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Boxing brothers Magdalenos will participate in Las Vegas brain study

Jesse Magdaleno has his boxing future ahead of him. But it’s not too early for the 20-year-old Las Vegan to make sure he remains healthy.

Magdaleno initially did not want to participate in the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s study on boxers and the impact getting hit has on them. But with a little education and prodding from his promoter, Top Rank, Magdaleno and older brother Diego, the NABF super featherweight champion, agreed to take part over the next four years. So have former heavyweight champions Ken Norton and Leon Spinks.

They join a list of 130 boxers and mixed martial arts fighters who twice a year will submit to a battery of tests conducted by Dr. Charley Bernick and his staff.

"I think I was afraid they would find something wrong and my career would be over," Jesse Magdaleno said. "But once they explained to me what they wanted to do, I thought it could extend my career."

Those enrolled in the program are helping create a database of information for use in helping prevent concussions and other brain trauma. The program is funded through private grants.

"The key to this project is to get the fighters back so we can monitor them," Bernick said.

During Monday’s media day, Dr. Jay Alberts of the Cleveland Clinic unveiled a mouthpiece that has built-in sensors that measure the amount of force fighters receive when hit in the face. The data will help doctors learn more about concussions.

"They key is making it affordable," said Alberts, who hopes the mouthpiece will cost about $40 and be used by athletes in football and hockey. "The more people in more sports that use it, the more information we can get. We need to know what’s going on, not just from a scientific perspective but from a health perspective."

Top Rank and Golden Boy, boxing’s biggest promoters, are supportive of the study. So is the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

"I think it’s something all of us in boxing owe the participants so we can prevent any long-lasting detrimental affect they might have from boxing," Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said.

■ NO FURTHER ACTION — Victor Ortiz will not have to go in front of the Nevada Athletic Commission again before his Feb. 11 rematch with Andre Berto at the MGM Grand Garden.

Executive director Keith Kizer sent Ortiz a letter saying no further disciplinary action would be taken after Ortiz was granted a conditional one-fight license Jan. 11. The commission was prepared to withhold $100,000 of Ortiz’s $1 million purse in the event further action was required following an interview Ortiz did in December, during which he said if he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. again he would deliberately break the rules and headbutt him.

■ FIGHT CAMP — Showtime, which is televising Ortiz-Berto II, is planning two episodes of its "Fight Camp 360" reality series on the fighters. The first episode will air at 9 p.m. Wednesday and the second Feb. 18.

"It’s been a little annoying at times," Berto said of the cameras constantly being around him. "But it’s part of the game. It’s not going to stop me from being prepared come Feb. 11."

■ BARTHELEMY-WILLIAMS — An eight-round fight between undefeated lightweights Rances Barthelemy and Hylon Williams Jr. was added to Friday’s Texas Station card. The main event will match light heavyweights Edison Miranda and Isaac Chilemba.

Barthelemy (14-0, 11 knockouts) and Williams (15-0, three KOs) have fought in Las Vegas before and are active in the ring. The fight will be part of the ESPN "Friday Night Fights" telecast.

The first bell is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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

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