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SPOTLIGHT
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And in this corner ...

Published on -6/20/2012, 12:53 PM

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Even if you couldn't care less about boxing, a recent controversial bout warrants your attention as two heavyweight U.S. senators plan to enter the ring.

Not in the literal sense, of course. But Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Harry Reid, D-Nev., plan to knock out bad refereeing in the sport -- which we would guess ultimately will result in tax dollars being expended. Even though both politicians are former boxers themselves, there is no way to legitimize their official involvement. The long reach of government does not need to be adorned by a pair of 12-ounce Everlast gloves.

That the result of the fight earlier this month between Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao and Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley was criticized is without question. Pacquiao outpunched Bradley in 10 of the 12 rounds at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Pacquiao even landed 253 punches to Bradley's 159. Absent knocking somebody out, punch counts are the primary factor in determining a winner.

This Saturday night fight, however, resulted in two of the three judges declaring Bradley the better boxer. By split decision, Bradley walked out of the ring with the welterweight title.

The announcers for HBO, which televised the pay-per-view event, were shocked. The crowd booed. The fight's promoter demanded a review, which is being accommodated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the World Boxing Organization as well as the Nevada State Attorney General's Office.

We think that should be plenty.

Not so for Sens. Reid and McCain. The pair introduced legislation this week that would establish a U.S. Boxing Commission in hopes of restoring integrity to the sport.

"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," McCain said.

The senators envision a future in which the commission would dole out licenses for referees and judges, keep a registry of them, and appoint them to participate in matches.

While complete wastes of money are not difficult to uncover in the labyrinth known as the federal government, a U.S. Boxing Commission would qualify automatically.

Despite its long history, the sport of boxing is not a necessary component of a functioning society. This should be an obvious case in which free-market forces should decide the outcome. If fans and sponsors want to support a questionable sport, they can. Wrestling and cycling have proved that. Even roller derby is enjoying a renaissance.

If something more than mere entertainment is demanded, integrity will find its way back into the ring. Private dollars have a way of correcting even the most corrupt or inept organization. It does not require the assistance of the U.S. Congress.

Sens. McCain and Reid need to throw in the towel.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net

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