New Jersey’s Tommy Kaczmarek authored
“You Be the Boxing Judge” which would later come out on DVD. He
entered the New Jersey Boxing HOF in 1994 per Henry Hascup, their
President. He was elected to Elizabeth Athletic Hall of Fame in
2002. Kaczmarek would go onto judge fights until 2009 when John
Duddy was upset by Billy Lyell. This was a fight I covered and
agreed with Kaczmarek and another judge that Lyell had upset the then
26-0 Duddy in a split decision win in Newark, NJ. In 2010 he
received the Rocky Marciano/American Association for the Improvement
of Boxing “Ring Officials Award”.
The following e-mail was sent from Jose
Sulaiman, Ch. President of the WBC:
Tom Kaczmarek and his passing through
the WBC has been one of the greatest things which ever happened to
our organization and to boxing as a whole.
Many years ago I took notice of Tom
Kaczmarek as a judge during a fight in NJ, when I saw his perfect
scoring in a controversial fight. I was interested in checking his
next fights. They were also perfectly scored considering the
subjectiveness of boxing as a whole. I decided then to come close to
Tom and invited him to chair the newly created Ring Officials
Committee of the World Boxing Council.
Tom Kaczmarek became not only one of
the best judges that I have ever known but also an unpretentious
excellent administrator of those who have as their responsibility the
scoring of matches and having under their wings the justice of the
sport of our love.
Tom Kaczmarek became a dear friend and
one I have come to admire and respect as a ring official who has left
an indelible of his passing through life.
Jose Sulaiman Ch.
The following year in 2010 the WBC made
Kaczmarek a Chairman of the Ring Officials Review Committee. He had
worked over 2000 bouts including110 world title fights and86 regional
championships in the US, Mexico, Europe, Asia and Australia.
“Tommy Kaye was truly an outstanding
boxing judge. He literally wrote the book on judging professional
boxing. He conducted clinics and seminars regarding Judging around
the World on behalf of the WBC. Great judge – great guy,” said
Steve Smoger. (Top referee)
Kaczmarek worked in 10 US states and 13
countries including the UK, Denmark, Thailand, Mexico, France,
Canada, Philippines, Japan, Italy, Hungary, South Korea, Spain and
Australia. He also judged a Commonwealth (British Empire)
heavyweight title bout between Lennox Lewis and Donovan Ruddock which
was also a WBC eliminator bout. In 2003 he judged Lennox Lewis vs
Vitali Klitschko for the WBC heavyweight title.
“I started boxing as an amateur in
1947 going 8-1 before turning professional the same year and
compiling an 11-5-3 record from 1947-49 before retiring at age 20.
After a modest career in the ring it lead to 66 years of involvement
in boxing in different capacities, including a long career as a
professional boxing judge and a moderator of training seminars for
judges before retiring in 2010,” said Kaczmarek.
“After his boxing career he became
one of the most respected and knowledgeable boxing judges in the
sport,” said Henry Hascup. (NJ HOF President)
Kaczmarek was appointed as a
Commissioner on the New Jersey Violent Crimes Compensation Board by
Govenor Byrne and worked for over 17 years before retiring in 1991.
He conducted seminars in both CT and NJ as well as training seminars
for the WBC judges from Africa and Europe. He was elected Councilman
in Clark, NJ from 1965-68. Then elected Mayor from 1969-72. In 1970
as Mayor he had the city sponsor and pay for a fully equipped boxing
gym. Elected Union County Freeholder Commissioner from 1972-74.
Kaczmarek is still going strong as he
approaches his 85th birthday on August 10th.
He has been married to Agnes Donovan 59 years having 3 children,
Nancy, Tom and Mary Jean, 8 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. He
served in the Army as a 2nd Lt. (Armor) from 1951-53.
“Tom was one of my mentors when I
first started. He took me under his wing and what I learned from him
prepared me for my future as a boxing judge. He is one of the finest
boxing judges ever, and his book and DVD on scoring became the go to
guide world wide. I am blessed to have worked with him and attend
his seminars both with the World Boxing Council and locally. I am
grateful and honored beyond words,” said Julie Lederman.
As author of “YOU BE THE BOXING
JUDGE” it was for judging professional boxing for the TV boxing
fan. International circulation with Japanese version published in
Japan. The book explains the strategies and mind-sets needed to
score boxing matches using the 10 Point Must System. In 2002 a
DVD-VHS version of the book was produced and is enjoying
international distribution. The DVD format provides 2 ½ hours of
training in the art of judging professional boxing matches. Book
and DVD serves as the basis for seminar agendas.
Some of the highlight bouts Tommy K
worked were the first Super Middleweight Title fight for the IBF in a
bout featuring Murray Sutherland and Ernie Singletary in Atlantic
City, NJ, in March of 1984. In February of 1989in Atlantic City the
Iran Barkley and Roberto Duran bout for the WBC Middleweight title.
Also that year he judged the Tommy Hearns - Ray Leonard II bout in
Las Vegas, NV. He had Leonard ahead by 113-112. In April of 1991
Kaczmarek judged the Evander Holyfield – George Foreman title fight
in Atlantic City. In 2007 he judged the Oscar De LaHoya – Floyd
Mayweather bout in Las Vegas. He judged the Roy Jones, Jr. - Felix
Trinidad bout in MSG, NY. These are just a few of the major bouts
judged by Tommy K.
“Tommy Kaczmarek was not only one of
the finest Boxing judges I ever worked with in my entire life, he was
the finest person in all of boxing during his days in the sport.
Tommy was a gentleman from the word go. He was always a pleasure to
be around, was kind and caring. He has nothing but Hall of Fame
qualities, and he should be enshrined in Canastota. He was a great
judge and every fight he worked he did a wonderful job. I am very
proud to be a friend of Tom Kaczmarek,” said Harold Lederman.
judge Joe Pasquale I was able to do a Q&A with Kaczmarek. I have
to say “it was my pleasure talking to such a knowledgeable person
of the game”. He is a person you only wish you had met long
before this story.
KEN HISSNER: I have seen you from the
bleachers and from ringside and finally get to talk to you. Is it
true you taught Harold Lederman all he knew about judging (kidding)?
TOMMY K: Ha-Ha! Funny thing is I
never judged in the amateurs. The first professional card I worked
as a trainee Harold was working the show. If memory serves me right
we both scored fights the same. Harold’s scoring is close to
perfection and he has unbelievable pressure on him (HBO). Harold is
truly the Icon amongst boxing judges.
KEN HISSNER: What are some of the key
points to judging a fight?
TOMMY K: Concentration, focus and keep
a running score. A running score does away with a boxer trying to
“steal a round” in the last 10 seconds.
KEN HISSNER: You have judged all over
the world and Japan is probably the one you did the most title bouts
in a foreign country. Was it one of your favorites and if yes why?
TOMMY K: Yes. It’s a different
world in Japan. They have a great deal of respect for fighters,
officials and promoters.
KEN HISSNER: You did the
Hearns-Leonard II bout giving the bout to Leonard. I had it even.
It was nothing like the first fight they had. They were much older
this time. Did you see it that way?
TOMMY K: Even though Ray was down
twice he was not hurt. On the other hand he had Tommy hurt in
several rounds without scoring a knockdown.
KEN HISSNER: At 84 and approaching
your birthday in August what’s changed in boxing the most since
when you first started judging?
TOMMY K: Back in the day there
sometimes were 2 fights a night and just about every night a fight
across NJ and NY. There are too few shows today. TV took over and
eliminated a lot of live fights. In the past there were so many
more boxers and shows.
KEN HISSNER: How has the home crowd
affected you in foreign places?
TOMMY K: It shouldn’t effect a good
judge. Calling a fight against a hometown fighter will bring the
booing. I remember a story of a venue where the judges were carrying
umbrellas to ringside. I was told if the fans didn’t like the
decision they threw coins at them.
KEN HISSNER: Have you ever had or felt
you had been approached to “favor” one fighter over another?
TOMMY K: Never. There are trainers
who try to influence you by doing a lot of yelling in favor of what
their fighters may have done if the referee lets the corner continue
to get away with it.
KEN HISSNER: You have officiated and
boxed in Philadelphia. Anything stand out?
TOMMY K: I fought in Philadelphia at
the Cambria A.C. which was known as the “bucket of blood”. They
had fights almost every Tuesday night and were sold out. When I went
to go to the dressing room there was a corridor with a long bench as
your dressing room.
KEN HISSNER: You have been a member of
the WBC for several decades, and most of the championship fights that
you judged were sanctioned by the WBC. What are your thoughts on the
TOMMY K: Representing the WBC as a
judge has given me the opportunity to meet some of the finest people
on this planet, see some of the all-time great fights in locations
around the world, see displays of courage only professional boxers
can provide. At the same time, I’ve had the privilege to play an
active roll in the sport I love. Above all my association with
President Jose Sulaiman and the WBC family has had an irreplaceable
effect on my life for which I will be forever grateful.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for
taking the time for this interview. I feel like I know Tommy K
though I have yet to meet you. Is there anything you would like to
say in signing off?
TOMMY K: Boxing is a great Sport. It
needs the support of the media in a positive way. Ken, you do a
great job because you understand the sport and you know what’s
going on in the ring. Boxing needs writers to report on the fight
game unselfishly and fairly. It helps if the writer has a love for
boxing as you do.
Ken Hissner responds to all his emails at: email@example.com