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Boxer undergoes brain surgery after fight

LAS VEGAS — Veteran boxer Leavander Johnson underwent brain surgery Saturday night after collapsing in his dressing room following his IBF lightweight title loss against challenger Jesus Chavez.

Johnson's promoter said his fighter underwent surgery to relieve pressure on his brain after being taken to University Medical Center. There was no immediate word from doctors on his condition.

Johnson left the ring on his own accord but passed out in his dressing room after being stopped by Jesus Chavez in the 11th round of their title fight at the MGM Grand hotel-casino. His promoter, Lou Dibella, said he was revived but passed out again in the ambulance on the way to the hospital after complaining of a bad headache.

Dibella said he was told by doctors that Johnson suffered a hematoma, which is bleeding in the brain area. He said he seemed aware and conscious going into surgery.

The 35-year-old fighter from Atlantic City, N.J., who was defending his 135-pound title against Chavez, took a tremendous beating throughout the fight.

The fight was part of a card promoted by Oscar De La Hoya that featured bouts with Marco Antonio Barrera and Shane Mosley.

The fight was stopped 38 seconds into the 11th round by referee Tony Weeks but not before Johnson took what appeared to be about two dozen unanswered punches to the head while he was up against the ropes.

After the 10th round, ringside physician Margaret Goodman checked on Johnson in his corner but allowed the fight to continue.

Chavez dominated the fight, landing big punches to Johnson's head from the opening bell. Punch stats showed him landing 409 punches to 148 for Johnson.

After the fight at the MGM Grand hotel-casino, Johnson said in the ring that "I'm all right," but later collapsed in his dressing room.

Johnson was defending the title he won June 17 when he stopped Stefano Zoff in Italy. It was the first title for Johnson since he turned pro in 1989 after an amateur career that spanned 126 fights.

The injury follows the July 2 death of Mexican boxer Martin Sanchez, who died a day after he was knocked out by Rustam Nugaev of Russia in a super lightweight fight in Las Vegas. That death was the fifth in the ring since 1994 in the city.

Before Sanchez died, two other fighters suffered brain injuries but survived after fights this year in Las Vegas.

The World Boxing Council later said it would launch an investigation into the death, saying there were lingering questions about the care given to Sanchez immediately after the fight.