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NAC out to advance brain trauma study

Brain injuries unfortunately have been part of boxing since the sport began.

The Nevada Athletic Commission, which has a medical advisory board that studies head injuries among other health issues, might be on the verge of a deal that would help advance the study of brain trauma among fighters and also provide free screening.

The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic, is offering to provide free physicals, including brain scans, for boxers and mixed martial artists who compete in Nevada to gain educational data. A physical is mandatory to attain a boxing license in Nevada.

“We’ve been talking to them for a couple of years about implementing this kind of program,” NAC executive director Keith Kizer said. “What they want to do is collect data on fighters’ brains and also do some neuro-psychological testing.

“It’s not going to be mandatory for a fighter to do it at Ruvo to get licensed. But it’s free, and I would think that would make it attractive for boxers and promoters. They’ll save money. I think it’s a win-win for both sides.”

The proposed project is being funded through federal grants. The offer is on the agenda for Tuesday’s NAC meeting.

■ LOPEZ-MARQUEZ UNDERCARD — The undercard for the Nov. 6 WBO featherweight title fight between Juan Manuel Lopez and Rafael Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden received a sizable boost as Showtime’s Super Six Super Middleweight Tournament comes to Las Vegas, featuring veterans Allan Green and Glen Johnson in a 12-round elimination bout.

Green (29-2, 20 knockouts) and Johnson (50-14-2, 34 KOs) were matched after Mikkel Kessler was forced to drop out of the tournament because of an injury to his right eye. Johnson will replace Kessler.

Also on the undercard is Las Vegas super featherweight Diego Magdaleno, who puts his 16-0 record and four knockouts on the line against Derrick Campos (20-9, 11 KOs) in an eight-round bout. Local super lightweight Anthony Lenk (7-1, four KOs) will face Danny Escobar (6-0, five KOs) in a six-round bout.

■ MARGARITO HELPS OUT — Antonio Margarito is footing the bill for four California amateur boxers to compete in this week’s Police Athletic League Boxing Championships in San Antonio after fundraising attempts came up short.

Margarito, who is training in Oxnard, Calif., for his Nov. 13 fight against Manny Pacquiao, learned of the situation and decided to underwrite the trip, including airfare and hotel accommodations for the four athletes. Margarito wrote a check for $4,000 to allow Andy and Eric Ruiz, Carlos Rodriguez and Ricardo Quiroz to compete in Texas. The fighters had raised just $300 before Margarito bailed them out.

“I’ve been there,” Margarito said. “I know what it’s like to have a dream crushed because you have no money.”

■ NAMAAU RETURNS TO RIO — Las Vegas cruiserweight Henry Namaau will headline an Oct. 22 card at the Rio’s Crown Theater when he faces Jason Douglas in a 10-round bout.

Namaau (7-3, five KOs) is coming off an impressive sixth-round stoppage of Chad Davis at the Rio on Sept. 3. Douglas (8-2, four KOs), who is from Kitchener, Ontario, defeated current WBA heavyweight champion David Haye when both were amateurs at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in England.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.

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