Atlas calls for national commission

Hall of Fame boxing analyst and trainer Teddy Atlas has again called for the establishment of a federal boxing commission and posted an online petition in its support. Atlas also announced that his team will be presenting the petition and sharing their concerns with several elected officials to advance this issue before Congress.

“Recent nationally televised professional boxing events have shown a spotlight on unacceptable performances inside and around the ring by officials appointed to maintain the integrity and consumer confidence of the sport,” said Atlas. “While I recognize the human element is naturally fallible, I cannot, and I think many who love the sport of boxing agree, that this should be acceptable. The fighters who sacrifice so much in their training and risk their well-being inside the ring, deserve accountability and consequences for the actions, or inaction, by those responsible for the health and safety of the fighters. Officiating in boxing — from the commission to the referees, judges, inspectors, et al. — need to recognize this and step up. It’s time for the entire process to be overhauled and elevated to the same standard of major league sports.”

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  • “It’s time for the entire process to be overhauled and elevated to the same standard of major league sports.”

    Love seeing somebody with influence talking like this, and actually trying to put it into action. Seems like a major step in the right direction finally. Will be interesting to see the details on what changes they plan on making if this comes to fruition.

    • If John McCain couldn’t get any traction for this it’s hard to imagine Atlas having any success.

      • @DaveF McCain did try, and fail, to form a National Commission. He did manage to pass something called the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, though according to Lou DiBella, nobody really enforced it. Atlas may fail as well…probably will I suppose… but maybe more people in the sport join him, and this gains momentum toward getting some sort of structure in place. Hopefully they are persistent in their efforts here. Pretty exhausting to think about what it would take to really clean boxing up though.

        • Never gonna happen my friend…also, Atlas has been banging on this drum for YEARS

    • I remember him doing that several times while he was on the air, calling fights for ESPN. Maybe he has a plan to get something behind it this time, it says he has a team involved now so we’ll see.

      My problem with this is that I’ve always thought boxing to be a an extremely difficult sport to oversee. He acknowledges the human element to be flawed but then seems to go on to say that it is unacceptable. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I will say that I’ve watched fights and thought that one person won the fight and not only did they not win, but I’d talk to other people or go online and…. no one else thought that they won. So were I a judge in that particular fight, they’d be looking at me like I was an idiot or corrupt or whatever. It doesn’t happen often and I can’t think of a recent example, but I remember watching Chavez Jr. fight a guy named Zbik and I thought Zbik had won almost every single round and Chavez won and no one said a word about it; I think Erislandy Lara – Vanes Martirosyan 2, I had Martirosyan and he lost a pretty clear decision and everyone thought it to be fair. It happens is my point. So I don’t know how you get around that. You watch a baseball game, you expect the umpire to miss a few balls and strikes. You watch basketball, you expect them to miss a foul or two. The people playing the sport don’t do it perfectly, they never will and officiating it will never be perfect either.

      • @Lucie from the article: “It’s time for the entire process to be overhauled and elevated to the same standard of major league sports.” This needs to happen one way or another. You’re right about boxing being extremely difficult to oversee, but something needs to happen, and I appreciate his efforts here. Just hoping others in the sport get behind him and ideas are exchanged and they come up with something. A National Commission isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but I’d be open to whatever changes they’re trying to make. It would be really difficult to make the sport as it stands now any worse.

      • Lucie, I believe in New York (under Randy Gordon, I think) sometime in the 90’s, the commission experimented with a more divergent scoring system where it would be common to have a 10-8 or even a 10-7 round without a knockdown. A dominant round with a knockdown could be as wide as 10-6. To use a recent example of how that scoring system was meant to work, Loma had a fairly dominant 11th round against Haney, and that likely would have been scored 10-8. The way it stands now, Loma’s big 11th round, and Haney’s razor-thin 12th were valued exactly the same at 10-9. This idea wouldn’t eliminate corruption of course, but I think they could at least revisit it if changes will be made.

        • 10-8 without a knockdown is currently being used. by the diversity of the comments, it seems that the general population does not know how to score a fight PROFESSIONALY

          • @Mike Correct, but it was a lot more common the way they were doing it. To use the Loma example again, nobody today would have given him a 10-8 round in the 11th against Haney, but it would have easily been a 10-8 round with the experimental system in the 90s.

          • Most definitely. You can score a round 10-8 if if it’s a thorough outclassing ass whooping without a knockdown.

        • I agree with that – that winning a round in a clearer way should maybe have more of a reward for the fighter that did it. If you dominate a round but do not get a knockdown or significantly wobble your opponent and then you BARELY lose the next one, it’s the same score. For me, and I don’t think this would happen, but I wouldn’t mind having half scores. So maybe Loma wins the 11th 10-9 or 8.5 and then loses the 12th 10-9.5. There’s a distinction between the two. Sure, I’d be fine with that.

          I also remember them trying majority scoring where they’d have three judges but one card. If two judges vote for one fighter and one for the other, the one with two gets the round on a ‘split decision’, basically (and I think there was a really bad score in a fight with Vivian Harris and Ivan Robinson, where Harris would have won on traditional scoring, but lost because of the majority scoring). I’ll also mention Glory, a kickboxing organization, that uses the 10pt must system, but they announce the winner of the round every time and they also use five judges!

          All of this to attempt to get judging more accurate, but it’s impossible because you can’t regulate someone’s opinion. You can provide guidelines and do the best you can (HOPEFULLY).

          • Lucie, yes, you’re first paragraph is exactly what I was trying to articulate. The way it is now, one fighter can dominate 6 rounds, and the other guy can win 6 by the slightest of margins, but it’s still a Draw, assuming no knockdowns or point deductions. That’s going to look like a robbery in people’s eyes since one guy did the majority of the damage, but it’s not a robbery under the current system. That needs to be addressed one way or another.

            You’re right though, regulating someone’s opinion isn’t possible. I’m sure they’ll find a way to experiment with AI scoring at some point…

      • Hello Lucy,

        I think having a commission will fix some issues, but not all. Some of the issues it can fix:
        1- Banning corrupt and/or incompetent referees and judges. Boxing is a sport of appreciation, some fights will be hard to score, those are few and not the norm, but there are referees’ calls and judges’ scoring that are way off and too often.
        2- Having VAR implemented, I know some boxing organization (WBC) uses it sporadically on title fights. This can help/correct when a referee calls an incorrect knockdown vs when it is a slip, or push. Also, when a cut is due to headbutt, elbow vs a punch.
        3- Protect boxers purses, recently few years back Jonathan Guzman from RD went to fight in Japan and was paid and he put his money $70K into his checked in luggage and it was stolen. This was totally preventable and of course this was the boxer fault, but someone could of provide him with some guidance. Wire your money, WU, MoneyGram, or carry the money with you. In the past how many fighters were not paid or their purses stolen?
        4- Create some kind of pension scheme, and health benefits for fighters.
        5- Rankings should be based on merits and not how popular the fighter is or his promoter.
        6- Announce scoring like the WBC does it for titles’ fights (4, & 8), this can prevent corruption and fixing.
        7- Close fights that are extremely hard to score, immediate rematch.
        8- Establish guidelines and provide tools to judges on how to score a fight correctly and move away from boxing as a sport of appreciation.

        In conclusion I know that a commission won’t fix all the issues, but it can tackle some. Also, I know this wont be easy, others tried before and failed miserably.

        Sorry for the long post….

        • Hi Tai!

          1. Corruption is one thing. Me, personally, I don’t think that corruption is very widespread. I head people talking about it a lot but I generally think those people are kind of conspiracy theorists, but if you can prove it, sure. It has no place in sport or anywhere else. Incompetence is different. Unless a person demonstrates a clear lack of understanding of the rules, I don’t know how you deem them to be incompetent, even if they do turn in a bad score or make a bad call. Tony Weeks stopped a fight too early, I don’t think anyone would call him an “incompetent” referee, for example. He made a mistake, a big one, but he is human and he’s allowed. We’ve all made big mistakes and we all will make more of them.

          5. Rankings are subjective. They’re based on opinions, as is merit in this situation. Who determines who has a better resume?

          7. You order an immediate rematch and one of the fighters doesn’t want to fight that person again. What do you do in that situation? Gabriel Maestre beat Mykal Fox in, literally, one of THE WORST decisions of all time and the WBA ordered and rematch and Fox (who you would think would want it above anyone else) said no thank you. James Toney beat Dave Tiberi in what may have been #1 biggest robbery in the history of the sport, Tiberi declined the rematch.

          I’m just bringing up how there is very little in the way of ‘black and white’ in regards to boxing. It works when you have more of a structure like stick and ball sports with their leagues, but you don’t have that in boxing and I don’t think you ever will and, personally, I don’t think I’d want it.

          • @Lucie “5. Rankings are subjective. They’re based on opinions, as is merit in this situation. Who determines who has a better resume?”

            True, but how about eliminating outrageous rankings like (Lovejoy, Guidry). Subjective for sure, but maybe they can eliminate blatant corruption. Maybe the Boxrec model?

          • Well, okay. You got me there USF. I will concede that there’re occasionally situations SO egregious that they seem to be devoid of common sense. You have a ranked fighter who may not even have a win over a guy with a winning record. Sure, that would need to be fixed and I started to say that you never really see a guy like that in a big fight or a title fight, but you just named Guidry, so again, I stand corrected on that.

            Boxrec, I THINK, relies on some type of mathematical ranking system and I think a mixture of what they do and some good old fashion common sense might work. They do, occasionally, come up with some very odd rankings. Once upon a time Kovalev was Boxrec’s top ranked lightheavyweight despite losing his last fight at the weight and despite there being a unified champion named Beterbiev. I think Kovalev was replaced by Callum Smith after being inactive for a year or officially moving up to cruiser and I don’t even know if Smith had actually fought at the weight. They both were ranked that highly because Boxrec’s system has such an affinity for Canelo’s record that even LOSING to him meant that they should be ranked over Beterbiev and Bivol. Bivol is their #2 pound for pound fighter right now (after guess who) because he fought Canelo. And you see them do other odd things: Jermell Charlo can’t be ranked because he’s been inactive for a year, so the #1 ranked jr middleweight, according to Boxrec is Kurbanov. Tim Tszyu isn’t even top five and he’s ranked behind a guy who got knocked out in his last fight. Take what they do and have more human interaction and that may work. They definitely could use more GRAY in their black and white lol.

          • Hello Lucie,

            The quick stoppage by Steele in Meldrick Taylor vs JCC I, in the 12th round with 2 seconds left to me, it was more than a human error.
            Referee Padilla said himself he gave Pacquiao a long count that benefited him. Was him just cheating to help a compatriot to win or there was more to it?
            Tony Weeks I dont know if his was a honest mistake, or bad night, or more to it, but he made two wrong calls in the same fight. First the knockdown in favor of Rolly then the quick stoppage.
            Aaron Pryor’s trainer in a fight with Arguello is asking for a bottle that he mixed himself, that same trainer who removed the padding in the Resto fight.
            Adalaide Byrd scoring an inexplicable 118-110 in the Canelo vs Golovkin 1.
            Corruption, criminal act, cheating, mistake, or incompetent? unfortunately, for most cases there are Zero, Nil, Nada. No consequences. This is something that having a national or federal commission can help with training, or removing referees & judges with an established and repeatedly history of bad calls or bad stoppages.

            5- Who determines which fighters has merit? This would need more work since there are boxing organizations and most of them are based out of the USA (OMB in PR*, WBA, & WBC), I see a lot of manipulations in ranking. How many times We saw an unranked fighter getting ranked just to fight an A fighter for a title, especially on the WBA.

            7- If the boxer who inexplicably and mysteriously lost a fight does not want a rematch, at least he/she was given a chance to make a wrong right.

        • I remember the Guzman incident, and he deserved what happened…a total moron, common sense is obviously not so common

          • Come on Bob should I boxer who risked his/her life in the square ring be held accountable to losing his purse when most boxers are coming from humble backgrounds? What I am surprise that no one gave him some sort of guidance (the promoter of the event, his manager if he had one, the RD ambassador), not a single soul….

      • That’s right Lucie. The first one that came to mind was when Atlas lost his sh1t after the Emmanuel Augustus vs Courtney Burton blatant robbery in Michigan. That incident I believe helped McCain in his passing of the Muhammad Ali Act.

  • Begging the government to stick its meddling, incompetent nose into boxing–what a wonderful idea! Thanks for nothing, Atlas.

    • Right, Saint Atlas “oooh, there’s too many world ranking organisations”…then helps set up The Trans Continental BS that also provides rankings

  • Bad idea. You think there’s corruption and incompetence now? Layers of government would just magnify current issues and add problems no on ever thought of before. Luckily his project is doomed to failure.

  • The only way we can have some sort of regulated control is through a united front. Many have been calling for a national commission and today more than ever, it is very possible because everyone can easily be reached with the message. We can finally have a group that these promoters have to answer to and who have the power to change scores or results around without the sanctioning bodies approval.

    Please sign the petition and share it with as many as possible. Teddy Atlas had no fear and will fight for this all the way. His track record throughout the decades has demonstrated his live for the sport, his desire to better it and his refusal to submit to the powers that be.

    • You’re incredibly naive…the status quo suits the promoters and sanctioning bodies…also, “everyone can easily be reached with the message” – phones have been around for 100+ years, if they wanted it done, it would have been by now.

  • Respectfully, Teddy is all talk. After decades of being involved with major networks, authors, investors and fighters he has zero tangible evidence to show for his [ current ] words, due to Lomachenko’s misfortune. People are so gullible when their ‘hero’ speaks.

    • Unless another solution is offered, we will continue to run around in circles with no offence. The least we can do is give this one a hard push to see if it lands like Mike Weaver.

  • Just self righteous talk. He has been saying that shit for years and I’m sure he would petition for his Yankee friends to be in charge of it if happened.
    I don’t know if anybody else has noticed but the Government could fuck up a 1 car funeral.
    Fight business is a Pimp and Whore business. Always has been Always will be. A national commission will completely kill club shows at the local level. Especially in the Midwest.

  • Atlas the man who ranked a guy with 7 fights as P4P #1. Yeah, let’s trust that guy. Now he wants the government involved. You’re battle 1000 Teddy. Yeah, let’s get the government involved because we know they’re not corrupt (rolls eyes). As long as profit is involved, boxing will never be without corruption.

  • There were many tries previously to create a Boxing National or Federal Commission like many other sports and all of these initiatives failed. I support this with the ultimate goal of improving the sport I love and eradicate once for all from some of the worst/controversial horrendous decisions I seen/remenbered such as:
    1- Haney vs Lomachenko
    2- Romero vs Barroso
    3- Canelo vs Lara
    4- Jose Luis Ramirez vs. Pernell Whitaker (RIP)
    5- Lennox Lewis vs Evander Holyfield (I)
    6- Pernell Whitaker (RIP) vs. Julio Ceesar Chavez
    7- Julio Cesar Chavez vs Meldrick Taylor (I)
    8- Park Si-Hun vs Roy Jones Jr. (Olympic)

      • Yup those counts too.
        Anything that can be done to minimize these horrendous decisions and to protect boxers, I am in. Perhaps, we will get lucky… not doing anything is having these nefarious results every so often

    • GGG vs Canelo
      Augustus vs Burton
      Ali vs Norton 3
      Holmes vs Spinks

      There are tons of supporting evidence on a year by year basis.

      Boxing needs an enema

    • Yai 1,2, 4, 5, and 8 are some of the worst in boxing Canelo-Lara could have gone either way. The only bad score there was Levi Martinez 117-111 card for Canelo. Atlas himself was fine with the other cards. Toney-Tiberi was horrible as well. #7 Thought it was horrible on the live call. But later, when learning from the hospital how badly Taylor was hurt, Steele did the right thing.

  • This is enormous folks, just imagine to have a comission to have the power to overturn fights results, regulate and supervise unfair boxing contracts, suspend referees and judges after a bad or suspicious performance, boxers insurance and so on. I think is time to try to screw those ones that have been screwing the boxers as a way of living

    • Ironically, everything you mentioned is already in place. People seem to forget that STATE laws will always trump Federal laws when it comes to boxing. The Federal commission (Association of Boxing Commissions) is only an advisory body at best. The STATES also have absolute control and authority of which officials work in their states. Even the alphabets (WBC, WBA, IBF, etc.) can only “request” to have certain officials assigned to a particular event.

    • Burucho,

      I think it can start by tackling some of the points your mentioned, not all at once.

      My concern is how the National or Federal Boxing commission can have jurisdiction over the boxing organizations (WBA, WBC, & WBO*) based out of the USA, or with the IBF sanctioning a fight out of the US when a bad decision or scoring occurs….

  • Good luck with that? Who’s going to pay for all those layers of bureaucracy? The promoters sure as hell won’t.

    • It will be added to out $32 debt. The Feds/ banking cartel would love this.

  • Boxing is not like other major sports where 1 organization (NBA, NFL, MLB, etc.) controls EVERYTHING from the participants, to the officials, to the front office. Boxing is wide open as it starts between the fighter and their promoter, then to the STATE commission, then on down the line to whichever officials are assigned to that fight. People seem to forget that STATE laws will always trump Federal laws when it comes to boxing. The Federal commission (Association of Boxing Commissions) is only an advisory body at best. The STATES also have absolute control and authority of which officials work in their states. Even the alphabets (WBC, WBA, IBF, etc.) can only “request” to have certain officials assigned to a particular event.

  • There’s already a FEDERAL boxing commission! The Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) So what in the world is he even “babbling” about?!

  • Never will happen . Boxing is an absolute joke at this point .

  • older fighters like loma and barbossa showing the flaws in the young fighters haney is weak morreti should not ever judge another fight again right on teddy your going in the right direction this month is the worst boxing decisions in decades these young fighters are in these matches so promoters can reap the money nothing else they dont care about the fighters just the money

    • I don’t understand how people can “zero in” on 1 judge when he was ONLY 1 round off on a unanimous decision? If the other 2 judges had when 1 more the other way, it would have been a MAJORITY draw and Loma would have still not won…..

  • The problem with a national commission is the same issue we have now. The government isn’t the solution. Get them more involved there will be more cronyism. Who is going to head this commission? The people running it is important. Once you start getting lawyers and politicians involved gives me scepticism

  • Here’s the thing. Except for 1 judge being 1 round off, ALL THREE judges saw the same thing. Which means that they scored exactly as they were TRAINED to do. People, the issue is not the judges in this case. It’s knowing what the PROFESSIONAL scoring criteria is and now to apply it while being neutral during 12 SEPARATE rounds.

  • Let me help you folks out a bit – A judge not only has to decide who won a particular round using the 10 point must system, they also have to decide whether that round was 1 – close, moderate, decisive, or extreme decisive (10-8 without a knockdown). The main factors to be considered are Clean Punching, Effective Aggressiveness, Ring Generalship/Ring control, Defense. keep in mind all this is SUBJECTIVE!
    For example – Boxer A is winning the round convincingly – your score at the moment should be 10-9 Boxer A. Boxer B knocks down Boxer A just before the bell. Since Boxer A was winning the round in convincing fashion your score may be 10-9 for Boxer B (not 10-8 for Boxer B since he was well behind at the time of the knock-down). This round MAY also be scored 10-10 (although rare) depending on how ahead you had Boxer A at the time of the knock-down.

  • If anyone is still not sure about the FEDERAL COMMISSION rules – I would refer you to: “PROFESSIONAL BOXING SAFETY ACT OF 1996” / “MUHAMMAD ALI BOXING REFORM ACT”


  • Every time we get a controversial decision, Atlas calls for a Federal takeover. Federal takeovers always turn into complete disasters and even more corrupt. You get a national commission and they still install people like Dave Morretti as a judge. Would a federal judge have better capability of judging than one appointed by a state? It’s such a silly concept. the Fed gov would love this responsibility as it could come up with a new reason for $20 billion of waste a year. The states and alphabets just need to do a better job of assigning people who are real boxing people.

    • Can you imagine? The Feds cannot even manage the Country yet people want them to manage the candy store called boxing.

  • 1 thing that it WOULD prevent ….no one could get a top ten rating until they beat someone that’s IN the top ten ! !

    • i don’t think you’ve thought this one through…hint, what came first, the chicken or the egg?

  • IT MUST HAPPEN. After 45 years of following the sport and traveling around the world to attend fights, I am sick and tired of boxing and the poor officiating and self-serving sanctioning bodies.

  • Like asking the mob to outlaw Brass knuckles. Boxing scoring is like art one must draw the line somewhere.

  • I think Mr Atlas is crazier than a batband a bit punchy, but I’m with him on this one.

  • You can look at a Ring Magazine in 1926 and it states the same thing. In the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, 60’s, 70’s to now — articles and a push and call for a National Commission.

  • I would expand on Atlas’ ideas and call for an International Commission. Uniform rules and expectations for refs, judges, and promoters. They should be subjected to background checks before and after each fight concerning their financial investments, Standardize the rules 3 warnings= 1 point taken away. Whether you are Joe Blow or Canelo Alvarez. International judges for World Title fights should make up judging panels like they do for every other part of the World except the USA and UK, where the promoter picks judges. The promoter should NOT pick refs and judges. You have a lottery drawing the day of the fight and you pick three judges and a ref from that bag. You select from a random list of about ten people. if it is a World Title Fight, six of them should come from other countries.You have a random drawing so no one can influence the outcome.

  • The government doesn’t know enough about boxing to make this work? That’s the problem that Atlas doesn’t see.

  • Boxing desperately needs a National Commission We have witnessed officiating that is either reflects incompetence or worse . State commissions that don’t hold these officials accountable which is Disgraceful The sweet science has become a sewer and unconscionable

  • Hope it’s going to work but î’m not so sure.. Money is always going to prevail in this ugly world.. Loma won and commissions should be able to change the winner of a fight were the judges were not able to do their work properly..

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