Arizona Capitol

John McCain Thinking Manny Pacquiao Got Screwed; Pushes for Boxing Regulation (Again)

Senator John McCain is not pleased about boxing judges scoring a decision for Timothy Bradley over Manny Pacquiao in the welterweight title match earlier this month.

That said, now might finally be the time his legislation to regulate boxing -- which he's tried over and over again -- sees some success.

McCain announced on the Senate floor today that he and Senator Harry Reid -- that's how you know it's serious -- are introducing the "Professional Boxing Amendments Act of 2012."

Judging from his speech on the floor, his Tweets, and confirming with his communications director, McCain thinks Pacquiao got screwed in that decision, saying today that it was the "latest example of the legitimate distrust boxing fans have for the integrity of the sport."

McCain -- who noted his "painfully undistinguished record as a boxer" at the Naval Academy -- explained that the scandals in boxing just seem to keep showing up over and over again, adding that it's "not a realistic option" to have boxing organizations self-regulated.

"Ineffective oversight of professional boxing will continue to result in scandals, controversies, unethical practices, a lack trust in the integrity of judged outcomes and most tragic of all, unnecessary deaths in the sport," he said. "These problems have led many in professional boxing to conclude that the only solution is an effective and accountable Federal boxing commission."

The bill, as McCain explains it, sets up a federal boxing commission for better reporting and disclosure, and would.

While the federal commission would cost money, McCain said it's not taxpayer coin, but rather fees on promoters, sanctioning organizations, and boxers.

Read his more detailed explanation below:

If enacted, the Commission would administer Federal boxing law and coordinate with other Federal regulatory agencies to ensure that this law is enforced; oversee all professional boxing matches in the United States; and work with the boxing industry and local commissions to improve the safety, integrity, and professionalism of professional boxing in the United States. More specifically, this legislation would require that all referees and judges participating in a championship or a professional bout lasting 10 rounds or more be fully registered and licensed by the Commission. Further, while a sanctioning organization could provide a list of judges and referees deemed qualified, only the boxing Commission will appoint the judges and referees participating in these matches.

Additionally, the USBC would license boxers, promoters, managers, and sanctioning organizations. The Commission would have the authority to revoke such a license for violations of federal boxing law, to stop unethical or illegal conduct, to protect the health and safety of a boxer, or if the revocation is otherwise in the public interest.

Mr. President, the Professional Boxing Amendments Act would strengthen existing federal boxing law by improving the basic health and safety standards for professional boxers, establishing a centralized medical registry to be used by local commissions to protect boxers, reducing the arbitrary practices of sanctioning organizations, and enhancing the uniformity and basic standards for professional boxing contracts. Most importantly, this legislation would establish a Federal regulatory entity to oversee professional boxing and set basic uniform standards for certain aspects of the sport.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley