Commission to Discuss Boxing Controversies


The California State Athletic Commission meets today in what is expected to become a lively session when two subjects come up for discussion: The state’s controversial neurological exams for professional boxers and the boxers’ pension plan.

Also to be discussed is possible punishment for heavyweight Tony Tucker of Los Angeles, who tested positive for marijuana after his last Forum fight.

Actually, what is not on the agenda may make news today. Commissioner Jerry Nathanson of Los Angeles failed in an attempt to have a letter he wrote to commission executive officer Ken Gray posted on the agenda. In the letter, Nathanson demanded that Gray answer 16 questions, all related to what Nathanson says is Gray’s inability to perform his duties “in a diligent or prudent manner.”

Among the issues Nathanson wants aired is an alleged missing $48,000 budgeted by the legislature the last two years. The money was earmarked for supervision of amateur boxing shows, but Nathanson says questions have arisen, suggesting it wasn’t spent as intended.

Also, Nathanson wants an accounting of a state-paid trip Gray is alleged to have taken to the Caribbean for a boxing convention that Nathanson says was not held. Further, Nathanson wants Gray to explain what the commissioner calls numerous state-paid trips to Orange County from Sacramento over the last two years.


The neurological testing program is up for review today by a review committee. The tests are criticized as culturally and educationally biased by boxers, managers, promoters and neurologists.

A Nevada Athletic Commission investigation into the tests found them to be “not valid” in finding boxing-related neurological impairment in boxers.

The state’s pension plan for boxers is, according to one commission staffer, “a mess.” Under the plan, any boxer who averages 10 rounds a year for three consecutive years can collect $60 a month at 65.

The problem is, staffers say, that the system is hampered by bookkeeping errors. Also, a high percentage of the pension material mailed to former boxers is returned, marked “addressee unknown.”