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By Keith Idec

The World Boxing Association announced Thursday on its website that it intends to implement a new half-point scoring system for regional title fights it sanctions.

The Venezuela-based organization decided to move forward with this scoring initiative after its judges and rules supervisors conferred during the WBA's annual convention, held Oct. 7-12 in Chengdu, China. WBA president Gilberto Mendoza and his cohorts believe this scoring system could "revolutionize boxing by giving judges an extra tool that will help avoid draws and unfair results." They think that by granting judges opportunities to add or subtract half-points to their scorecards that judges won't be restricted to simply scoring 10-9 rounds for winners of rounds that don't include knockdowns, regardless of whether a three-minute period was dominated by one fighter or closely contested.

"At the end of the day," Mendoza said, "the final score would reflect more accurately what happened in the fight."

In theory, this an admirable pursuit, since, for instance, it could reward a boxer who wins six rounds in decisive fashion, only to lose six much more competitive rounds, with a win in a 12-rounder, rather than having him settle for a draw, despite his overall superiority. It is nice to see, too, that they're actually attempting to accomplish something constructive at these annual conventions, instead of just playing golf and collecting checks to ensure the financial well being of self-serving, greedy groups that typically do more harm than good to the sport.

Yet like most initiatives taken by sanctioning organizations, this half-point scoring system is flawed and impractical, probably to the degree that it'll prove more detrimental than helpful to boxing. Ironically enough, even if the consensus was that it provided improvement in scoring boxing, it won't be welcomed with open arms throughout the sport because there isn't one unified regulatory agency that can make its use a standard practice throughout the world. That same lack of uniformity, and the consequential lack of one structured ranking system for contenders, is the foundation for four recognized, unregulated sanctioning organizations existing. So the WBA's inevitable inability to have everyone abide by its attempt to reinvent boxing's scoring system will be a fitting consequence of it operating within the free-for-all that allows the WBA to remain a profitable business.

But bickering among the sanctioning organizations won't be the only reason this half-point scoring system will likely be about as successful as the World Boxing Council's crack at open scoring.

Ultimately, it might make scoring rounds more troublesome for judges who've already had difficulty mastering this extremely subjective science. While some judges seemingly favor the flexibility half-points could give them, they'll then have to consider during rounds whether a boxer deserves the benefit of a half-point, instead of just focusing on who won the round. Giving judges more to ponder during a round simply might take too much of their attention away from assessing the action, though that obviously isn't
the intent.

So perhaps the WBA, WBC, World Boxing Organization and International Boxing Federation should place more focus during judging workshops on how to avoid scoring 10-10 rounds, and sometimes scoring 10-8 rounds when there aren't knockdowns, in those instances when the winner literally dominates the action.

Half-points won't entirely eliminate draws, either, so even if the half-point system were implemented throughout the sport, judging boxing would still be based on punches landed, effective aggression, ring generalship and defense.

For now, the WBA is intent to use it just in regional title fights, which creates another enormous problem. You can't have one fight scored one way, and another fight scored under different rules. Either the WBA believes in this system and its supposed benefits, or it doesn't.

Affecting fighters' careers with an experiment does disservices to those that compete for WBA regional titles if the half-point plot doesn't work, or to those that fight for WBA world titles if it does improve scoring. The WBA shouldn't anticipate states that have strong boxing commissions to adhere to this trial system, either. Mendoza and Co. cannot reasonably expect commissions to score WBA fights one way and IBF fights another way.

Worse yet, it seems rather ridiculous to have the organizations largely responsible for confusion and distrust among mainstream sports fans to try to "fix" a scoring system that isn't anywhere near the top of the list of boxing's numerous problems.

Ceasing the habit of not ranking fighters in its top 15 simply because those fighters are rated in the top 15 of a rival organization would better serve the sport. And it doesn't do wonders for what's left of the WBA's credibility to look in its most recent light heavyweight rankings and not see the names Bernard Hopkins, Antonio Tarver or Glen Johnson. The WBA is also responsible for the preposterous practice of naming unified or "super" champions, along with world champions, which further confuses fans who try
to differentiate in divisions that often offer four "world" champions already.

Naming multiple champions amounts to a sanctioning scam that milks more money from fighters forced to operate within this free-for-all environment. They run similar scams at the aforementioned conventions, gatherings judges and referees feel pressured to attend for fear of losing assignments, conferences managers and promoters support simply to keep the fighters they represent in good standing with a given sanctioning body. For example, it could cost an attendee a few thousands dollars to participate in the WBO's 20th annual convention next week in Carolina, Puerto Rico, a five-day event
that essentially equates to a glorified golf outing/fundraiser.

Then again, we shouldn't expect anything less from those self-serving, greedy groups that typically do more harm than good to the sport.

Keith Idec covers boxing for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., and The Record of Hackensack, N.J.

tellin' it like it is
18,612 Posts
PrettyBoyFloyd said:
...Or we could just teach judges how to properly score fights and not let them be 80.
Some of these judges seem to be confused as it is, not they talk about 1/2 points?
great points, gentleman! :thumbsup:
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