x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Politicians jab for new US body to stem distrust in boxing fans

Manny Pacquiao's controversial loss prompts move to set up a national commission.

Timothy Bradley, left, won the controversial bout against Manny Pacquiao that has sparked much debate.
Timothy Bradley, left, won the controversial bout against Manny Pacquiao that has sparked much debate.

WASHINGTON // The ripples from Timothy Bradley's controversial split-decision victory over Manny Pacquiao spread as two US senators called for a national body to govern boxing.

John McCain, a Republican from Arizona who boxed when he attended the US Naval Academy, and Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat and former middleweight boxer, introduced legislation on Monday that would create the United States Boxing Commission.

The body would be oversee federal boxing law, working with the industry and local commissions, and licensing boxers, promoters, managers and sanctioning organizations.

McCain, speaking on the senate floor, said the outcome of the June 9 welterweight world-title bout between Bradley and Pacquiao "is the latest example of the legitimate distrust boxing fans have for the integrity of the sport""

Bradley, an undefeated American, won the controversial fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where the fight's three judges were under pressure to explain their scoring, described by many experts as flawed. Jerry Roth gave Pacquiao the fight 115-113, but the other judges, CJ Ross and Duane Ford, both had Bradley winning by the same score, despite Pacquiao appearing to land the more damaging blows throughout the contest.

Bob Arum, the promoter who handles both fighters, fumed over the result.

According to McCain, professional boxing is the only sport in the US not regulated by a strong, centraliaed association. "Clearly, the conspiracy theories and speculation surrounding the fight are given life because there are so many questions surrounding the integrity of the sport and how it is managed in multiple jurisdictions," McCain said.

Currently, each US state has its own boxing commission, which is in charge of choosing officials for bouts and enforcing rules.

Under the proposed legislation, all referees and judges participating in a championship or professional fight lasting 10 rounds or more would have to be registered and licensed by the national commission.

A sanctioning organisation such as the World Boxing Association, could provide the names of judges and referees it considers qualified for a bout, but only the national commission could appoint judges and referees to work a fight.

* Agence France-Presse