A leading fight promoter urged Congress yesterday to create a federal boxing commission, arguing that the United States has lost control of the world's two major fight-sanctioning organizations and has no other means of regulating the sport.
Bob Arum, president of Top Rank Inc., told the House Committee on Education and Labor's subcommittee on labor standards that "90 percent of the money for world championship boxing is in the United States and 85 percent of the world class fighters are from the United States.
"But the two world boxing organizations are run from outside the United States," said Arum.
Both Arum and Burt Sugar, the editor of Ring Magazine, repeating previous allegations, told the subcommittee that the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Association arbitrarily rank fighters to give favored rankings to their friends and are financially accountable to no one.
Arum said in testimony he has at least $50,000 in canceled checks that were made out to the World Boxing Council for fight-sanction fees and cashed by WBC President Jose Sulaiman at the cashier's cage at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Arum also charged that the WBA is controlled by a fight promoter named Pepe Cordero "whose control is so absolute that my company is forced to pay what only can be called tribute to get Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini the fights he deserves."
Sugar testified that Sulaiman's cashing of WBC checks was evidence he "has subverted the WBC into his personal playground."
Reached by telephone in Mexico, Sulaiman said, "Mr. Arum as usual is misrepresenting the situation." He said some of Arum's checks may have been cashed at Caesars Palace because WBC regulations require payment in cash or certified check and it sometimes takes months for checks drawn on United States banks to clear if deposited in Mexico. He also noted that all of Arum's charges were previously aired before a federal judge and jury in New York and that no impropriety was found.
Sulaiman also defended the WBC rankings as fair and said many promoters complain if they think their fighters are underranked. "I am very sad because there is apparently some kind of conspiracy that because I am Latin I should be denied the right to be president of a boxing organization."
Cordero was not available for comment.