The 28th Round

Over the last week or so, I've spoken with enough people to know that the other casinointerests in Las Vegas are not exactly happy with the presence of Tony Alamo Jr. (son ofMandalay Bay's Tony Alamo Sr.) on the state athletic commission. Not that they're thinkingabout it in terms of the same principle I've cited in previous stories.

It's that they figure they know what Alamo Jr. is all about, which in their minds isextending the reach of his father's interests to the boxing commission, and they're asking- hey, why can't we have a seat on the commission too?

And you know what? Under the current circumstances, that's really not a bad question.

Given the fact that the casino industry is so dominant in Nevada, and that rarely, ifever, does a fight take place in the state without the involvement of a casino, theindustry should have a voice in the way policy is structured and implemented.

How that voice should be heard, or who that voice should be, is another question.

Certainly, Alamo does not represent the casino industry. At the most, he represents justONE interest. And that's simply not the way it should be.

I would propose something which I think could be very constructive.

The first thing would be to take any person with a relationship to an individual casinoOFF the athletic commission. There's certainly no place for someone like that. They don'tfulfill any purpose other than to create controversy and resentment, as well as thefeeling that agendas are only being selectively served. They also have the potential toproduce situations that become embarrassing, as will invariably happen in Nevada.

The next thing I'd do is facilitate a structure for something like this to happen.

These are my suggestions:

1) A FIVE-PERSON COMMITTEE TO ACT IN AN ADVISORY CAPACITY TO THE BOXING COMMISSION. Thiswould includes people who could represent the interests of various companies that owncasinos and are active in boxing. These kinds of things, as you know, run in cycles – theLas Vegas Hilton had been involved heavily in boxing; now it is not. Caesars had been moreor less out of boxing for a while – now it wants back in. The Mandalay Bay may somedaydecide to phase boxing out – you never know. For these reasons, perhaps membership on thiscommittee could be changed on a rotating basis, depending on who really has a stake in thesport at the time.

Right now, I guess you'd be talking about the Mandalay Bay, Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, andthe Orleans in Las Vegas, and whatever properties in Laughlin or Reno-Tahoe which theydon't own or control, and are involved in boxing.

The overriding idea here is to ADVOCATE and COOPERATE, producing a give-and-take thatensures fair dealings between the boxing commission and the casino industry.

2) THE GOVERNOR CAN RESERVE A SEAT ON THE COMMISSION FOR SOMEONE TO REPRESENT CASINOS'INTERESTS IN GENERAL. Once again, Alamo Jr. does not fulfill this function. We're talkingabout someone who would not be appointed by the Governor, but who would be chosen fromamong the casinos themselves; not carrying the ball for anyone's particular interests, butALL interests. Maybe it could even be coordinated with Solution #1.

Perhaps casinos could get together in choosing one representative, ostensibly one which isindependent of any one casino company, to exercise the collective voice.

Unquestionably, you'd have some issues that would have to be resolved with regard to this.One involves the fact that there would still presumably be someone associated with thecasino industry who would be voting on ring officials (judges, referees). But at leastthat ideally wouldn't be someone voting on behalf of ONE casino.

Another concern might be that economics would take priority over other matters ofcommission business, such as fighter safety, for example. But I'm confident that withpeople looking over their shoulders, commission members and personnel would seek to strikea proper balance.

Besides, when has the economics of the casino industry NOT been a major consideration ofthis commission, anyway?

And considering what makes the engine run as far as boxing in Nevada is concerned, whyshouldn't it be?

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