WASHINGTON -- The Senate approved legislation Friday to free boxers from the grips of unscrupulous managers and promoters and restore the image of the sport.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a boxing fan who has spent three years pushing the legislation, said it "should have real benefits for every boxer who steps into a ring in America, in addition to the fans who sustain the industry."
The bill is named after former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, and McCain said Ali's help in crafting the bill "has made it possible for a new generation of boxers to be free from the mistreatment and coercion that Muhammad and many others faced."
The Senate approved by voice a slightly amended version of a bill the House passed in November. It now goes back to the House for final approval. The House sponsor is Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, while McCain was joined on the Senate side by Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nevada.
The act imposes a one-year limit on the promotional rights a promoter can demand from a boxer, to stop the practice of promoters denying a boxer a bout unless he gets options on future bouts.
Promoters are barred from having financial ties to the manager of a boxer.
The bill urges the boxing industry to develop guidelines for legitimate rankings that sanctioning organizations should follow.
The sanctioning organizations must publicly disclose their ratings policies, the fees they charge boxers and the names of members who decide rankings.
Promoters must also disclose all fees and charges they impose on the boxer and payments made to sanctioning organizations.
Each state boxing commission must enforce the suspension of boxers due to misconduct that are imposed by other state commissions.
The Senate added an amendment to the House bill that makes clear that casinos and hotels that stage bouts are not to act as promoters at the same time.
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Oxley statement on the bill.