Rafael Garcia, one of boxing's greatest trainers and cutman, has passed away at the age of 88.
Garcia, largely recognized by his cap fully decorated with pins, has worked with a number of legendary boxers, including Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roberto Duran, Alexis Arguello and Wilfredo Gomez.
Former junior welterweight and welterweight world champion Jessie Vargas, who is Garcia's godson, told ESPN Garcia was a once-in-a-lifetime trainer and has been loyal to everyone in the sport. According to Vargas, Garcia's health has been declining for the past year. Garcia was stung by a swarm of Africanized bees earlier this year, had a heart attack and was diagnosed with Leukemia two weeks ago.
"He was my godfather and he was like a father figure to me," Vargas said. "He's been watching my back since as long as I can remember, taking care of me. Every fighter he ever worked with he did his best to make sure they were in top condition and at their best. Once he was with you he never left you. He never turned his back on anyone, win or lose. He was with you to the end. That was something that distinguished him from a lot of other people in this sport. He was honest, truthful and loyal to his friends, to his family and to his fighters, but he treated all of us like family."
During his time with Mayweather, Garcia was best known for taking extreme care of Mayweather's hands, which had been known to be brittle later in his career. Mayweather once described Garcia as the best hand-wrapper in the sport in an interview several years ago. Garcia was inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in 2017 in the non-boxer category.