Giving voice to the outrage over Timothy Bradley's controversial split decision over Manny Pacquiao, two senators introduced legislation Monday that would create a special boxing commission to oversee all matches in the United States and restore integrity to the sport.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who boxed while at the U.S. Naval Academy, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., a former middleweight boxer, are pushing the measure establishing the U.S. Boxing Commission, an entity that would carry out federal boxing law, work with the industry and local commissions and license boxers, promoters, managers and sanctioning organizations.
Speaking on the Senate floor, McCain evoked the words of former sportswriter Jimmy Cannon, who called boxing the ''red light district of sports.'' He said the recent dispute stemming from the welterweight bout between Bradley and Pacquiao ''is the latest example of the legitimate distrust boxing fans have for the integrity of the sport.''
''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,'' said McCain, who pointed out that professional boxing is the only sport in the United States without a strong, centralized association regulating it.
Under the legislation, all referees and judges participating in a championship or a professional fight lasting 10 rounds or more would have to be fully registered and licensed by the commission. A sanctioning organization could provide the names of judges and referees it considers qualified for that caliber bout, but only the commission could appoint judges and referees to participate in the matches.