August 22, 2012
According to a report by Gabriel F. Cordero of Fightnews, the World Boxing Association (WBA) is attempting to cut down on controversial decisions by implementing a new type of scoring system. The WBA says it wants to keep the 10-point must system, but will be introducing decimals or fractions into it. For example, while a boxing judge currently has the option of scoring a round 10-10, 10-9, 10-8 and so on, they’ll now be able to score them 10-9.5, 10-9, and 10-8.5 etc.
What this basically does is allow judges to score a clear round win 10-9 for a boxer and a closer round at 10-9.5. It means half points can be given. But how it will cut down on controversial decisions is unclear. If the judging is incompetent to begin with it doesn’t really matter if you’re using a 10-point or five-point must system to judge bouts. In fact it could actually create even more controversy.
The WBA said it’s using the new system already in some of its Latin-American based fights and it might soon make its way to North America and Europe. WBA boss Gilberto Mendoza said several countries have agreed to try it out in the near future and it’s possible that a more official decision on the system may be formalized at the boxing organization’s convention in Indonesia later in the year.
The two most well-known systems used in the past were the five-point must and the round systems. Also, referees used to judge the bouts and in some nations were actually the sole judge. The five-point system is more or less the same as the 10-point method except the winner of the round must be awarded five points instead of 10.
However, if boxing wants to rid itself of scandalous decisions it needs to develop better judges or implement a virtual foolproof system. The round method of scoring doesn’t work since you can win seven extremely close rounds while being beaten all over the ring in the other five and having your hand raised after the contest as the winner.
The Olympic system isn’t really much better either. You can win a round by a 10-5 score and then lose the next two rounds 10-9 and win the fight even though you only won one round. This generally creates more controversy.
An open scoring system has been tried in the past in which the judges’ scorecards are made public after certain rounds of the fight. This could very well be the best answer as a boxer will know if he’s getting shafted by the scoring during the fight. At least he’ll have an opportunity to do something about it as it’s too late when you don’t find out the official scoring until the bout’s over.
One thing that should be rectified in the current system is the way knockdowns are handled. A judge should have the power to score the knockdown or not regardless of the referee’s decision. This is because there are some legitimate knockdowns that aren’t called and vice-versa. If a judge thinks the referee has made a mistake in calling a knockdown then he shouldn’t score it. The way it stands now, anybody who scores a knockdown generally wins the round 10-8.
Currently, a boxer can win 12 close rounds and deservedly win a decision, but it could be a shutout at 120-108. On the other hand, a fighter can dominate a bout and just pull out a close split decision because he may have had one bad round in which he was dropped a couple of times. One of the main problems is that judges are being trained to try and avoid scoring rounds even at 10-10. However, this forces them to make a decision and they often make the wrong choice and award the round to the fighter the majority of viewers thought lost it. Scoring all rounds 10-10 isn’t a bad idea and then just give a dominant winner the extra point.
The proposed half-point system might improve things a little bit as it’s hard to imagine them being any worse than they are now. But when it comes down to it, the number of points a round-winner and loser is given, isn’t going to eradicate bad decisions. Perhaps the best thing to do is simply ask the three judges to mark down which boxer they thought won the fight when the bell rings to end it.