McCain Gives Boxing Fighting Chance

April 1, 2004

Washington, DC – Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today applauded the passage of S. 275, The Professional Boxing Amendments Act of 2004, by unanimous consent. The bill would establish the United States Boxing Commission (USBC), strengthen existing federal boxing laws, and provide uniformity in specific areas of the sport. “Professional boxing is the only major sport in the U.S. that does not have a strong, centralized association or league to establish and enforce uniform rules and standards. Due to the lack of these standards the sport of boxing has suffered from the physical and financial exploitation of its athletes,” McCain said. This legislation is designed to strengthen existing federal boxing laws by making uniform certain health and safety standards, establishing a centralized medical registry to be used by local commissions to protect boxers, reducing arbitrary practices of sanctioning organizations, and providing uniformity in ranking criteria and contractual guidelines. It also would establish a federal entity, the USBC, to promulgate minimum uniform standards for professional boxing and enforce federal boxing laws. The purpose of the USBC is not to micro-manage boxing by interfering with the daily operations of local boxing commissions. Instead, the USBC would work in consultation with local commissions, and only exercise its authority should reasonable grounds exist for intervention. Over the past seven years, the Commerce Committee has taken action to address the problems that plague the sport of professional boxing. The Committee has already developed two federal boxing laws that have been enacted, the Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996, and the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act of 2000. While these laws have had a positive impact on professional boxing, the sport remains beset by a variety of problems, some beyond the scope of state and local regulation. Specifically the USBC would: · Administer federal boxing laws and coordinate with other federal regulatory agencies to ensure that these laws are enforced; · Oversee all professional boxing matches in the United States; · Work with the boxing industry and local commissions to improve the status and standards of the sport; and · Maintain a centralized database of medical and statistical information pertaining to boxers in the United States that would be used confidentially by local commissions in making licensing decisions. “I have derived great joy from the sport of boxing over the years, but I continue to be saddened and dismayed by the recurring scandals that continue to mar what is left of the sport’s credibility. Professional boxing is in dire need of uniform regulation,” McCain said. “Without the adoption and implementation of minimum uniform federal standards, I fear that the sport of boxing will continue its downward spiral into irrelevance.” ###