CARSON, CALIF. – Legendary basketball coach Jim Valvano once said, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” The sport of boxing often mirrors that sentiment, as fathers not only believe in their sons, but can also be found in their corners -literally. From recent Boxing Hall of Fame inductees Oscar De La Hoya, Joe Calzaghe, Felix Trinidad and their fathers, to contemporary duos such as Danny and Angel Garcia and Shawn and Ken Porter.
The Saturday, June 21 fight card headlined by Robert Guerrero vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai from StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® is no exception, as three of the six televised fighters are trained by their fathers -Robert Guerrero, Gary Russell Jr. and Vasyl Lomachenko. Here is what they had to say about the impact their fathers have had on their careers as Father’s Day approaches this Sunday.
ROBERT “THE GHOST” GUERRERO
“Being a father is my biggest accomplishment and the most important aspect of my life. I teach my kids the right ways of doing things and to treat everyone with respect.
“I feel a duty to raise my kids with love and discipline. I’m a big believer in Jesus Christ so I want to make sure my kids get to know God at an early age.”
GARY RUSSELL JR.
“My father plays a very big role in my career. My father’s the painter, I’m just the canvas. I think a lot of the time we give the fighters all the credit, and we forget about the coaches that molded these fighters from the ground up.
“My dad put his life on hold to make sure that my life is 100 percent correct. It means a lot to me, plus he taught me how to be a good father to my little ones. He not only means a lot to me professionally, but he also means the world to me as a father.
“It’s difficult when you have a dad who’s also your coach because sometimes he’ll make you feel like the worst fighter ever in the gym, and then we’ll get home and he wants to sit down and watch a movie together after he just finished yelling at you. It’s definitely difficult, but we work on it.”
“Unfortunately, we do not celebrate the U.S. Father’s Day in the Ukraine, neither in Russia or in the former Soviet Union. We [Eastern Europeans] don’t know that kind of a day or celebration. Now that I know of that custom, I’m going to start celebrating Father’s Day from this Sunday to June 21st.
“Everything that I have today, everything that is in me today, is from my father. He’s here next to me, and he’s always with me. He stands by me, he’s my hero”