By Fernando Vargas - TITLE Board of Advisors
My father figure, mentor and coach, Eduardo Garcia always told me "Intelligence before bravery." I didn't hear him say it to all of his fighters, but he knew me and knew I needed to hear it. He knew I needed to hear it often. I loved to fight and I loved to get my anger all out, but he knew the importance of keeping my head and being more of a thinking fighter.
These were words that I started to live by. The philosophy and these words became something I was able to slowly apply in the ring and it was a very important lesson in my development as a fighter.
It was an approach he really stressed going into my first world championship fight with Yori Boy Campos in 1998. I only had 14 fights, against Campas' 74 going into that fight. He had a lot more experience, so Eduardo really wanted to be sure that I kept my head about me, not get over-anxious or over-aggressive. I listened and it paid off. I thought my way through the fight, applied just the right amount of pressure and knocked the champion out in the seventh round. I broke him down by fighting a smart fight, not just going after him.
Intelligence before bravery can have meaning in all parts of your life. Having heart is important and it's a good trait, but there are times that you should think before acting careless or being reckless. This is something I pass along occasionally when I see my fighters getting too caught up in brawling, a reckless lifestyle or just thinking they're invincible.
There are times that you have to bite down and just fight, but don't lose your head or let your emotions get the best of you. Know when to lead with your head, instead of your heart. Brains before brawn. Intelligence before bravery.
Three-time World Champion, “Ferocious” Fernando Vargas fought with an elite class of
fighters throughout the 90s and into the 2000s. He holds wins over Yori Boy Campos (which also made him the youngest Jr. Middleweight to ever hold that title), Winky Wright, Ike Quartey and others. Vargas faced the best fighters of his era in Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and Felix Trinidad, in what many consider modern-day classics. To this day he remains a fan-favorite because of his accessibility and take-no-prisoners style in the ring. Vargas currently owns and operates the Feroz Fight Factory in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he trains a stable of rising amateur and professional prospects.
TITLE Board of Advisors:
A running series of blog posts collected by TITLE Boxing through our relationships with individuals inside the sport. Fighters, trainers, managers, dieticians, referees and more have offered their words, and we bring them to you here.
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