Ever wonder who made up all the new boxing rules? Ever wonder what group of mad scientists, network executives, accountants, do-gooders and curious onlookers sat down at a long table in a dark, smoky room and hammered out the decision that we’d have 12-round championship fights instead of 15?
Or who decided that everyone would weigh-in the day before a fight rather than the day of the fight?
What committee, mob or warped individual said it was all right to have four world champions instead of one?
The 12-round championship fight? If they had that silly rule 65 years ago, Billy Conn would have beaten Joe Louis for the heavyweight championship of the world.
Conn, a mere light-heavyweight, appeared to be on his way to a stunning upset over Louis heading into the final rounds before the Brown Bomber stopped him in the thirteenth.
Twelve rounds? Muhammad Ali would have never been floored by a Joe Frazier left hook in their first fight, one of the more memorable punches ever thrown in a heavyweight title fight. And Ali would have won the fight.
Twelve rounds? Rocky Marciano would have lost to Jersey Joe Walcott back in 1952. Instead, Marciano, who was behind on all score cards after 12 rounds, stopped Walcott with a bar-clearing right hand to the jaw in the 13th round.
So what happened to those last three championship rounds? They just slip away or did someone steal them?
The group responsible for that silly rule might tell you it’s for safety reasons, but I’m not buying it. Never have.
It’s funny, but isn’t it a little strange how a 12-round fight can fit comfortably into a 60-minute TV time slot, while a 15-round fight doesn’t?
Another nifty thing about 12 rounds. An even number makes it a little easier for a fight to finish in a draw. Fifteen rounds? Can’t split that down the middle.
How about weigh-ins? Again, the lawmakers will tell you it’s for safety reasons.
Right. And I never ran a red light.
The way it works now, a welterweight can starve himself down to a featherweight to make weight, and still come into the ring the next night as a welterweight. What if the guy he’s fighting is a natural featherweight? By the time the bell rings, he could be giving up 25 pounds. Tell me that’s safe.
On top of that, the welterweight can risk his health by getting down to featherweight, knowing he has 30 hours to get back his strength. If he has to fight the same day he weighs in, he’s not going to drop so many pounds. A smart fighter will fight at a higher, healthier weight class. He has to.
So who came up with the idea of weigh-ins the day before the fight? Hmmmm. You don’t think the promoters had something to do with it do you, a way of gaining an extra day of publicity? Weigh-in the same day as the fight and they don’t get that extra set of headlines.
How about going to five judges instead of three? Maybe the referee and four judges at ringside, one on each side of the square. Tougher to fool five judges than three. And more expensive to buy them off, if that still happens.
Why three and not five? Oh yeah. Five judges mean more expenses for the promoter. For the small-show promoter, that’s a legitimate concern. But maybe they could stay with three judges. Just bring in five for the title fights. The big promoters can afford the extra cost.
Finally, who opened the door and let in all the sanctioning bodies? How did this happen? We need to get back to one world champion.
Want to get this sport back on its feet? Go back to five championship rounds instead of two. Hold weigh-ins the same day as the fight. Go to five judges instead of three.
Finally, somehow crown one world champion instead of four. That way, a 12-year-old kid on a playground could tell you who the heavyweight champion of the world is.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?