Veteran Cutman Aaron Navarro Discusses Prospects Who Wear A ‘Tiger Suit’

Boxing Scene

Cutman Aaron Navarro has an expression about the untested prospect and he calls it ‘The Tiger Suit.’

Navarro is the cutman of Regis Prograis and O’Shaquie Foster. He is also a well-known fixture in the Houston, Texas, area and had a distinguished professional boxing career. 

Navarro has witnessed a lot. He has been through a lot. He has seen prospects turn into world champions as well as the harsher side of the sport with failed potential. For Navarro, unproven fighters fit his moniker of ‘The Tiger Suit.’

“I had my first fight in the ring in 1978,” remembered Navarro. “There wasn’t any social media. If somebody didn’t see it, that was the end of it.”

“The way I always put it is this, you see this in a lot of things, you see it in the streets and the neighborhoods, but you see it in boxing quite a bit,” stated Navarro. “Some guys like the idea of being a fighter more than being a fighter. You and I know plenty of guys like that and in this day and age it is worse with all the social media stuff.”

Navarro’s metaphor is simple. You can fool people only for so long that at some point you have to fight someone of substance and that will be the moment of the truth. 

“You could walk around the jungle with a tiger suit on for quite some time,” stated Navarro. “Rabbits and all these other little things like birds that see you will say ‘Oh, **** there is a tiger!’ They are going to take off running, scared and whatever. But, at some point, you are going to run into a real tiger. That is when you are going to find out.”

“Because the tiger is going to look at you and say, ‘Oh hey, you are a tiger?’ ‘Oh no, mine is just a suit.’ ‘Nah, you like a tiger to me, man.’ You see that moment happen in boxing every so often, right? Where one of these guys has a great-looking record.”

Then, there is the other thing about boxing, the model in which it runs. Boxing is unlike other sports. The culture of boxing is to develop young decorated amateurs and put them in a position to be a star. You rarely see young fighters match up evenly early in their career. During the developmental process, you will have a lot of talented fighters and some fighters who have some ‘special effects’ put in place for them to look a certain way. 

“See there is a difference between building a fighter and building a fighter up,” explained Navarro. “Building a fighter up you are giving him 20 pieces of cake and he is eating it with his fingers, and it is easy. If you build a fighter like [Bruce] Trampler [at Top Rank] and them are really good at doing, by the time they are 20-0, they know how to fight.”

Navarro believes that some fighters will get built the right way, fighting different styles, for example, a tall fighter, a southpaw, a big puncher… The records might not be sexy, but they prep the fighter for a big moment. Others might fight to handle selected opponents who they have every advantage over and that is building up a fighter. 

“At some point, those guys who come in and overdo it, they are going to run into a real fighter,” stated Navarro. 

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