US senators call for national boxing commission

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

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

The body would be tasked with administering 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."

Undefeated American Bradley 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.

Judge Jerry Roth gave Pacquiao the fight 115-113, but the other judges, C.J. Ross and Duane Ford, both had Bradley winning by the same score, despite Pacquiao appearing to land the more damaging blows throughout the contest.

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

"I've never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight," Arum said in the immediate aftermath, adding he believed it was the result of incompetence rather than corruption.

According to McCain, professional boxing is the only sport in the United States not regulated by a strong, centralized 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 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 fully registered and licensed by the national commission.

A sanctioning organization such as the World Boxing Association, World Boxing Council, International Boxing Federation or World Boxing Organization 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.

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