Judges in Boxing – Something Needs to Change
By Niall Doran
In what has been a great year for the sport of boxing globally overall in 2013, with big fights that fans genuinely want to see getting made left right and centre it seems, the issue of judging in boxing continues to arise almost like an annoying wasp whizzing around your sandwiches at a picnic.
This frustrating and pestering problem reared its ugly head yet again at the weekend in the catch weight showdown in California that featured Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Brian Vera. Although the fight was relatively close (I had Vera winning the fight be two rounds) and in most people’s eyes Vera won the fight, the real scandal was found yet again in some of the score cards that were tallied with ridiculous amount of favour given to Chavez with two judges card’s reading 98-92 and 97-93 for Jr. You have to wonder what these judges were really looking at and if this incompetency is being checked up on a regular basis by the relevant governing authorities.
Only a couple of weeks ago the sport was brought almost into disrepute when a female judge CJ Ross incredibly scored the sports biggest fight of the year a draw between Floyd Mayweather against Canelo Alvarez. Ross has taken a sort of self imposed early retirement from boxing judging following the huge amount of flack she came in for her decision, to which she initially quite miraculously stood by. Since that she has done a bit of a u-turn on that stance and stood down from judging fights.
But where is the real problem here? A lot of people lean towards the corruption argument. But for me, I genuinely think some of it is down to purely gross incompetence to be honest.
This problem is not just limited to the big fights in America either. It has cropped up countless times in the UK, Germany and other countries around the world too, both at an amateur and professional level.
I mean there’s nothing wrong with someone giving a fight to one guy over another when it’s close and really it could go either way. But when the vast majority of fans, viewers, commentators and people within the industry can clearly see that one guy has without a shadow of a doubt distinctly beaten another guy and still a judge finds a way to give it to the other guy – questions need to be asked to bring the issue to the forefront to accelerate the problem’s solution.
I think the problem first needs to be addressed in the States, as lets be honest that is where by far the majority of big time boxing currently takes places within the professional ranks. An example must be set from the top. I did hear recently that one of the more well known athletic commissions who are responsible for regulating the sport in the US, were supposedly in the begging stages of overhauling the current system that is in place for things like selection of judges, training of judges, etc. This needs to be hurried along in my opinion a little bit more lively!
I always tend to think if they could encourage more ex fighters to take the odd judging job every now and then, that it could have a real positive impact overall. Even if you brought in ex fighters to educate the judges in the training process for example. Judges would then have a chance to see first hand how an expert in the field of boxing accesses judging criteria in a professional fight. Even getting more boxing coaches involved in the training process could really prove a worthwhile exercise in helping train up judges.
Anyway, lets hope that the powers that be start addressing this annoying part of the sport in a more radical and aggressive way sometime soon.
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