The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire
When the heavyweight champion of boxer's rights, Senator John McCain, spearheaded a movement to get a bill passed called "The Professional Boxing Safety Act" of 1997, he did so with the hope that such a bill would begin to change the battered face and just-as-battered image of the "Manly Art." It is a bill which has "teeth" and carries the support of the U.S. Government. I know there have been Senate investigations before (see 1992, when Senator Roth, upset that Dave Tiberi, from the same hometown as him, lost a close decision to James Toney in Atlantic City), but perhaps it's time for another one, or at least, an in-depth look at the outcome of the fight by the Association of Boxing Commissions. You see, on March 13, 1999, at Madison Square Garden, a decision was rendered which by which other bad decisions pale in comparison. It was a decision that begs for an investigation.
Although I am not under the opinion that something unholier than unholy went on in Madison Square Garden, I still feel that an investigation is called for. Just about all of us saw Lennox Lewis win the bout against Holyfield. If there ever is to be a cleaning up of boxing, this is the time. Enough is enough!
Commissions pay judges to render their personal opinion as to what they think they just saw. Each of the three of them rendered decisions as if they were watching three different fights.
I have more problem with the three sanctioning bodies involved with this fight, along with the New York State Athletic Commission and the selection of the three judges than I do with the three different opinions those judges rendered. I've heard the NYSAC attorney say you can't investigate someone for giving their opinion. I respectfully disagree. A commission can call in an official any time they want for a variety of reasons, ranging from a simple review of their work to a fact-finding mission following a questionable, controversial call. If nothing else, I'm curious how Judge Jean Williams could have given the fifth round--one of the best rounds Lewis had in the fight--to Holyfield. Incredibly, however, a change of her scorecard in that obvious Lewis round would have only changed her final analysis from 115-113 to 114-114. The fight would still have been declared a draw! She was also the only one of the three to score the fourth round, which was apparently another clear-cut round for Lewis, for Holyfield. Those two rounds, in which she was outvoted by her two colleagues--along with most of the viewing audience--cost Holyfield the fight.
Because of the controversy surrounding the decision, I believe the public has the right to know:
I believe each of the three judges should have their recent bank deposits examined along with their telephone records. I'd like to see the A.B.C., which now has sharp teeth and maturity, jump in and conduct a fact-finder. This is something the NYSAC should have announced it was doing immediately after the fight.
- Who was responsible for choosing the officials
- Why did Williams give those two crucial rounds to Holyfield, when it was obvious they belonged to Lewis and
- How does she explain the fact she made the statement that she counted Holyfield landing more punches in the fifth round than Lewis, a round when Lewis outlanded Holyfield by almost four to one?
I believe everything must be layed upon the table, from the track records of all three officials to who in the commission was ultimately responsible for giving the green light to the approval of the officials, two of whose scores were in no way indicative of what most of the world saw going on in the legendary Madison Square Garden ring. Was the NYSAC told by the three sanctioning organizations who to put in? If so, did they merely shake their political heads and go along with those assignments? Or did the NYSAC have the final word in who was officiating?
The Florida Commissioner was recently fired for what an investigation showed was him taking a bribe. It was alleged he took the bribe from a promoter. A promoter by the name of King. Don King. Did the same Don King bribe anybody on March 13, 1999? Who knows? Maybe an investigation will show if he did or not. At this point, nothing would surprise me. It's time for another investigation.
This one should be a full scale investigation, presided over by the Association of Boxing Commissions, with Senator McCain looking over their shoulder.
This time, I think the sport of boxing should be shut down until we have definitive answers!