An Alternative To The 10-Point Must System

BY Frank Lotierzo ON July 14, 2003

When watching a fight, what are the scenarios that can occur during a round in which a knockout or stoppage doesn't occur? Basically, there are three, 1.) a fighter can be awarded the round by the slightest of margins over his opponent in a round that there wasn't much separating them, 2.) a fighter can totally dominate the opponent from start to finish, but not knock him down. 3.) a fighter can totally overwhelm his opponent in the round scoring one or more knockdowns. The only other scenario's that are likely to take place is both fighters putting each other down in the round, or one fighter dominates the round and gets dropped at the end of the round. Regardless of the scoring system, the last two settings are left up to the discretion of the judges in as to how they score the round.

The Gatti-Ward third fight and Mayorga-Forrest rematch were perfect examples as to why the scoring system should be changed. There were more than a few rounds that they won overwhelmingly with out scoring a knock down. They were scored 10-9, under the system I purpose, they would've been scored 2-0. This provides a much better indication as to what transpired during the round.

The Problem With The 10-point must

The problem with the 10 point scoring system is, the range of 10 points is to wide. And further more, it's never used properly in judging the rounds. Most of the time rounds are scored 10-9 or 10-8 if a knockdown happens in the round. It's very rare to see a round scored 10-7, although it has happened. For the most part we usually see a two point variance at the most, with three points being the exception. Another problem with the current 10-point system is, each fighter starts out with 10 points and can only lose them during the round. Wouldn't it make more sense for the fighters to have to earn the points they are awarded? With the way boxing is scored today, fighter A can win round one by a slim margin and have it scored 10-9 in his favor. On the other hand, fighter B can win round two convincingly without putting fighter A down, yet the round is scored 10-9 also. I find fault with that, why should the fight be 19-19 after two rounds when fighter B has clearly had the upper hand?

Change The Scoring System

Let's change the system from a 10-point must to a system that only has a three point variance to fit the three scenarios that occur in a round. By weighing the rounds it makes them more important, instead of every round being scored 10-9 unless there is a knockdown.

A one point round -- fighter A and fighter B engage in a round that neither has a decided advantage. However fighter A is busier through the last half of the round and has the edge. Instead of scoring this round 10-9, score it 1-0.

A two point round -- This is a round which see's fighter B have a decided advantage throughout the entire round but hasn't scored a knockdown. In this round there is no doubt that fighter B has completely controlled the round. Under the 10-point must, this round would be scored 10-9. I say score it 2-0 since fighter B has won the round without question. Since there is no question about the round, shouldn't the dominant fighter be rewarded !

A three point round -- In this round, fighter A completely dominates scoring a knockdown or multiple knockdowns. This is a round that under the current system would be scored 10-8. I say score this round 3-0, which is more reflective of what took place in the round. Again, the dominance should be rewarded.

This scoring system rewards the fighter who is in control and who's being the more effective fighter. I hate seeing every round scored 10-9 unless there is a knockdown. Under the current system one fighter can win six rounds by a slight margin, and the other fighter can win six rounds overwhelmingly with out scoring a knockdown and the fight would be scored 114-114 a draw. Is that reflective as to who was the better fighter over the course of the fight?

Under the three point system the fight would most likely be scored 12-6, which is a more accurate indication on what occurred during the bout. This system also keeps a fighter in the hunt to win a decision despite losing some close early rounds. An example would be fighter A winning the first seven rounds narrowly, under the current system he could win the decision by just fighting just enough to keep from getting stopped since he can only lose five rounds by just hanging in. By scoring the fight under the three point system, the fighter who won the first seven rounds narrowly would be up 7-0. However, with five rounds left the fighter who is behind can still capture the decision if he really comes on in the last five rounds to completely dominate the action. This is a scenario that has occurred quite often, where one fighter jumps out early winning the rounds by a close margin and is positioned to win the decision unless he's stopped. The three point system takes that luxury away. This would also make for better fights since winning rounds convincingly would be rewarded.

In a scenario where one fighter controls a majority of the round but, gets knocked down at the end of the round, the same principles would apply as in the 10-point must system. The round most likely would be scored even. If fighter A controls two minutes of the round and is dropped at the end of it by fighter B, this is even as far as I'm concerned. The knockdown shouldn't negate a fighter winning a majority of the round, nor should the knockdown be negated because the fighter scoring the knockdown lost a majority of the round. If both fighters score knockdowns in the same round, this would be even, unless one fighter scored more than one. This system makes perfect sense since we never see more than a two point difference a majority of the time. Why have a 10-point system when in all actuality it can't be implemented. I say encourage the fighters to show their skill and reward them for doing so. At the same time, make them earn the points. Start the round 0-0 instead of 10-10!

Writers Note

No scoring system is perfect, especially when it comes to scoring something as subjective as boxing. However I believe this system has the potential to be extremely effective once the kinks are worked out. I favor a system that rewards the fighter who dominates and takes charge in the bout, and I believe that it should be encouraged. What's wrong with weighing the rounds in a fashion that is realistic and can be applied accordingly. That cannot be said about the current 10-point system that is currently applied. One possible problem with this system, it may make it more difficult for the powers that be to manipulate the judges and the scoring?

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