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 the Filipino superstar’s shocking loss Saturday to Timothy Bradley and the judges’ controversial decision.
"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 that he has been pushing with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) 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 the decision but does not believe anything "untoward" took place.
Two judges scored the fight 115-113 for Bradley, while the other scored it 115-113 for Pacquiao. Meanwhile, HBO’s longtime scorer, Harold Lederman, scored only one round in favor of Bradley.