Ala. lawmakers pass bill for boxing commission

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama House has unanimously passed a bill that would create a state boxing commission to sanction pro fights.

State Rep. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale, had long pushed for such a commission and was a co-sponsor.

Boxers Roy Jones Jr. and Deontay Wilder visited the Statehouse Thursday to support the bill.

Jones is a nine-time world champion who has fought 19 professional bouts in his hometown of Pensacola, Fla. Now, he's hoping Wilder gets a similar chance in or near his Tuscaloosa hometown. Wilder is an Olympic bronze medalist and promising heavyweight.

Lawmakers gave Wilder a standing ovation after the bill's passage.

Jones said a commission would give untapped talent in the state a chance to develop.

Supporters also say bringing pro fights to the state would be an economic boon.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)