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Serrano beat Valdez easily. He was paid $150,000 for fighting a nobody in his own hometown with his manager as the local promoter. The officials were a Venezuelan, Rozadilla and another American.
In this issue and the previous one, boxing's international ills have been set forth in brief. For every misdeed cited, dozens of others have been documented—and probably there are as many again as yet uncovered. The inescapable conclusion is that the WBC and WBA are failures. What's to be done? For the U.S., at least, the answer, in the minds of many observers, is to put boxing under federal control, for throughout its history the sport has proved all too clearly that it cannot police itself.
Only a strong federal boxing commissioner empowered to supervise all state and local commissions, the argument goes, can bring the sport to the high level of honesty and respect it deserves. The federal commissioner must be armed with a clear-cut set of rules and have the legal muscle to penalize abusers. He might well have the power of sanction over every fight held in the U.S.; certainly he should control all title bouts, which should be conducted under American rules with highly qualified American officials. If the WBA and the WBC demur, say the federalists, let them take their title fights elsewhere.
In addition to responsible control, the adoption of the following is advisable:
•A requirement that promoters be bonded, for the protection of fighters' purses.
•Adherence to a new and realistic set of boxer rankings, which might well be those of The Ring magazine, now highly respected.
•The upgrading of standards, for all handlers and officials working fights.
•The "grading" of boxers, as done in England, to eliminate mismatches. A boxer would advance through, say, grades E to A to reach world class.
•Retirement and disability programs, as well as hospitalization and life insurance policies for every fighter.
The crisis is real. It is time to act.