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By Jim Jenkins-Bee Staff Writer
RENO-Bobby Chacon is 32, or 10 years older than Ray Mancini, the man Chacon hopes to dethrone Saturday night for the World Boxing Association lightweight championship.
So, when a fellow comes along and promises to turn Chacon’s body into that of an energetic 18-year old boy, he has to listen, right?
He did. Enter Dr. Guy Karcher into Chacon’s training camp.
Karcher is a 27-year old former University of Nevada-Reno boxer who has a chiropractic business in south Reno. And almost every day after Chacon works out, he takes the two-time world champion to his office for treatment. He also dispenses “supplementary diet pills, like vitamins.”
Karcher, in his second year of practice, said he approached Chacon after watching one of his early workouts at the MGM Grand Hotel here.
“He looked a little run down, and I told him I thought I could help pick him up,” explained Karcher, who has left the matter of a fee up to Chacon.
“It appeared that his adrenal glands were fatigued,” Karcher added. “Anytime anyone is under emotional and physical strain those glands are affected. Fighters, students, football players about the 10th week of the season, people going through divorces…any kind of stress.
It’s well known that bobby has had some stress in his life (his first wife committed suicide protesting his boxing career two years ago).”
Said Chacon’s veteran trainer, Joe Ponce: “When this doctor approached us and told me what he could do for my fighter, I told Bobby, ‘Go ahead and try it. If it works for only one day, it’s worth it.’
“Anyway,” continued Ponce, “Bobby says he’s felt great since this guy’s been working on him, and that’s the main thing. I’ve been around the fight game a long time and thought I heard everything. But this is new to me.”
Asked if he did indeed promise Chacon an 18-year-old’s body as reported by Pounce, Karcher replied, “Yes, words to that effect.”
Karcher expresses pride in his finger work, primarily on Chacon’s back, but said his Nevada Naturopathic Medical Center practice, shared with other doctors, is a little more than straight chiropractic procedure.
“We feel he can rejuvenate the body. There’s nothing mysterious about it. You see it used the Olympic athletes. As a former athlete, I’m aware of different things going on in athletics, good and bad.”
Although he has treated other athletes, Karcher concedes that fighters, especially a journeyman boxer like Chacon, are reluctant to alter their usual training methods.
With that in mind, Karcher said he approached Chacon cautiously in training camp.
“I told him, after watching him work out, that I'd noticed some things,” Karcher recalled.
“I told him I saw a general apathy in his training. He was a little lethargic, lacking in drive. I’ve been through the same thing. That happens when you’re working too hard, become over dedicated. He picked right up on what I was saying and I’ve been treating him ever since. There’s been no talk of a fee. I left that up to him if he gets results. But I feel he’ll be in great shape for the fight.”
Chacon said he agreed with Karcher that his training sessions were off.
“Sure I could see I was dragging,” he said.
“I feel much better since I’ve been with him. He takes me in the office and cracks my back up, checks my spine. He pushes me this way and that way and sees what’s out of whack. And then he does my neck. Sometimes it feels like it’s going to break, but its working. He also has a woman assistant put her fingers into my mouth to improve the structure in my head. I know it sounds weird, but they’ve convinced me they know what they’re doing.”
Chacon, who won world titles eight years apart and as recently as December 1982, concedes the treatment is worrisome to trainers and promoters, but noted that he visited chiropractors early in his fight career in Los Angeles, before he moved to the Oroville area.
“It’s been a while, but I do like them,” said Chacon. “I guess he (Karcher) also is trying to calm me and get me feeling a little younger. It’s definitely making me feel better. I could feel the relief from stress.”
Is Karcher’s help enough to make him win the scheduled 15-rounder?
“Well, gee,” said Karcher, laughing. “Let’s just say that if Bobby has faith in himself and the people behind him, he’ll come out all right. Whether I helped him 1 percent of 21 percent, every little bit helps, right? I just have the belief that the odds in this fight (almost 3.5-1 for Mancini) are very wrong. I’m not a betting man, but I might make a gentleman’s wager on this one.
Karhcer said he also visited Mancinis traing headquarters at the downtown El Dorado Hotel-Casino. And what did he observe there?
“A very dedicated champion,” he said. “I didn’t notice anything with Mancini. He’s young, at the prime of his career. I decided to help Bobby because I’ve followed his career since he was in L.A. I have a rapport with him. Mancini can’t abuse his body at his age. Young athletes are different. But, he to, will burn out.”
Chacon can only hope that occurs before Saturday night when the two step into the ring at Nevada-Reno’s Lawlor Events Center.