New NAC commissioner advocates safety, wants to expand drug tests

Francisco Aguilar thought he needed more time before accepting the responsibility of serving as chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission. But now he believes he’s ready to be that person.

The 36-year-old Las Vegas attorney was selected Thursday to take over for Bill Brady as chair of the five-member NAC. The chairman’s appointment is for one year.

“I wanted to make sure I was comfortable and ready to handle the position,” said Aguilar, who has served on the commission since 2009. “I’ve learned a lot from the other commissioners, and I feel confident I can handle any situation that comes up.”

Aguilar said he wants to continue to advocate fighter safety and expand Nevada’s drug testing program, particularly for testing out of competition.

“We have to make sure we provided a level playing field for our athletes and keep them as safe as possible,” he said, referring to drug testing. “We need to prove to the public that the athletes that are stepping into the ring are natural, and we want to be as transparent as possible.”

Aguilar said as judges and referees get older, it’s important to identify those who eventually will replace the experienced officials. He also is a proponent of conducting clinics for referees and judges to keep them sharp.

“We want to have the best officials, and I want to continue to provide the talent we have with the tools they need to perform at their best,” he said. “But we also want to cultivate new talent.”

Aguilar usually had been low-key at NAC meetings. With his new role, he is expected to be more assertive.

“I think I’m pretty even-keeled,” he said. “I always want to hear both sides and be open-minded. But we have an obligation to serve the public and protect the integrity of the sports we oversee, and I know that’s a big responsibility.”

■ CANELO’S BUSY 2014 — Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has put his Sept. 14 majority decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. behind him, and he has an ambitious schedule planned for 2014, one that has him fighting three times.

According to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 knockouts) will fight March 8, July 26 and Nov. 22. Possible opponents are WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs), former four-time world champion Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs) and IBF junior middleweight champ Carlos Molina (22-5-2, six KOs). Possible sites for Alvarez’s fights include the MGM Grand Garden, San Antonio and Los Angeles.

Schaefer said he’s under no delusion that Alvarez’s next three fights will match the attention and support the Mayweather fight received. That fight did record numbers of $150 million in pay-per-view buys and a live gate of more than $2 million.

“I have zero doubt that next to Floyd Mayweather, Canelo is the biggest name in the sport from a draw point of view,” Schaefer said. “To see Canelo committing to three fights next year is exciting to me as a promoter and as a boxing fan.”

■ VARGAS’ NEW GYM — Former world champion Fernando Vargas has opened a boxing gym — the Fight Factory — at 3240 Civic Center Drive. Vargas, 35, who fought from 1997 to 2007 and was the IBF junior middleweight champion from 1998 to 2000, was 26-5 with 22 KOs.

“Las Vegas is my home,” Vargas said. “I love the sport of boxing, and even if I’m retired I can still help fighters win fights with my training. I’m excited about my new career as a trainer, and it’s only right that I give back to a sport that has done so much for me and my family.”

The gym will cater to amateur and professional boxers. Plans are to expand part of the gym to mixed martial arts.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at or 7022-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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