Scoring in Professional Boxing and a time for a change
Boxing is probably the largest fringe sport in the UK and holds a similar place in many many countries all over the world.
British boxing is going through possibly the best time it has ever had with so much talent.
We have never had so many good world class boxers. The UK has always had world class fighters but never in such abundance. The reasons for that are many and for discussion at another time.
The ways professional boxing is scored has changed a few times over the decades. Judges are trained and there are different thoughts on how to determine who has won the round.
The 10 ‘must’ system isn’t perfect but it is the best one we have. The winner of the round is awarded 10 points and the loser 9 or less depending on how dominant or if there was a knock down or a foul.
A common opinion among fans is the aggressive boxer who holds the centre of the ring wins the round but this depends very much on the defensive skills of the boxer on the outside of the ring, two good examples of this are Muhammad Ali vs Cleveland Williams and recently Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk.
Great debates and discussions still go on with boxing historians and fans regarding Sugar Ray Leonard eye catching punches in the last 30 seconds of the rounds and being on the back foot for most of the early part of the rounds against a very come forward aggressive Marvellous Marvin Hagler. It was a split decision. Judge Lou Filippo had it 115 -113 in favour of Marvin and Jose Juan Guerra and Dave Moretti had it 110- 118 and 113- 115 respectively for Ray. I was lucky enough to meet and be introduced to Lou in Manila many years ago and discuss the fight.
So it is clear fights can be close and people can weight different things aggression, accuracy, skills numbers or punches thrown and landed. We are very lucky that we have many good judges and bad decisions are rare at the top level.
Having referees judging fights doesn’t now happen at top level and there is an argument it shouldn’t happen at any level. The referee’s job is so important, adding scoring is a burden too far in my opinion.
The World Boxing Council is always looking for evidence based, new and novel ways to improve the sport. I think they came up with an amazing simple idea which many fans and boxers are denied.
That is open scoring, in what other sport do you not know the result before the end.
Imagine if the scores were not announced in tennis, cricket, football baseball. It would be ridiculous.
I believe the fighter has the right to know where he is in the fight at round 4 and 8, many after every round.
We see the commentators give unofficial scores to the public, shouldn’t the boxer and the corner know?
Maybe Anthony Joshua thought he was doing better than he was against Usyk. There are so many cases of boxers continuing with a tactic because the corner think they are winning.
There are arguments against this, It could affect the crowd if their fighter is loosing. Some fighters may get despondent or it could prevent one fighter from going for a knock out. All of these I see as false objections and a case of human nature not wanting to change what is seen as working.
The truth is the fighter has the right to know and we now have the technology to do it. Some believe it would change the sport and make it far more transparent. I agree.
The WBC is doing this in some countries around the world but not in the UK.