Seminar hits target with fighters, trainers

For many experienced boxers, old habits are hard to break.

Whether it’s a training regimen, diet or trying to make weight, most fighters stick with what they think works. But it might not always be the best way.

That was the message conveyed during Friday’s fighter safety seminar at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. A four-member panel discussed ways to train properly, look for warning signs of trouble with concussions, prepare mentally and physically for a fight, and to avoid using performance-enhancing drugs and supplements that can have short-term and long-term damaging effects.

About 150 people attended “The Winning Edge,” a two-hour seminar organized by Dr. Margaret Goodman, co-founder of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. Many in the audience were young amateur fighters who are training in boxing and mixed martial arts at the many gyms in the Las Vegas Valley.

“To see all the kids show up was so encouraging,” Goodman said. “But they’re the ones who can benefit the most from the information.”

Whether it was personal trainer Jimmy Smith explaining how to properly lose weight before a fight by having a sensible diet and gradually dropping the required pounds, or Dr. Charles Bernick discussing how serious concussions are and the need to properly rest after being diagnosed with one, or sports psychologist Dr. Caroline Silby talking about maintaining a proper frame of mind while competing, the information was mostly common sense. But the reality is athletes are habitual in how they prepare, and the message was there’s a proper way to form those habits.

“I think time will tell how successful we were,” Goodman said of the message getting through to the fighters. “But if they got one thing out of what they heard, maybe it will resonate with them.”

Bernick, who was in the news last week for his participation in the Cleveland Clinic’s partnership with the NFL Players Association to help former players deal with brain injuries, said fighters aren’t the only ones who need to be educated about the risk in their sport.

“We need the trainers to have the information so they can pass it on to the fighters,” Bernick said.

Several trainers, including longtime cornerman Kenny Adams, attended the seminar.

Goodman said she plans to make the seminar an annual event.

“We want this to be the beginning where we have these discussions on safety for fighters,” she said.

■ PACQUIAO-RIOS CLOSED CIRCUIT — The Venetian is offering two closed-circuit TV options for Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios welterweight title fight in Macau.

The fight will be shown in the Venetian Ballroom, with a ticket costing $50, and at Lagasse’s Stadium inside the Palazzo shops. Admission to Lagasse’s is free, but there will be a minimum food and beverage purchase required.

The Venetian will be the only local location showing the fight on closed circuit, and tickets can be purchased at the Venetian box office or by calling 414-9000. Doors will open at 5 p.m., with the telecast at 6.

■ TYPHOON RELIEF — Sands China Ltd., which is hosting the Pacquiao-Rios fight, donated $100,000 to the Red Cross to aid victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on Nov. 8. The company also will match 100 percent of all closed-circuit TV ticket sales in China.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter @stevecarprj.

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