The Battle vs. the Flu Bug in New York

The Battle vs. the Flu Bug in New York
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (Jan 17, 2013) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)

Mikey Garcia
If you haven't heard, there's a severe flu bug ravaging the East Coast, specifically New York. “Nightline” recently opened its broadcast talking about this outbreak (and by the way, am I the only one watching this show now that it was moved back an hour?). This weekend, there is a significant fight card taking place in the heart of the city at the Theater at Madison Square Garden (Saturday, 9:45 p.m., ET/PT, HBO). The fighters and their camps have come into town and as of now, everybody has been given a clean bill of health.
“I haven't heard anything that anyone is under the weather. The promoters might be feeling a little sick but the fighters are doing well,” quipped Carl Moretti of Top Rank on Tuesday night. Top Rank is co-promoting this HBO tripleheader with K2 Promotions.
A press workout was scheduled on Wednesday afternoon and for now, everyone looks to be feeling fine. The key is to keep them that way as they head into the weekend for these pivotal contests. Sean Gibbons of Zanfer Promotions, which handles Orlando Salido (who defends his WBO featherweight title versus Mikey Garcia) says, “I've been told to keep him in the room; we've been out a time or two. But outside of that, he's not making a lot of contact with anybody and shaking hands or anything like that stuff.”
Gibbons adds, “Myself, I'm like a maniac; I've been taking vitamin C, 1000 milligrams an hour. I got a ‘Z-Pak’; I got vitamins.”
Dr. Margaret Goodman, who served on the Nevada State Athletic Commission from 1994-2005 as a ring physician and from 2001-2007 as the Medical Advisory Board Chairperson, recommends a flu shot for these fighters a few weeks before the fight.
“The good thing for a fighter is that they're young for the most part unless we're talking about some of the older guys. But usually if you're young enough, a flu shot is going to be most effective,” she explained. “If you're in good health, it's going to be the most effective. So for people like me that are unfortunately older or little children, a flu shot is the least effective.”
But not everyone believes in flu shots. There is a belief that they do more harm than good, to which Dr. Goodman states, “All those old wives’ tales about how you can get the flu from a flu shot are really ridiculous. That just doesn't happen and it's a dead virus that they are giving you. So you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. I used to wonder about that myself but no, that shouldn't happen.”
Whether you get a flu shot or not, what should be practiced by any athletes in these types of situations is basic common sense that doesn't need a prescription.
“Obviously, the main thing is staying away from people who are already sick,” says Dr. Goodman, which may be easier said than done in New York. “I know this sounds crazy and it's not the most cosmetic thing to do but if they're traveling in an airplane or in an airport, I would wear a mask. I know that sounds over-the-top but that's going to protect you as much as anything.” Yeah, it does sound a bit extreme but the fact is, airplanes have hundreds of people on them at any given time and during the flu season, they can easily become cross-country vessels for viruses. Just think about how many times you've taken a flight and fellow passengers coughed all the way through the trip.
“Exposure is something they should avoid. If I was a fighter, and obviously on the night of the fight, it doesn't matter but beforehand, I would wear a mask. And obviously, wash their hands as much as they can, don't shake hands with people and if they are forced in a situation where they are shaking hands or even a doctor examining them, we'd hope that the pre-fight physical doctor would wear gloves, maybe even a mask if they were otherwise sick.”
She also recommends hand sanitizers such as Purell since you could be touching phones, counters or anything else that is out in public. “The problem is, you yourself could be healthy but no one else around you is,” Dr. Goodman points out. She also adds, “Stay away from public transportation as much as possible.”
And there is this factor: Since these boxers all have to make weight, they might be cutting their consumption of fluids. “Obviously, losing weight, dehydration is going to lower your immunity, so that's a bad thing,” said Dr. Goodman.
Daryl Hudson, Garcia’s strength-and-conditioning coach, had a touch of the flu late last week before touching down in New York on Tuesday evening. He said it didn't affect their preparation for this fight. “Not really,” he told Maxboxing, “because it doesn't take me long to get over it because I know what to do as far as getting over the flu. But the main thing is limiting my physical contact with him in doing all the drills and all the work that we normally do.” As for any special measures they are taking this week, Hudson says it's really no different than any other fight that would be held in a Las Vegas casino (other than the temperature, which will range between 30 and 40 degrees for much of the week). Regardless of the season, if you see boxers during fight week, they are usually dressed warmly or at least in sweatsuits.
“Stay out of the cold for one. We're still pretty much following the same diet that we would normally do. But the main thing is, a lot of rest and stay out of this cold weather and keep him away from people; keep the contact down. That's the main thing. Limit the handshakes, no personal contact that [Garcia] wouldn't normally have with people.”
Gennady Golovkin, Gabe Rosado, Rocky Martinez and Juan Carlos Burgos are said to be fine.

“They're young; they're fighters. They should probably be in better health than most,” says Dr. Goodman, who then warns, “But anybody can get the flu.”
Sergio Thompson faces Moises Castro in Villa Hermosa, Mexico on Saturday night on Fox Deportes. Also in action will be Deontay Wilder and Ivan Morales...I'm told that if Manny Pacquiao does go through with a tune-up fight in April, there is a good chance that Nonito Donaire's next bout (which might be on April 27th) will move back to the States...Milli Vanilli can't even believe how phony Manti Te’o is. I mean, seriously, you thought Alabama and Eddie Lacy exposed this guy? Geez, what about Deadspin? Seriously, the guy who wrote that piece should be up for a Pulitzer Prize...That whole snafu was Twitter gold (and yes, I got off some gems if I say so myself)...RIP to Conrad Bain, he was a man of means...

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