The result of the recent Pacquiao-Bradley fight outraged the boxing fans of the world, the press, and even politicians in the U.S.A. The many damaging commentaries against boxing were unfortunate. It was certainly a bad decision – Manny Pacquiao should have never lost a fight that he so clearly won. Some are talking about investigations, but for what? It was to me nothing but a wrong appointment of one judge without enough experience for this type of fight, and one other – well-known as a good judge who, the same as any human being, just had a bad day. There is unquestionable honesty and experience in Duane Ford. The Nevada Commission? There is no doubt of the rectitude and high respectability of all of its members.
Boxing is perhaps the must subjective sport. The only score is punches thrown at high-speed from one boxer to the other that are practically impossible to count. It is also excellency in dominating the round – either by the boxer not letting the puncher score, or the puncher not allowing the boxer to excel. Because of its subjectiveness, the appointment of ring officials needs extreme care and competency. The decisive punching with power and accuracy that almost knocked down Bradley three times, like Pacquiao did, and who was clearly far superior, according to basic guidelines, against the fast glove and arm punching by Bradley, that count much less.
The main problem lies in the fact that the appointment of ring officials is no easy matter, as many think that it is just routine. The highest responsibility of a boxing commission is the right appointment of ring officials for the sake of justice and respect for the boxing fans – the appointment of ring officials is as important as being a judge in a highly competitive fight. Judges have the same mentality as boxers: they are either punchers, fine boxers, or a mixture of styles. If you appoint a judge who likes fine boxing in a fight that a puncher and a boxer are rivals, you are helping, inadvertently perhaps, the boxer. People in other countries are not happy with some, but not all, commissions in the U.S.A. disregarding the neutrality of judges. The NFL, MLB, the NBA, etc., send their own neutral officials, but not boxing.
In the old days, New York used to score by rounds won. California by 0 to 0 on even rounds and 1 to 0 on wide margins. Great Britain had a 1/4 of a point as an advantage in a round, later modified to 1/2. The amateurs had 20 for the winner an 19 or less for the loser. Today amateurs use a device that is highly criticized today – that if three out of five judges click at the same time, the boxer scores one point.
In 1963, the world got together to found the WBC and they all agreed to implement the 10-point Must system. It gives the winner of the round 10 points mandatorily, and 9 or less to the loser. It has worked for 50 years. The big problem is that judges score 10-9 for the winner of the round, regardless if it is by a slight, clear, very clear, or overwhelming difference. It practically destroys the fairness of the system. Boxer A wins slightly the first round: 10-9. Boxer B wins the second, but overwhelmingly, also 10-9. Where is justice? Judges are afraid of scoring 10-8 rounds, which they should. In any of the systems, however, it is absolutely necessary to put the appointments in the hands of competent officials, who are constantly trained and boxing-educated, and appointed not by “being my turn” or any other form, rather than for proven professionism in boxing matches.
Due to all of the above, I believe that we have allowed the 21st Century to leave boxing much behind. The invention of the computer has invaded most – if not all – systems of today, in every activity of science, medicine, industry, and even in children's entertainment and school. But scoring in boxing has remained in the 20th, or even 19th century. We at the WBC are known to be people who practice reform. Some times we have failed, while other times the reform has taken years to be applied by others. However, with the unity and similar ideals of a good number of outstanding boxing commissioners from all over the world, including many Americans, the WBC has changed the world of boxing. Many rules and actions of reform have been implemented to take the old legalized savage sport of boxing to the highest levels of safety, justice, and equal opportunities.
We at the WBC have one more plan to reform – to bring the officiating of boxing into the present times of the 21st Century. We will be bringing boxing into the computer era. We will have our judges leave the paper and pencils at home. We will present a new computerized system by having a computer devise in the hands of each of the three judges, connected to a main computer that will be adding automatically, instantly, and accurately, the information sent by the judges’ devices into the computer.
We will propose to totally change the system into clicks on buttons designating the differences
in the action, but not in numbers. We will let the judges click the buttons for: 1- very slight difference; 2- somewhat clear difference; 3- clear difference; 4- overwhelming difference; and 5- a beating. In addition to that, we will have: 6- one button for knockdowns; and 7- one other button for fouls. We will let our English speaking friends find the right name for the buttons. And I apologize and feel very sorry for the ring card girls not to take the scorecards from the judges to show their beautiful bodies to the cheers of the crowd, but we can still have them show the number of the round, as ring card girls have become a tradition in boxing.
We could still discuss, in addition, the possibility of raising the number of judges to five instead of three, not approved before because of the opposition of promoters, probably right, in not raising their total expenses.
The computer and devices will be taken for demonstration to the WBC’s 50th anniversary convention in the paradisiacal city of Cancun, Mexico, where we all will find light blue-green waters, blue skies, warming sun, traditional Mexican hospitality, and a great reunion of the nicest people in the world: the boxing family.