Teddy's right. Our politicians need to listen!

by Paul Strauss: For years Teddy Atlas has been harping about the need for national commission or governing body in boxing. Saturday night's travesty is prime evidence Teddy is right. Maybe we all need to write our senators and congressman about the need for a national commission. Such an organization would have to have the authority or governmental clout that would empower them to step in when something like the theft that occurred in Vegas is perpetrated.

Establishing such a governing body would be no easy task, and maybe that's one reason it has never been done, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.. Initially a certain amount of government funding would be necessary to get it off the ground, but then it could be self-sustaining with funds raised through sanctioned bouts, money that no longer would go to corrupt boxing organizations, who favor their own fighters and not lineal champions. There would no longer be the myriad of title belts that now exists. Rather, there would be "one champion" for each division, and that's it!

Much in the way of operational and administrative information could be borrowed from major sports such as football, baseball and basketball. A strong individual at the top would be needed, someone who would not be afraid to put an end to gross mismatches, the padding of records, and poor decisions, etc. Boxers would be better protected from unscrupulous managers and promoters. Violators would not be allowed to work anywhere in the country, not just particular states. Fighters would no longer get away with faking records, or operating under false names when travelling from state to state. Any state desiring to conduct sanctioned bouts would have to have their individual commissions operate under the universal rules established at the national level. No exceptions. If contests were conducted outside of the rules, the bouts would not be sanctioned, and fighters, managers, promoters, etc. would be in jeopardy of losing the ability to ever participate in sanctioned contests.

Obviously, there would be a rules committee, a medical oversight board, and so forth. Fighters would no longer have to battle with shady promoters for their pay. Their purses would be protected and some type of retirement annuity could possibly be arranged. Judges would be graded and slotted by experience, etc., and impartial selections would be the usual case not the exception. You don't see major sports such as baseball, basketball, or football putting an inexperienced official on the field or court for a big game. That should be the case in boxing as well. Again, each individual state boxing or athletic commission would be required to operate under the same rules and regulations. Random reviews and evaluations would be conducted. Violators would be subjected to closer scrutiny.

When the public outcry demands justice, and the local commission refuses to act, ideally the executive director or commissioner at the national level would have the legislative authority to step in and order an investigation, reverse the decision, declare a no contest, etc. He or they would be able to suspend, fine and revoke licenses, etc., just as the local commission can and should do, but the national commission would supersede local authority, and any punishment they deemed appropriate would apply to each state. They would have governmental clout and be above local influences and pressures. There would be no bias or profit incentive involved.

Before this Bradley decision travesty is over, there will be more evidence of the need for such a national commission empowered by the federal government. Apparently the head of the Nevada State Athletic Commission has already stated the commission has no plans to take action of any kind concerning the injustice that has been done.

Bob Arum is trying to act the rescuer by declaring he has formally requested the state attorney general step in and conduct an independent investigation. That sounds good, but chances are the AG will not comply. First of all, unless there's evidence of criminal activity such as pay offs, bribes, criminal conspiracy, etc., the AGs office probably doesn't have jurisdiction. If the AG's office responds at all to Arum, they probably will say they won't interfere, that the situation is one for the state athletic commission to deal with if they so choose.

Hence, Arum comes off looking like he has boxing's best interest at heart, and yet he gets his lucrative rematch come November 10th. Look for his sly grin to reappear as he thumbs his nose at Floyd. Maybe a national commission with legislative clout might be able to pull a little magic act and make guys like Bob Arum and Don King disappear from such prominent places as they now occupy on the boxing scene. We can only hope.

Article posted on 12.06.2012

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