Convicted Artist Magazine

May 27th
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boxing_ring_02The open scoring debate is one with two very powerful arguments.  On the one hand, scores being known might lead to the practice of “coasting”.  This entails sitting on a lead that one has accumulated.  On the other hand, the participants and crowd knows the score in every other sport, so why not boxing?  No one complains about the coasting that takes place then.  

I’ll admit, at first I did not like open scoring.  I believed the complaints after fights like Samuel Peter vs. Vitali Klitschko, and O’Neill Bell vs. Jean-Marc Mormeck 2.  These were two fights said to have been affected by open scoring.  However, upon further examination, I feel this practice is actually a good thing for boxing, provided some additional changes be made.

For one thing, Mormeck may have slightly let up the charge once he knew he was ahead against O’Neill Bell.  However, these two warriors gave us 18 incredible rounds.  So what if the last 4 were only B+ in action.  They are entitled.  Besides, as I said, knowing you are ahead is a part of any sport.  Imagine the Superbowl being decided because a team sat on the ball believing to be ahead, only to realize after it was too late that they were not.  It kind of makes the rules we’ve been so accustomed to look asinine.

Furthermore, did anyone really need to see Samuel Peter take 4 more rounds of punishment against Vitali Klitschko?  Did anyone really need to see the scores to know what was happening.  Sure, the open scoring may have affected which round Peter quit after, but more than likely it simply helped a hopeless cause to be abandoned sooner.  Open scoring does need a few changes, however.

Instead of announcing to the crowd every 4 rounds, simply post them on a scoreboard somewhere in the arena, after each round.  The twice a fight pause is more damaging than anything.  If we are to know the score beforehand, let us know it all along, all night long.  This may post a problem for smaller ball-room cards, but maybe those beauties could actually carry vital information on giant cards, instead of rounds.  The practice of holding a sign with the round on it is merely symbolic, useless, and no one is looking at the round number anyway.  In addition, every-round notifications means no new math for different distances in fights.

Also, while I feel too many people have access to judges after a match, before results are announced, there should be one or two commissioners who do have access, should a judge’s scorecard be way out of line.  Officials may argue that scrutiny during the heat of battle will prevent them from doing their job correctly.  However, if they are being scrutinized heavily, chances are they are not doing their job correctly in the first place.

During the fight is a perfect time for someone not paid by the promoter, who is also responsible for officials' licensing to get involved.  If a basketball referee or baseball umpire is screwing up, everyone knows it as the game progresses, and they still are held responsible for straightening out the mess in the heat of the contest.  Maybe boxing would still be involved in the mainstream of sports, if we adopted more of their rules.

Chris Strait

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