Boxing Gets KO’d By Lawmakers

By Stephen C. Smith Sr.
Updated: December 6, 2005

TEXAS—Congress refers to college football and it’s deeply flawed Bowl Championship Series as a billion-dollar business they can’t afford to ignore, yet two weeks ago, they did exactly that to another troubled sport.

Boxing, which needs all the intervention it can get, was voted down for congressional intervention two weeks ago – just after governmental pressure helped put some bite into baseball’s new drug policy.

While I’m certainly no advocate for federally regulated amateur or professional sports, the reasoning for this decision strikes me as being rather odd.

Congressional pundits attacked the idea of establishing a U.S. Boxing Commission, among other improvements, as “a misguided effort to expand the federal government to manage a part of the entertainment industry,” according Associated Press reports.

This is where the odd part comes in.

Pick a sport, any sport, and you’ll find that it’s basically part of the entertainment industry by its very nature. With that in mind, any congressional foray into any sport does exactly what they’re alleging was about to happen with boxing.

However, the sweet science is by no means innocent in this situation because the vast majority of its wounds are self-inflicted.

Crooked promoters motivated by how much cash they can stuff in their pockets and fighters willing to risk their health in states with substandard licensing requirements have eroded the sport’s popularity over the course of time.

Still, this is one case where the existence of an independent agency might have not only saved the soul of the sport, but also protected someone’s life and livelihood.

“How many people have to die, how many people have to get their brains scrambled?” asked former University of Nebraska football coach Rep. Tom Osborne (R-Neb.) “We wouldn’t do this to animals.”

Apparently we would, coach.

Apparently we would.