Is the scoring system in boxing broke as hell or what?

By all accounts, except for 2 of the 3 ring side judges, Pac easily beat Bradley last night.

And when he fought Marquez most people thought he clearly lost but the ringside judges didn’t see it that way.

Is there anyway to modernize what seems to be the antiquated (and corrupt) scoring system for boxing? Any way to use technology to make it less subjective? Like maybe the judges are in a room with a bunch of static monitors showing every angle throughout the fight instead of sitting ringside with all the noise and mayhem. Maybe they click a box or hit a button for each point awarded and the system captures frames to go with each point. I dunno. There needs to be accountability thats for sure.

This sport is holding on by the finest of threads and fights like last night don’t help it any.

Something similar to what you describe is already used in amateur boxing.

I don’t know how likely this is to get implemented in pro events.

We could do that, just let Compubox determine the winner of the fight or use a system like they use in Olympic boxing where judges keep an electronic tally of clean punches landed and whoever lands the most punches at the end of the round wins it. The problem with that is that it misses the intangibles like who’s controlling the ring better and who’s hitting harder. For example, even if Bradley had landed more punches than Pacquiao (which he didn’t), he wasn’t hurting him, while Pacquiao was outmatching Bradley on power and hurting him a lot more with every punch. The judging system works well enough when it isn’t marred by incompetent judging or corruption, but unfortunately it’s hard to see how last nights result wasn’t the product of one or the other.

Forgot to add: one of the funnier criticisms I’ve heard on electronic scoring came from an Olympic boxer who lost a fight shortly after they implemented the new system. A reporter asked him what he would have done differently, and he dryly answered “I would have hit him twelve more times.”

It has to be incompetence. There is literally no upshot for a conspiracy to rob pacquaio.

This fight result has just left me very confused. Like Willcross said, I can’t really imagine what the benefit of rigging the fight for Bradley would be. But how could the judges chosen for one of the biggest fights of the year be that incompetent?

I’m just very very confused and fear for the future of professional boxing.

A lot of the folks claiming corruption are saying the fix was for the rematch. With Mayweather ducking indefinitely, people aren’t super excited about watching Pacquiao mow down whoever the next guy in line is, but the rematch is going to bank. It seems unlikely, but it’s hard to explain those scores by mere incompetence - blind people could have scored that fight by listening to Pac’s glove hitting Bradley’s face.

Oh, wonderful. More spam.


Or another thought that just crossed my mind is a private bettor perhaps? A Filipino gang lord or something, I don’t know.
Even Arum seemed flabbergasted that there might have been foul play and he wasn’t invited. Or maybe he was and that’s just his way of trying to confuse us.
The mind boggles…

I disagree. The upshot could be to encourage Pacquiao to accept a fight with Mayweather under Mayweather’s terms, IOW, Pacquiao having to accept less than a 50/50 split of the purse.

There is no denying that Mayweather has his hooks all up in the business side of boxing, and could theoretically exert influence to get his way. There is A LOT of money for a lot of people on the line with regards to a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight. That would be the biggest fight to happen in a long time, and would generate megabux.

I’m not saying that this definitely explains last night’s baffling decision - just that’s it’s a distinct possibility. Pacquiao’s loss makes it a lot easier for that fight to ultimately happen under Mayweather’s terms - maybe after Mayweather easily snatches Pacquiao’s belt away from Bradley.

Oh, just read that Pacquiao had a rematch clause with a preset date of Nov. 10. So scratch the bit about Mayweather fighting Bradley first. Still, that rematch itself is motive. Rematches after controversial decisions always generate lots of publicity and attention. People want to watch and see justice be served. That is, if people don’t get too jaded by boxing’s shenanigans.

Hey now, guys.

I mean, c’mon…isn’t rigged matches and corruption a part of the sport? You can’t just eliminate that without ruining the sport?

This is an absurd, manufactured controversy. I think Pacquiao won the fight, but it was much closer than the way the HBO commentators called it. Sure, we all know Pacman hits much harder than Bradley, so he must have won every round right? Uh, then why couldn’t Pacquiao knock Bradley down or out? And he dominated every round right? How did he do that when he didn’t bother to fight 2/3 of the time?

The judges are supposed to judge the rounds based on what they see happening, not what they think might be happening. If Bradley gets hit and keeps on coming, then Pacquiao’s punches weren’t all that effective. And counting punches is a stupid way to score, and has already ruined amateur boxing. Boxers know that they have to clearly win rounds or knock their opponent out to win a fight. If you try to win with a small edge in each round, you leave yourself to the whims of the judges. Boxing needs to get rid of the foolhardy attempts to improve scoring. The worst problem now is avoiding draws in rounds. The judges are asked to pick a winner for each round. They’re told that no matter how close a round is, they should try to pick one fighter over another. In other words, use your prejudice and bias to pick a winner when neither fighter has done enough to win a round. Luckily we didn’t run into the Sugar Ray Leonard rule, where you give a fighter you like an extra point for no reason. You claim he was so dominant in the round it was the equivalent of a knockdown, but you never explain how someone who so greatly dominates over the course of an entire round can’t knock a fighter off his feet.

This was nothing but a typical bad boxing decision resulting from judges trying to apply conflicting and ambiguous standards to scoring, which provides fighters an incentive to do as little as possible and hope the judges flip a coin that lands in their favor.

And I gotta say, if Pacquiao was fighting Mayweather last Saturday, he would have lost badly. Pacman may still want that fight for the money, but we may start to see Pacquiao become the guy who is ducking the fight. I expect Floyd to get out of jail and start pushing for this fight big time. He should be pretty confident that he’ll win now. He’s faster than Bradley, and hits harder. Pacquiao will leave that fight a bloody mess.

How do you figure “fighting 2/3 of the time”? Pacquiao landed more jabs and almost twice the number of power punches Bradley did, overall landed literally about 100 more punches than Bradley. He also hurt Bradley worse. Bradley was clearly hurt by body blows and rocked and unsteady on his feet by several times in the fight, and Pacquiao never was. As far as knockdowns, consider this: Bradely was rocked by a punch in the 6th round, and staggered back into the ropes but never fell. According to the scorecards of the two judges who gave the fight to Bradley, if Bradley had been knocked down for the count that round he still would have won the fight. If Bradley had been knocked down for the count in both the 3rd and 6th rounds, those two judges would have scored the fight a draw. Even the score of the judge who gave the fight to Pacquiao was questionable in how close it was. I had at a maximum that Bradley won the 10th and 12th, but even if you gave all of the close rounds to Bradley, Pacquiao should have won. It just wasn’t a close fight.

The fact that Bradley never went down is a testament to both his chin and his heart, but fighters have a saying that “chin” and “heart” are polite ways of saying “gets hit a lot.” I’ll agree there’s no question that a fighter who doesn’t want to be robbed should take it out of the judge’s hands with a KO, but the fact that he didn’t doesn’t make it any less of a robbery. If Bradley had won legit I’d be the first one on my feet cheering for him, but he just plain didn’t.

I didn’t think Bradley won the fight myself, but it was closer than the way it was called. Your characterizations of the effects of a few punches isn’t really relevant. Individual punches don’t make a round. There are 3 minutes, and the judges should look askance at a fighter who lets 2 minutes go by before throwing punches. Judges have seen the ‘stealing the round’ act plenty of times now and don’t fall for it. Good judges don’t fall for the idea of scoring in favor of the most exciting or entertaining boxer either. For most of that fight there was no clear evidence that Pacquiao’s punches were more effective than Bradley’s were. We all think they must have been, and that Bradley though outgunned was one tough SOB. But we don’t know that. What we know is that only in a few rounds did Pacman’s punching slow down Bradley. It’s not fair judging to just assume Pacquiao’s punches were harder and give him the round on that basis.

It’s a run of the mill bad decision in boxing, nothing extraordinary.

I’ll try to get this point across: It was a lousy fight. Both fighters sucked. Neither did enough to win a championship fight. Both guys spent more time avoiding fighting than doing any. It’s boxing, not ballet. If you want to win, go out there and keep throwing punches. You have to take the risk of getting knocked out. Subconciously that may have affected the judges. Bradley at least took the risks, while Pacquiao never had any substantial risk at all. This and Bradley’s toughness may have affected the judges opinions of weak rounds when they had to find a winner. A boxer should only be given a round when he is a clear winner, not when the judges compare apples and oranges and have come up with a decision based on their personal tastes.

That’s the old scoring system. In fact, since at least 1972, amateur boxing judging has always been based solely on “how many ‘effective’ punches did each boxer throw?” - at least that’s how it was supposed to work. (The quick version: whoever threw the most “scoring” punches in a round got 20 points; the other boxer got 20 minus 1/3 of the difference in the punch count.) The problem was, too many judges were using “professional” scoring (e.g. taking things like “ring control” into account), politics, and/or “home country bias” into account. A number of USA boxers got the benefit of the doubt in 1984, but it was probably the Roy Jones Jr. gold medal fight in 1988 that was the last straw.

The revised system had problems of its own - just ask Eric Griffin in 1992, where all five judges scored him as throwing more punches, but because they weren’t “in sync” with each other, he lost in an early round fight.

The new system works like this: in each round, for each boxer, take the five judges’ scores; compare the “low three”, the “middle three”, and the “high three”, and use the ones where the average is closest to whichever of the highest or lowest of the three is farthest away (e.g. for 5,6,10, the average is 7; 7-5=2, and 10-7=3, so the “range” is 3); the average of that set of three numbers is the boxer’s score for that round.

As for using it in professional boxing, that will never happen; among other things, amateur rules do not have the “unwritten rule” where you get a point for a knockdown (e.g. a 10-9 round becomes a 10-8 round). For that matter, it shouldn’t happen; the reason you have the “punch count” rule in amateur boxing is so there’s something resembling a non-arbitrary way to decide the winner.

If you ask me, judging may be bad, but it beats the only viable alternatives: either do what professional wrestling does, and call it a draw if neither fighter is knocked out by the end (but then you get shades of Chavez-Taylor), or have them keep fighting until there’s a winner (“if the fight didn’t go 75 rounds, we demanded our nickel back!” - note that back then, a knockdown ended a round, even if a fighter took a knee intentionally).

We do know that Pacquiao hit harder than Bradley - we saw it. There’s no need to assume anything about the power of Pacquiao’s punches, you could see the power he was throwing with by their effect on Bradley. Fighters try hard to not show when they’re hurt, and Bradley couldn’t do it. Bradley crumpled repeatedly from body blows, and you could see him rocked repeatedly by headshots. Even if you totally discount power, Pacquiao won by every other measure. He was faster, landed more jabs, landed more power shots, he moved forward more, and controlled the ring better, which is why nearly every other judge watching the fight Bradley winning three rounds at most. I’ve judged fights where I questioned myself afterwards about individual rounds, where two fighters were very evenly matched and I had to give the round to the fighter who moved forward more or controlled the ring better, but there weren’t nearly enough rounds like that in this fight to make it a close match.

I only disagree as a matter of degree. Not all of Pacquiao’s punches had that affect. Bradley was making it hard for him. In the middle rounds Bradley took it hard. Before and after that Bradley was doing better (better than the middle rounds, I’ll repeat that I believe Pacquiao won). Pacquiao also took off the last three rounds of the fight. According to one of the HBO guys, out of the three judges, only 1 gave Pacquiao a round. I’d agree with that if there were a lot of even rounds called.

I’d personally prefer to see scoring based solely on effective punching. With cumulative effective punching in the round being the way to measure it, not who had the one biggest punch. That still leaves room for disagreement, but I don’t like the idea of considering ineffective punching, aggression, ring generalship, or defense as a basis for scoring. And you can measure effectiveness by looking at the boxer being hit, and what happens to him. Wincing means nothing. If he stops punching, backs up, holds on, runs, punches are effective. If he starts taking more punches and delivering less, the punching has been effective. But it’s easy to get fooled by looking at the guy throwing the punches. Ray Leonard was very skilled at making the punches he threw look effective, even if they missed. Judges were often just looking at him and not the poor sucker fighting him. There may have been some of that happening in this fight.

I think I had the fight 6-3-3 for Pacquiao at the end. The shocking decision kind of made me forget the mental scorecard I was keeping. Split decisions with this kind of swing are common in boxing for various reasons. In this case it doesn’t have to be a fix, or incompetent judges, it could just be the vague standard for scoring rounds and the tweaking that goes on for image. Remember that a lot of people were complaining about Pacman’s fight with Marquez. If Bradley had the flashy style of Marquez, there’d be less controversy (although Bradley did get hit more often). There have been many worse decisions, more often fixes than incompetence. If I managed a fighter, I’d never let them fight in a Goosen promotion. Professional wrestling is less rigged than their fights. But Arum didn’t rig this fight. He’s losing a much more lucrative Mayweather deal for this one. I suppose gamblers could have been involved, they’re the ones who benefit from an upset. I don’t know how much authority the state of Nevada has over bookies, but their records would show any unusual activity associated with a fix. So I’m just chalking this up to the weak standard of scoring, and the fact that judges are often all over the place, but it doesn’t matter because usually the right guy dominates, and wins.

Boxing is fake.

Yes. But fake what?