Cut men can keep Mayweather and Pacquiao in the fight

Rafael Garcia, 85, and Miguel Diaz, 77, are cut men for Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, respectively

The two boxing cut men have spent nearly 100 years combined devoted to their craft of easing panic, patching damage and restoring calm in the 60 seconds between rounds, when a sudden injury threatens to alter the outcome of a fight.

So Rafael Garcia, 85, and Miguel Diaz, 77, cut men for Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Manny Pacquiao, respectively, could play a prominent role in the drama Saturday when the biggest fight in years happens at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

"I'm nervous now before the fight," Garcia said. "Of course I'm nervous. And it's not just me. It's the singers. Everybody who gets in that ring. No matter who you are. None of us know what's going to happen in there.

"And we're the guys, as cut men, who are supposed to do the job to make them well, with all the people on television watching, some saying, 'No, they're doing it wrong,' all this and that. But in the fight, I'm focused on how he's doing, and I know what I'm doing."

Both Garcia and Diaz will follow their fighters to the ring carrying theirmedical bags, filled with coagulants, gauze, petroleum jelly and anti-swelling devices.

Neither is a doctor and they don't care about maintaining a gentle bedside manner.

"Exact opposite," Diaz said. "A doctor tries to be too perfect, too clean for this."

He lets others, such as Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach or the boxer's longtime friend and assistant Buboy Fernandez, verbalize any soothing thoughts.

From Diaz, his directions are direct: "Don't move your head! Don't put no water over the head, please! Let me clean the wound!

"I put the medicine in, the Vaseline to cover it, so the fighters can do whatever they want," he explained.

Diaz said he uses three types of substances, approved by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, to stem blood flow. For cuts around the nose and below the eyes, there's Adrenaline 1-1000, a liquid applied by a cotton swab that has proved effective at sealing cuts.

Forehead cuts are different, because arteries in the area can accelerate bleeding. That happened late in the 12th and final round of Pacquiao's unanimous-decision victory last year after an accidental head butt by Timothy Bradley.

Diaz only treated the wound right after the bout, and Pacquiao later needed 32 stitches.

To treat such cuts, Diaz said he uses an expensive, plant-derived coagulate known as Aventine that hurries the clotting process and costs $600 for four grams.

Both Adrenaline 1-1000 and Aventine are prescription medicines.

Another medicine, Thrombin, is effective and preferred by Diaz in its powder form when mixed with Vaseline.

"From that, you get the action that stops the bleeding," Diaz said. "Usually, the first thing I use is the Adrenaline. If it doesn't work, you use the Thrombin. If the Thrombin doesn't work, then you use Aventine. You've got to shut the wound, stop the cut."

Garcia understands that urgency well.

He faced an emergency situation last May when Mayweather suffered a nasty cut above the right eye in the fourth round of his fight against Marcos Maidana that was close on the scorecards.

"He couldn't even see for the whole round, comes to the corner and says, 'Raf, I can't even see,'" Garcia said.

Garcia responded: "Don't worry, champ, everything's going to be all right."

"I cut off the bleeding," Garcia said. "Then he could go fight, and you see what happened." Mayweather emerged with a victory by majority decision.

Garcia declined to divulge the exact blood-stopping cocktail he prefers, saying only that he usually obtains it "at any pharmacy," and noted the state commission approves its use.

Nevada recently approved another substance, seaweed-based Qwick-Aid, which absorbs blood flow and forms a sealing gel.

"If you don't use the right medicine, you could get them a detached retina or an infection in the eye," Garcia said.

Garcia has worked with Mayweather since his 2001 fight against Diego Corrales, while Diaz has been in Pacquiao's corner since his 2008 fight against Oscar De La Hoya.

Cut men earn about $50,000, or more, on major fights.

Diaz recognizes the magnitude of the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout, but says he's certain the pressure won't get the best of him.

"I'm a professional," Diaz said, noting that he's worked "more than 1,000 fights, easy" since 1978, adding that he's worked in the corner of at least 36 world champions.

Diaz also was the trainer for nine other champions, including Maidana.

Diaz said he's proud of how he gained training in most of boxing's disciplines "from the ground up."

He's also been around long enough to have seen many twists and turns of fortune in the sport. For instance, in 2008 veteran cut man Joe Chavez decided to remain with Oscar De La Hoya and left Pacquiao, opening up a job for Diaz.

Last year Garcia was worried that his job was in jeopardy when Mayweather said that he was going to make changes in his camp.

During training sessions Garcia is well known for recording Mayweather's punches on a heavy bag with a pitch counter, while getting those around the champion to bark, "Hard work! Dedication!"

Garcia said he finally asked Mayweather if he was out.

"[Mayweather] said, 'No, Raf, you come back with me,'" Garcia said. "I love him. I believe he loves me. He has confidence in me."

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire

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