and I believe Ryan is like-minded,” said Goossen. “It’s not even something you have to discuss. It’s self-evident right now. That thought really hasn’t even crossed my mind. Ryan is motivated on his own right now. I think he’s quite aware of what he can accomplish and the mark he can make in boxing as a superstar. He knows how I work. I know what’s on his mind right now. He’s looking to be the best he could be. If that’s the case, I won’t draw any lines. In fact, if I thought that I had to, I’d be quite disappointed. Ryan is completely motivated right now.”
Goossen said he was impressed with the resilience and conditioning Garcia displayed in his January 2021 fight against the Olympics gold medalist Campbell. Garcia got off the deck to ultimately put away the Brit with a body shot in the seventh round.
Hand speed and power have been Garcia’s strongest assets throughout his six-year career, but improvements in defense and footwork have been desired.
Goossen is ready to rebuild Garcia for his next breakthrough.
“Once we start working, if corrections need to be made, they will be addressed. There isn’t anybody out there that doesn’t need a set of eyes to offer ongoing suggestions. I don’t care how far you’ve come, there are always things to work on, and I am going to take it as it comes,” said Goossen.
“I teach boxing, but I also know that certain styles fit certain fighters, mindsets, and personalities. You teach the style that they prefer, and to the opponent to whom we’re fighting and strategize based on that. We will train and drill to put a game plan together to beat Tagoe come April 9.”