Promoter Joe DeGuardia is in Howard Beale mode. Saturday night, the Bronx resident determined that enough is enough. I'm mad as hell at this Pacquiao-Bradley decision, he thought, and I'm going to do something beyond kicking and screaming and then waiting for the next goofup.
The head of the Boxing Promoters Association told NYFightBlog that he is calling a meeting of the association and will firmly request that reps from all the athletic commissions attend, so some updated standards and practices for judges can be put into place. He has seen enough wacky decisions, and has had enough of the emails and texts from fight fans who label the sport corrupt and tell him they are done with boxing.
DeGuardia sent out a letter to nearly 60 promoters, which he termed a "call to action. We have to go forward, do things that need to be done to protect boxers from the people who are supposed to be protecting them, the regulators," he said to me.
"We have a sport in which the people who have the most interest in maintaining the credibility of the sport and its financial strength have no input whatsoever on who the officials are. We're going to make sure we take the steps to correct these types of things."
NYFightBlog obtained a copy of the letter, from sources other from DeGuardia:
"On Saturday night there was another decision rendered in a major fight (Pacquaio-Bradley) that jeopardizes the sanctity of our sport and requires immediate action by the boxing world but especially the boxing promoters," the letter started. "The Boxing Promoters Association (BPA) was formed to protect the integrity of the sport and force action upon the state regulators throughout the United States when warranted. The time has come for the promoters to take real action to remedy the all too often outlandish decisions made by State appointed referees and judges that effectively jeopardize the future of our sport, the fighters and the fans."
DeGuardia said he scored the controversial fight in question, the Pacquiao-Bradley tussle, "obviously in favor of Pacquiao." He cited other recent decisions, like the one in which fan favorite Brandon Rios got the nod over Richard Abril on April 14, also in Las Vegas, which spurred fight fans to pepper DeGuardia with negative comments about the sweet science.
In the BPA letter, it reads: "We are no longer willing to tolerate the unprofessional, errant and what some perceive as corrupt scoring that has reached its boiling point with fighters, media and fans alike."
DeGuardia wants the BPA to have a larger role in the sport; judges to be graded and to be chosen not based on political influence, but with input from the promoters; and remedial training for those in need.
"To me, this judging issue is a vital part of our sport, and if the public believes there is something improper going on, we have to fix it," he said.