Challenging Boxing Myths - The Fans Respond
By Readers, Compiled by Jim Cawkwell (August 13, 2004) 
Seek and ye shall find, and in this final edition of the current series of Challenging Boxing Myths, I sought potential improvements to boxing’s scoring system and found some interesting reading from’s readers. Read on for informative commentary on everything from comparisons to other mainstream sports, opinions on the role of the sanctioning bodies, judging a fight from your living room, media influence and everything in between.

Can boxing’s scoring system be improved?

1-go to scoring by rounds so a calimitous early round will not almost eliminate your chance of winning a decision. Have a supplementary points system in the event of a draw. New York used this method and I've never seen an improvement caused by going to straight points.

2-Only allow bouts to be held in states, or countries ,with strong athletic commissions. The judges names should not be made public until they are introduced just prior to round one. This would make  tampering by the promoter more difficult(if not impossible)

3-Have the referee be a judge in all jurisdictions. No one has a better view.

4-The real key is to get rid of the sanctioning bodies, and the phoney weight classes. As you know ,the more classes the more sanctioning fees. The U.S.A. must take the lead here and form a national governing body for the sport. Fighters from other countries would only be ranked if their nations and management teams signed exclusive contracts with the new body.

5-When a bout is held, should the lower ranked man win, the 2 boxers exchange rankings. This would eliminate the phantom rankings that are so pervasive. Champions must only defend against those ranked in the top 5,and every second fight must be against #1.A losing challenger would fall to #10.
Just some ideas.


The answer is too simple for the purists to handle:  Open scoring.  End of story.  Why should a fighter have to wait until AFTER the fight to see if he is getting screwed (or misinterpreted)?  In the NBA, if the refs call touchy fouls, the players adjust and play less physically.  In the NFL, if refs are letting the corners mug the receivers (New England vs Indy), the players and coaches adjust accordingly. 

In boxing, 3 people are put ringside (not necessarily the best view), they have preconceived notions in their heads due to their "training" (such as the "automatic" 10-8 round for a knockdown), and they keep their interpretations to themselves until it is too late for the combatants to do anything.  BS.
But if you have to score secretly...the scoring should give more credit  to fighters who clearly won the round.  If fighter A gets all of the close rounds (7) and fighter B pummels him (no knockdown, but clear headshots that knock sweat, plus fighter A runs for the last round without attempting offense) and wins 5 rounds, fighter B should win.  Clear rounds should be 10-8, close rounds where the judges feel someone had to win should be 10-9. Knockdowns, in a round the fighter would have otherwise won, should give an extra point for each.    And lets remember, fights should be entertaining.

The only factor in scoring should be who does the most damage.  Screw ring generalship and defense. 

Donovan Leonard

Couple ideas

Same training for all the judges,  if that has to be same school, same teacher so be it.  That way if they are doing something wrong, they all do the same.  Easier to fix then.

Encourage judges to score rounds even if no one clearly wins it.  We don't need judges looking for a winner in a round.  If ist even, call it as such.  Football games after scoreless quarters don't get a team awarded free points.  There is usually 2 or 3 rounds that qualify per 12 round bout.

Same for awarding extra points.  If someone dominates, give him a 2 point round. A 3 point round can be considered as well. 

Score the round 1st and then add the point deductions for knockdowns. If you get your but kicked for 2.5 minutes, and then score a one pooch knockdown, you do not deserve a 10-8 round.  Maybe even but not 10-8 for you. 

Thanks, Nathan

Even if the aggressor in a fight is significantly stronger and succeeds in inflicting damage to his opponent through lesser blows connected, yet he is still considerably out-landed, can we justify him as the winner?

On occasion, yes, but not all the time. I don't think a fight should be based on who looks the worse for wear at the end of the fight. 

Are you in favor of the introduction of technical elements to assist the scoring and officiating process?

yes, if it's an improvement over the current system

Should the CompuBox system be afforded a greater role in the final analysis of a fight?

No, because if the fights are scored by rounds then it shouldn't be. One fighter may throw a lot of punches in one round, but not so many in the next and so on. For example, a fighter might throw 100 punches in a round, but say only 50 in the next. And the other boxer may throw 70 punches in each of those two rounds. If you go by compubox a person might say the first fighter was the busiest because he threw more punches in both rounds combined, when in actuality he was only the busiest fight in one of the rounds. 

Is there any hope for boxing matches to be fairly adjudicated while they are at the mercy of a system that accepts free interpretation and personal preference?

No, because there are always going to be judges that are going to judge fights based on whom they favor best in the ring, and not just by boxing ability either. Constantly, you are seeing boxers get hometown decisions even though they clearly lost the fight. Or even boxers getting decisions because they are a better draw than the other boxer they just fought against.  

Do you have any ideas that might improve the way a fight is scored?

I think they should have at least 5 judges score the fight, and then let a computer randomly select the three judges scorecards that will be used in scoring the fight. The two scorecards that aren't selected by the computer obviously wouldn't be used. That way neither judge would know which one of their scorecards would be used for the decision. And hopefully that could help alleviate some of the corruption of judges allowing fighters to win a fight no matter what happens in the ring.


Judging a Boxing Match

No school has ever been formed to matriculate in this subject, not even a pamphlet. Based on my experience here are some concepts I use when scoring a contest.

First, isolate yourself from distractions, if your having your buddies over for P.P.V. don't even attempt ,tape it ,for review in the morning. Abstain from adult beverages, sit alertly ,hit the mute button, the commentators and partisan fans can sway your opinion.

I break the round down into one minute intervals, what transpires in the first third of the action can easily be forgotten at the conclusion of the round. I make a mental note as the minutes pass as to which contestant has the advantage. To be more precise you can make a notation on your scoresheet as the minutes pass as to the degree of dominance of one over the other. For instance B for barely winning ,E for easily and D for decisively dominating that period of the round. Alloting the time is easily accomplished for a visual showing the elapsed period is now displayed on your screen. It takes some practice, if you can't assign a grade conveniently to a segment move on to the next minute, consider the latter minute as to close to call or even. The Ten Point system which is universally accepted now comes into play which I think should be interpolated to be capable of yielding a more perfect result. The current system is to award a 10-9 score for a round not involving a knockdown not considering the B and E aspect of the three minutes so if you win each minute Barely or Easily you would receive a 10-9 score, perhaps a 10-8 is justified? Or if a Knockdown occurs designated in our system by a D common practice today is a score of 10-8,but let's say and additional knockdown occurs it's still scored a 10-8,maybe a 10-7 is appropriate ? Never the less we must stick to the current practice of awarding points or our totals will be skewered from the official results!

I call this the BED Method for Boxing Easily Decided!

Viewing by television we have an advantage over the ringside officials, we get to see instant replays plus a new addition the punch count. The replay is reserved for dramatic moments, hard punches, knockdowns, low blows, cuts,(inflicted by punch or head butt?). Instant official judgements have to be made by the referee that the judges follow and is reflected in the official scoring. We see several times by the replay evidence that may refute the live judgement of the ref but we must again abide by his call or our scorecard will not be in accordance with official scorecards.

The Punch Count-Broken down into total punches-Punches landed-Power Punches and Jabs landed is another tool that can be utilized to substantiate a verdict. However you have to take into consideration the quality of the blows.

For Example:

A fighter attempts 400 punches during the contest-150jabs-25power punches land-zero knock downs are registered. Of the jabs 3/4's are of the nuisance variety not inflecting punishment. The opponent has the same totals however he lands 40 hard jabs that inflict damage,bloody nose,abrations and 5 power punches scoring two knockdowns! Whose the winner? If your only source is the punch count you would award the fight probably to the first fighter. The emergence of the punch count was initiated for amateur boxing where there is a small window of opportunity, three rounds, plus head gear and padded gloves that negate the power so a greater number of blows landed no matter the severity is suited for the judging the simon pures. However the punch count has become an intergal part of the T.V. commentators dole on the pro circuit to substantiate the scorecard of their house expert. One additional caution is that the count is being taken by humans so it also can be subject to variations.

You must also be familiar with the nuances of judging a boxing match-Aggressiveness, Ring Generalship, Boxing Ability, Effective Punching. Let's review some recent fights to aid us in explaining these items.

Oscar DeLaHoys vs. Felix Trinadad

Neither combatant was to be draped in glory each had too much respect for the adversary making it a very hard fight to judge. DLH constantly going backward and doing little, Trinadad moving foward ever so cautious, but DLH 's unwillingness to engage left the officials little choice but to award the decision to Felix due to his mild form of aggression of moving foward and appearing to attempt to make a fight. If nothing is happening the one moving foward is going to get the nod. Using the BED system there would have been a whole lot of Barelys.

Ricardo Mayorga vs Vernon Forrest 2nd fight

This was a classic example of media baisis and fan exurberance that influenced a decision! Journalist love figures that express cute one liners and aficionados big punchers, Ricardo is abundantly blessed with both.. However using our tools on scoring Forrest won this fight. Mayorga was the bully no doubt but his incendiaries were fanning the ringsiders or landing on the nape of Vernons neck not effective or scoreable. If you have or can get a hold of a tape of this bout please review less the sound and focus on Mayorgas punches-intimidating yes, causing Vernon to cow in anticipation yes, but nothing was landing. In a few rounds Ricardo didn't land a single punch! Meanwhile Forrest was placing some clean shots on target, demonstrating boxing ability and ring generalship but avoiding ineffective wild rushes by his opponent and scoring enough to carry a majority of the rounds.

Now view the contest once more with the sound up, it's pro Mayorga from A to Z, the decision brought smiles of approval to all associated with the promotion, not one complaint. Why? Because Mayorga is marketable due to his bombastic style he's going to put more eyeballs in front of the box, put fans in the seats and sell more newspapers and advertising, he's the current darling of the movers and shakers.

One final observation, view the visual condition of the participants in the post fight interview, Vernon unmarked, Ricardo a couple of welts underneath his eyes, someone was scoring it wasn't the victor!

Ring generalship and boxing ability were nicely displayed by Verno Phillips on Friday September 5th,2003 on ESPN. He was engaged by a tough southpaw veteran pugilist out of Texas, never have I seen a portsider handled so effectively. Verno put on a classic demonstration of how to move around the ring and his opponent, he moved in and out ever so subtle, cunning and crafty. Knowing when to punch when to cover and defend. Just using his legs and experience to stay enticingly attractive to his opponent like a Venus flytrap then pouncing on him as he ventured into his range. This is what you call boxing ability and ring generalship! The judges awarded Verno a near perfect score!

Give us your feedback. Give us your tips on scoring.

Tommy Noel

That brings us to the end of this current series of discussions in which we have challenged several of boxing’s most enduring myths. I hope that you have all found the topics thought provoking and enjoyed the commentary of other readers. At a future date I hope to be able to bring you more poignant topics for discussions, but until then don’t forget to keep checking for editorials from my fellow writers and the latest interviews with boxing’s stars.
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