For quite a while, the boxing world held its breath in anticipation of a Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao fight happening, like all the money that bout would generate could hide all the other, bigger problems the sport is facing. Now that there’s no chance of it every happening, maybe some can move on to deal with the more serious issues.
This isn’t the only problem, but the public’s lack of belief in the scoring system and the results judges give to fights, like the Pacquiao vs Bradley fight as the best example (among many), where judges, hopefully not paid off or directed to score it in some way, simply see it in a completely different version of what the fans in the arena and those at home watching saw. It’s weird that about 95% of the people scoring that fight gave it, by miles, to Pacquiao, while the judges saw a completely different version of the fight.
There is also weird incompetence by officials – what happened (in my opinion) in the Amir Khan – Lamont Peterson fight, with Khan being deducted points for shoving (???) while Peterson kept lunging at him with his head. There’s also the case of a lesser known fight between Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko (their first fight), with Mares continuously using low blows to get his way, even getting a count from the referee on one of them.
And there’s corruption. The most recent case being the weird occurunce of the Sonny Bill Williams (a much better Rugby player than he is boxer) vs Francois Botha, with the fight suddenly becoming a 10 rounder instead of 12; according to some, the decision was made before the fight, but Botha wasn’t aware of it. In any case, Botha tested positive for to banned substances Phentermine and Benzodiazepine ,another problem.
So, what is there to do? First off, do something with the judges. Scoring can’t be such a problem at the end of every fight. If there would be a way to get judges to be elevated from their usual very low and view-obstructed seats near the ring, we’re pretty sure they’d be able to see and score fights better. The best view, however, is the TV view. Why not simply give them monitors to watch?
About the officials in the ring? Video review. It works in football, in Rugby, in basketball. Why not use it in Boxing as well? Sports don’t need to deny change just because of tradition. Making mistakes in name of tradition isn’t helping the sport. Just take soccer as an example. Every point deduction or disqualification should be reviewed by video replay.
Then there’s the really big problems – the different governing and sanctioning body, and the hold promoters have over the sport. There’s no problem for a promoter to get the fighter he wants to win the W, with both of the fighters coming from his stable, simply by moving the fight to a more corrupt jurisdiction, where matters of PEDs and hometown decisions are swept under the rug.
Solutions? Scrapping the regional and state commissions, instead putting everything under one national commission. Nationalizing everything, from officiating, to the judges and scoring, to the testing and even rankings. The IBO does a good job with computerized rankings, the rest should follow suit, and get challengers and titlists more deserving fights. More importantly, give fans better fights.
There are other issues – too many divisions, and too many title belts, with a WBA “Super”, WBA “regular”, interim title belts and diamond title belts for many of the weight classes. Forcing fighters and champions to fight a number of times a year and against a certain level of fighters, which connects to the computerized rankings system, would also help the sport become a little more legitamte in the eyes of those who are giving up on it.