WASHINGTON - Muhammad Ali asked Congress on Thursday to create a U.S. Boxing Commission, saying oversight by the federal government is needed to protect boxers from exploitation and injury.
Ali's testimony before a congressional panel was read by his wife, Lonnie, because he suffers from Parkinson's disease.
"Reform measures are unlikely to succeed," Ali said, "unless a U.S. Boxing Commission is created with authority to oversee a sport that still attracts a disproportionate number of unsavory elements that prey upon the hopes and dreams of young athletes."
Legislation authored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would create a three-person commission, appointed by the president, to license boxers, managers, promoters and sanctioning organizations. It would impose uniform health and safety standards, establish a centralized medical registry and provide uniform ranking criteria and contractual guidelines. The bill has passed the Senate but no action on it is expected in the House this year.
In 1996, Congress set minimum health and safety standards for pro boxing, which were expanded by the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act of 2000. But the former heavyweight champ said more work was needed, citing a 2003 Government Accountability Office study that found inconsistent regulation by state commissions led to permanent, if not fatal injuries, economic exploitation of boxers and corruption.
FSU picks up UMass
Needing to fill a hole in its schedule, the Florida State men's basketball team added UMass and will play the first of a home-and-home series on Feb. 15 at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. The Seminoles had an opening Dec. 14 when they originally released their 2004-05 schedule. They also announced their first games in the Corpus Christi Challenge, an exempted four-game tournament, will be against Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Shawnee State on Nov. 22 and 24 at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.
USF SOCCER: The men's match against Stetson, postponed last week because of Hurricane Frances, was rescheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at USF Soccer Stadium. The next USF (2-0-0) match is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Charlotte.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Tennessee freshman Candace Parker, one of the most heralded girls high school players, had surgery to repair cartilage in her left knee. The 6-3 forward from Naperville, Ill., may miss the upcoming season.
Smarty's fee is hefty
Smarty Jones' first-year stud fee was set at $100,000 per live foal. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner retired to Three Chimneys Farm (Ky.) on Aug. 16. The farm has been inundated with requests from breeders to cross their mares with the chestnut colt, who won eight of nine starts and more than $7-million in his career. The farm started offering four-year contracts, so breeders will be guaranteed a season to the horse in each of his first four years at stud.
Payton faces court date
Gary Payton was arrested last month for investigation of driving under the influence, the California Highway Patrol said. The NBA star was stopped Aug. 28 after an officer saw him backing down an on ramp on the San Diego Freeway to avoid heavy traffic caused by an accident, the CHP said. Payton failed an alcohol sobriety test and was taken to the West Los Angeles Police Department, CHP officials said. He also was cited for unsafe backing and was released after a chemical test at the station. He is to appear in court Oct. 15.
WNBA: Rookie Alana Beard had 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lead host Washington 71-59 over New York. Allison Feaster converted two free throws in the final seconds and finished with 23 points, leading host Charlotte 74-69 over Sacramento and helping the Sting into a tie for first in the East with Indiana and New York. LaToya Thomas scored a career-high 26 and host San Antonio snapped a nine-game skid with a 77-72 victory over Houston.
- Times staff writers Brian Landman and Greg Auman contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.