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NOTEBOOK: VARGAS GETS BASIC TRAINING.

Byline: Michael Rosenthal Assistant Sports Editor

EL PASO, Texas - Eduardo Garcia, Fernando Vargas' trainer, goes along with his fighter's explanation of what went wrong against Felix Trinidad in December.

Vargas has said he fought Trinidad's fight, face to face, with very little movement.

However, Garcia, an old-school trainer, also cited another reason: Vargas put too much emphasis on his new-fangled conditioning program.

``He lifted a lot of weights, he exercized his legs. It made him stiff,'' Garcia said, angry at the recollection. ``And when you lift weights, you feel strong, you feel that strength is enough to win and you forget about your defense, your skills, your speed.

``... We eliminated all that (weight training). We're back to training hard, traditional training, the training that won us the (IBF junior middleweight) title.''

Well, Vargas hasn't exactly eliminated modern conditioning techniques entirely. Fitness coordinator John ``Doc'' Philbin, who has worked with professional sports teams, is still around. He simply redesigned Vargas' training program and eliminated the bulk of the weight lifting.

``Back to the basics,'' Vargas said, ``back to the basics.''

--Charity work: Vargas, whose nickname is Ferocious, has started a foundation called ``Ferocious Foundation for Kids.''

It will benefit underprivledged children primarily in Southern California and already is aligned with several well-known children's charities.

--Two and out: The professional boxing career of Vargas' half brother, Roger, is over after two fights.

Roger Vargas, 18, knocked out his first opponent and drew with his second, suffering a broken jaw in the process.

Fernando Vargas, who is like a father to Roger, raised the question: ``Do you really need to do this?''

The elder Vargas said he'd take care of his brother financially and suggested he go to school. Roger Vargas agreed and now plans to earn a degree in accounting.

``He said, 'You have brains. Use them. Go to school. He's looking out for me,'' Roger Vargas said.

--Legendary announcer dies: Sports announcer Ben Bentley, known for his work in boxing and as the original host of ``The Sportswriters,'' has died. He was 81.

Bentley was the first announcer and publicist for the Chicago Bulls when the team was founded in 1966. The team mascot, Benny the Bull, was named after him.

Bentley was one of few sports experts to predict Muhammad Ali's 1964 upset over Sonny Liston.

--Back in action: Michael Grant, who hasn't fought since being stopped by heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis a year ago, will return to the ring with a new promoter and trainer.

Grant said his new trainer will be Teddy Atlas and Cedric Kushner will be his new promoter.

Grant is expected to return to the ring July 21, although the opponent hasn't been decided.

Grant (31-2, 22 knockouts) will be promoted by Kushner, who handles new heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:May 4, 2001
Words:465
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