QUOTE(BrutalBodyShots @ Nov 17 2007, 12:20 AM) [snapback]365554[/snapback]
260? Got a source to that number?
here is another source http://www.maxboxing.com/fischer/fischer082407.asp
Fernando Vargas and Sergio Mora don’t have much in common as far as their personalities are concerned, but the two Southern California-based middleweights who are both in action next month do share one thing (actually one person) in common when it comes to their training camps – Robert Ferguson.
The well-regarded weight-loss guru, who has recently made a name for himself in boxing as a nutritionist/strength and conditioning coach, is in charge of helping Vargas and Mora make their fighting weight in the healthiest manner possible while preparing their bodies for the physical rigors of the prize ring.
So if Vargas looks sluggish while slugging it out with Ricardo Mayorga on Sept. 8th or Mora peters out while duking it out with Kassim Ouma on Sept. 15th, you know who’s to blame – the one black guy in both the Mexican-American boxers’ teams. (Sorry Robert, you know I’m just kidding.)
Seriously, there won’t be any need for the blame game next month. Ferguson, who has also worked with Samuel Peter, Lucia Rijker, Steve Forbes and Alfonso Gomez, is damn good at what he does; and he’s more than proved himself and his worth to both Vargas and Mora.
Ferguson has been a member of ‘the Ferocious Squad’ since the camp for Vargas’s bout vs. Raymond Joval in early 2005. He joined Mora’s tightly knit ‘Snake Pit’ before Mora’s encounter with Archak TerMeliksetian last May.
Going into the Joval fight, Vargas had taken all of 2004 off to deal with a chronic back problem and thyroid disorder. As anyone who is familiar with ‘El Feroz’ can guess, the weight of the former two-time junior middleweight titlist had spiraled out of control. Ferguson got Vargas down to the contracted 162 pounds without “drying” him out and without compromising his stamina, which was needed to fend off the ultra-busy and naturally bigger Joval en route to a 10-round decision victory.
Going into the TerMeliksetian bout, Mora was known as a quick but punchless boxer who was prone to getting sick during his camps (so much so that his training and his bouts were often scheduled to factor in a missing week or two due to illness). Mora, who hadn’t scored a knockout in his past six bouts, brought Ferguson in to help increase his physical strength for grueling fights.
‘The Latin Snake’ got up from a second-round knockdown to stop TerMeliksetian in the seventh with a brutal barrage of punches, and not only gained stamina in the middle rounds of the bout but appeared to be the stronger of the two fighters.
“I also told Sergio that he would never get sick again before a fight,” Ferguson said proudly. “He was never a sickly person. He was just nutrient deficient like a lot of boxers.”
Ferguson, a doctoral candidate in sports psychology who holds certifications in performance nutrition and personal training AND is a former combat athlete, views boxers and watches the sport with a different eye than most of us.
For instance, where most observers will watch Jermain Taylor’s recent fights and assess (like a bunch of armchair Eddie Futches) that the middleweight champ’s technique has regressed, and where some wannabe psychologists (like one Freud Fischer) pontificate on how the Arkansas native may have lost his confidence, Ferguson only sees an athlete who has strained his body to make the 160-pound limit and is fighting accordingly in order to conserve his limited stamina over the 12-round distance.
He also has an interesting perspective of both Vargas and Mora.
Ferguson is somehow simultaneously coaching Vargas in Valencia and Mora in Montebello. Earlier this week, I sat down with him for lunch at the Simply Wholesome health food restaurant on West Slauson Avenue (which is thankfully within walking distance of Casa Del Fischer) to talk about his role and his take on both fighters whom he described as “totally different and extremely unique” individuals.
“Fernando is married with four kids; his mother lives close by and is over to the house a lot along with his many friends,” he said. “With Fernando, everything is about family. He loves to be surrounded by his family, and his team, the Squad, is family, too. His camp is an extension of his family.
“With Fernando, I work with him every day. I play a major role in the camp. I’m his friend, his full-time nutritionist, I’m his conditioning coach, I help with the sparring, etc.
“Sergio is different. He’s more independent and he’s more introverted. He’s definitely OK to sit by himself and read a book or watch a deep philosophical movie. He doesn’t have a big training team. He has ‘the Pit’. It’s just him, John [Montelongo] and Dean [Campos]. I’m the fourth wheel. I come in three days a week and do my thing and then get out. Those three have a special bond together that’s beautiful. They don’t do anything unless all three are 100% in agreement. The week of a fight they all go into the zone. They don’t even have to talk to communicate. I love that. They’re old school like that.”
With Mora, Ferguson’s work is focused on the physical strength and conditioning.
“Sergio wanted to be stronger and he didn’t want to worry about making weight,” he said.
“In the gym we work on building strength, but it has to be dynamic because that’s Sergio. He has a very particular, unorthodox style that works for him. Speed and footwork is important, so I have him doing stuff you would see a hockey player do – his workouts incorporate a lot of lateral movement. There’s a lot of focus on leg and hip strength, so we do a lot of Olympic lifts and power cleans.
“For the boxers I train, I look at the strengths of my client’s opponents and I get them ready for it with specific training. For Kassim Ouma, Sergio has to be ready for constant pressure and high volume punching. He’s going to need quick recovery time and he’s going to need to have his power down the stretch of the fight.
“There’s a workout I created for Sergio called ‘When the Fight’s Gone Bad’ and Sergio loves it. The purpose of the workout is to make you feel like a fighter does late in a tough fight; it mimics the grueling fight experience.
“People don’t think Sergio is a strong or powerful fighter. They’re wrong. You’re going to see more displays of power from him in future fights.”
Ferguson says Mora, The Ring magazine’s no. 10-rated middleweight, could easily make the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds.
“Getting Sergio’s weight under control was easy,” he said. “I’m not very hands on with the nutritional side of his training because he follows that to a tee. I can tell him what to eat and when to eat it over the phone and he understands.”
Vargas is an entirely different story.
“Vargas likes to eat, man,” Ferguson says laughing.
[size="5"][/size]Following his second stoppage loss to Shane Mosley last year, the Oxnard native who now makes his home in Camarillo briefly retired and ballooned up to an unhealthy 264 pounds before deciding that he wanted to fight one more time.
“That was in January,” said Ferguson. “We knew it would be Mayorga because Fernando has had it out for him ever since the [Javier] Castillejo fight, but the fight wasn’t set and we didn’t even have a date yet.
“But it didn’t matter. Fernando had made up his mind that he was going to fight again, so we packed up and set up camp in Ojai, California, about 50 miles east of Ventura, and in two months we knocked off 40 pounds.”
The pre-camp wasn’t just about weight loss. Vargas, who had gone AWOL for a couple of weeks prior to his rematch with Mosley, had lost a lot of muscle.
“He weighed 184 pounds 24 days before the second fight with Shane,” Ferguson said. “We got him down to 154, but that was the fight right there, making the contracted weight. Thank God he’s fighting at 162 pounds for Mayorga. Still, the challenge at the start of the year was getting his muscle back.
“The first thing I had to do was get his food under control. I got him on a schedule of eating every three hours. He could eat his favorite foods, like lasagna and pizza, but he had to cut out the junk like candy and sweets.
“Then we started having fun. I had him playing basketball, hitting the track, doing hikes and even swimming. He said he hadn’t swam in years, but after a month he thought he was the Mexican Mark Spitz.
“I had him running the bleachers at the track, jogging three-quarter laps and sprinting the final 100 meters, before moving up to running two to four 200 meter and 400 meter intervals. He was 220 pounds and he was movin’!
“We did everything but boxing. We didn’t watch tapes and we didn’t talk boxing. We had a blast, and we laughed a lot.”
Vargas returned home in March and continued the gradual lifestyle change that enabled him to continue losing weight.
“We worked out of his home gym and a local 24-hour club, something he used to be against. It was more of the same but with a few more pleasures since he was back with his wife and kids. But we substituted Patrón for wine, and I did the recipes for all of his meals.”
Vargas’s camp for Mayorga began in earnest a couple of weeks before the kick-off press conference at the STAPLES Center on July 12th. His weight is currently around the low 170s, high 160s and he’s reportedly looking sharp in sparring.
“He’s got three guys that he’s sparring with right now; yesterday he did 10 rounds,” said Ferguson. “His resting heart rate is 39. A good marathon runner’s resting heart rate is around 45. Your average fit guy who goes to the gym every day is around 50. The average American’s is 80.
“From a cardio standpoint, Fernando is ready to go. It’s all boxing right now.”
He says Mora is getting great gym work from main sparring partner James Kirkland, an explosive 154-pound prospect from Texas with a 19-0 (16) record.
“They both have to be ready for war because both Mayorga and Ouma are going to come in shape and they’re going to bring it,” said Ferguson. “But that’s OK. As different as they are, Fernando and Sergio have something in common – the more you push them the harder they fight back. Putting pressure on them only helps them.
“Vargas always has that fire. He’s pissed off and pumped up at the press conference all the way to the ring. Sergio has the same fire, but he keeps it under wraps until the fight. Once the boxing match becomes a battle, the ‘East L.A.’ in him comes out quick.”
Ferguson knows something about a warrior’s fire in the belly.
The Anderson, Indiana native who spent five years in the Marine Corps., and is a ‘Desert Storm’ veteran, has practiced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since ’92 and competed in Mixed Martial Arts bouts.
“I compiled a 10-2-1 MMA record,” said Ferguson, who used to fight with the rather flamboyant nickname of ‘the Prince of Leglocks’. “My last fight was vs. Dave Menne, the former UFC middleweight champ. It was a draw, but it was controversial. Most folks thought I won it. He weighed 191 pounds. I was 174. I took that fight for my speaking career. It was a real-life David vs. Goliath scenario that I could talk about and it worked out.”
Ferguson, who has written two books on dieting, ‘Fat That Doesn’t Come Back’ and ‘Conquering the Munchie Monster’, has made a living as a motivational speaker and healthy weight-loss specialist (which includes an educational website www.dietfreelife.com).
“Vargas got wind of me because of my philosophy of eating the foods you love and still losing weight,” he said, laughing. “Still, it took him a couple of years to reach out even though I live and have offices in Ventura. I later found out that’s why he waited. He told his friends ‘If he’s that good, he wouldn’t be living in the 805’.
“The first meeting I had with Fernando was bizarre. It was like something out of ‘the Sopranos’. We met in this board room at night, like around 8:30 p.m. It was all of the Ferocious Squad sitting and staring at me and Fernando sitting at the end of the table all blinged out eating pineapple slices. He ranted for 30 or 40 minutes about his struggle with weight and food and then abruptly turned it over to me and said ‘So whatta you got to say!?’
“I told him to work with me for 30 days. ‘I won’t charge you’ I said. Let’s see what happens. He wound up dropping 20 pounds that month, but the first day we worked together I called him up in the morning and told him that I wanted him to eat a big breakfast, something he hadn’t done in years when in training. I told him to eat a huge veggie omelette with two slices of toast with peanut butter and jam and I’ll be over.
“Before I could leave my place I got a call from Rolando Arellano, his manager at the time, he was like ‘Are you sure about this?’ On my way over Joe Pecora, an advisor then and now his manager, called and asked the same thing. Before I got there, Martha, now his wife, called and asked me ‘Are you SURE want me to cook this for Fernando?’
“I recall having his trainer Eduardo Garcia freak out because I had him drinking a lot of water in the days before a fight.”
You would think they feared that Vargas was going to explode or something.
“The first camp I had with his former trainer Danny Smith, it was getting close to fight time and I had Fernando eat a big bowl of pasta and Danny approached me in private saying ‘Hey man, are you sure about this? I mean, that’s a lot of food.’
“It wasn’t just Fernando’s team, its most trainers and managers. I guess they don’t trust what they don’t know or they’ve had bad experiences with nutritionists and conditioning coaches in the past. But I took it personally at first. I’m thinking to myself ‘What’s with these boxing people? Can’t they just let me do my job!? I don’t tell them how to manage or how to train their fighters’.
“But you know what, I prayed about it. And I really felt like this was where I needed to be.
“I feel like I’m here to help the fighters