Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is using boxer Manny Pacquiao's controversial defeat over the weekend to push for long-stalled legislation to more strictly regulate the sport.
The Nevada Democrat, who knows Pacquiao and has enjoyed the famous boxer's political support in the past, was asked about Pacquiao's loss Saturday to Timothy Bradley and disputed the judges' decision.
"And from all the reports that I've seen by people on the outside who saw the fight, who attempted to be fair and judge the fight, Pacquiao won the fight," said Reid, himself a former amateur boxer and chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission.
From there, he suggested Congress should again take up a boxing regulatory bill he and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have been pushing for the past decade.
"Senator McCain and I have been trying for years -- years -- to get a national boxing bill passed here," he said. "We have not been able to do it. Maybe this will be the impetus (for McCain and I to) get back, work on that again. I haven't had the chance to talk to him in the last 24 hours, but I will."
A McCain spokesman later told the Las Vegas Sun that the senator is considering introducing the bill again, and considers the Pacquiao-Bradley decision a "black mark" on boxing's reputation.
The bill in question would establish a National Boxing Commission to regulate the sport with health and safety standards. The first version of the bill set licensing standards for boxers, judges and referees and registration standards for promoters, trainers and others.
Reid also said he's comfortable with the state attorney general investigating last weekend's decision.
"Our attorney general is a wonderful woman. She'll do her best. I feel confident there's been nothing untoward, but if an investigation makes everyone feel better, do the investigation. I don't care about that at all," Reid said. "I think people just make bad decisions in a lot of things they do, including judging fights. But it doesn't hurt to clear the air and take a look at this."
Veteran promoter Bob Arum wants the truth, no matter how small, no matter who gets hurt.
The Top Rank chair and CEO submitted Monday (Tuesday in Manila) a motion requesting the Nevada Attorney General’s Office to begin a complete inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the controversial scoring that resulted in the defeat of Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao to undefeated American challenger Timothy Bradley.
“The public has a right to know,” said Arum. “The fighters have a right to know.
“The only way to restore fans’ confidence in boxing is by letting an independent body investigate every detail of the fight no matter how big or small,” added Arum, who lashed out at the split decision that cost Pacquiao his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“Sunshine never hurt anyone.”
Almost every expert who covered the fight conceded that Pacquiao dominated Bradley, and the thousands in attendance and the millions of viewers all over the world were stunned when Michael Buffer announced the American as the new WBO welterweight champion.
Of the three judges at ringside, only Jerry Roth scored the pay-per-view (PPV) fight in favor of Pacquiao, 115-113. His fellow judges—CJ Ross and Duane Ford—swayed the outcome by picking Bradley with similar 115-113 scores.
The outrageous outcome stirred a hornet’s nest, with the media and boxing pundits demanding an investigation of the three judges—referred to as “the three blind mice” by a furious Arum.
Rather than die down after two days, the uproar reverberated throughout the world and Arum, who promotes the two protagonists, supported his words with action.
Parallel to Arum’s move, Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer ordered the examination of the three judges’ scoring criteria, according to The Ring’s Lem Satterfield.
The probe calls for a review of the fight’s tape, and will focus on the close rounds “and why one judge went this way and the other went the other way.”
Also to be considered are how close the rounds were and what were the telling differences that led to the judges’ choices for each round.
The Nevada review will be conducted within the month, but Arum seems far from satisfied.
He said he does not want boxing to take any more beating. Arum did not elaborate.
Though not as successful as the May 5 showdown between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto, two acknowledged stars with big fan bases, Pacquiao-Bradley generated a gate income of over $9 million, Arum told Steve Kim of DogHouseBoxing.Com.
“We did real well. The gate was over $9 million without pulling tickets and giving them away.” FoxNews.com/inquirer.net