Hall of Fame Trainer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain Speaks Out!

20.12.06 - Interview by Ricardo Lois, -- Los Angeles -- When I call Ignacio Beristain, Hall of Fame Trainer to Juan Manuel Marquez and Rafael Marquez, I settle down and get comfortable, because for whatever the reason maybe, Nacho opens up and gives me an earful. I never know where the conversation will end up.

When called him on Tuesday evening, it had been well over a year and a half since I contacted the prolific Mexico City trainer, my intentions were to get a low down on recent reports from the Philippines claiming that Golden Boy Promotions was moving on from the Manny Pacquiao entanglement and working on a fight between Marco Antonio Barrera and J.M. Marquez..

I got the answer to my question and much, much more.

"We have not been contacted by Golden Boy Promotions about a fight with Marco Antonio Barrera, it is a fight we welcome, but we have not heard a thing," said Beristain, "We take it all as speculation. If Barrera cannot fight with Pacquiao, the obvious next best thing would be a fight with Marquez."

How about all the buzz within the Latin American fight community about an eminent battle between Panamanian Celestino Caballero and Rafael Marquez?

Nixed by Nacho.

"He (Celestino) is not as good as he would make you think. He loves to talk and take pictures…if you put him in the ring with Mike Tyson, he would challenge Tyson to fight and say he would knock him out," commented Nacho, "…we do not disrespect him for his way of being, many Panamanians act like that, they are a very expressive people."

Apparently offers have been made for a fight, but Beristain found them laughable.

"They must have been thinking I am a rookie in the business of boxing with the offer they made me. My fighter has defended his bantamweight championship seven times; Rafael is the fighter with prestige. Now Celestino comes along after defending his super bantamweight and wants to make a name for himself by fighting Marquez. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying he is a bad fighter."

Earlier this week Israel Vazquez, interviewed by Lee Bates on Fight News, announced his interest in fighting Rafael Marquez, a fight the Nacho would like to see for his boxer.

"A fight with Israel Vazquez is more attractive. Israel Vazquez is a tough fighter, he gained prestige, if we can beat him it makes Rafael even bigger."

Though few criticize Beristain as a trainer, the boxing press has attacked him as a manager. Critics argue Beristain guided J.M. Marquez past a rematch against Manny Pacquiao and into five low profile fights (including a loss to Chris John in Indonesia).

While I cannot state that Beristain is the best manager, but I can understand his motives in making the decisions he does: he is a proud man, Juan Manuel is a proud man, and they do not want to be exploited by anyone.

"People are looking to start a problem between Juan Manuel and myself. Marquez has been made offers of up to $500,000 from other managers, but Juan Manuel has turned them down. Juan is a thinking man; he understands if a manager is going to give him so much upfront, how much are they going to get after each fight? He understands that the manager wins in the end. He is a studied young man, he is actually an accountant."

Beristain continued to say, "For those people dreaming of landing the Marquez brothers as their clients, you can dream on because it will never happen. These people do not have the capacity to develop a fighter in the gym, so they want to buy them as ready made stars."

With the mega-fight between De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Junior nearing, there have been murmurs of Oscar's present trainer, the father of Floyd, Mayweather Sr. being released. Nacho, who was presented an offer to train De La Hoya earlier in the star's career, would welcome the opportunity to train the Golden Boy in this fight.

"I would want it, not for the money, but for the honor of working with a boxer of Oscar's caliber. So if the opportunity presented itself, I would be interested. Dreams come free," joked the Hall of Famer.

As the conversation came to an end, Nacho Beristain had wanted me to print the following message to a gentleman by the name of Nelson, a commentator for HBO's Spanish language team.

"Nelson commented during the fight between J.M. Marquez and Jimrex Jaca that I did not use the proper techniques in closing the cut Marquez had. That I did not have the correct medications to stop the cut. I respect him, he is a great announcer, but his comments were incorrect."

The always fiery Beristain continued.

"I have never had a cut man. On that night, Juan's fights were bad enough for the fight to be stopped, but we worked the cut. I may not use the well known medications for cuts, but I have my own legal and approved system and I want it to be respected. I would like to meet with Nelson to see what he knows about cuts, since he is such a bad ass."

A year and a half goes by, but Nacho is the same, you never know what to expect.

Article posted on 21.12.2006

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