GIVING voice to the outrage over Timothy Bradley's controversial split decision over Manny Pacquiao, two senators on Monday introduced legislation that would create a boxing commission to oversee all matches in the US and restore integrity to the sport.
Senator John McCain, who boxed while at the US Naval Academy, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a former middleweight boxer, are pushing the measure to establish the US 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 organisations.
McCain said the recent dispute stemming from the welterweight bout between Bradley and Pacquiao was " the latest example of the legitimate distrust boxing fans have for the integrity of the sport".
Earlier this month, in Las Vegas, Pacquiao seemed to have the fight in hand, but two judges decided otherwise, giving Bradley a split decision. The results ended Pacquiao's outstanding seven-year unbeaten streak and left promoter Bob Arum angry and demanding a full investigation by Nevada officials.
"I've never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight," Arum, who handles both fighters, said after the fight.
Bradley won five of the last six rounds on two scorecards and four on the third. He won 115-113 on two scorecards, while losing on the third by the same margin.
"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.
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 body could provide the names of judges and referees considered qualified for such a calibre of bout, but only the commission could appoint judges and referees for fights.