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Using Technology to Improve Boxing

Being a boxing judge can be a thankless endeavor where attention is received only when something controversial and/or negative occurs.—The Author

Both rugby codes and cricket use extra officials in the stands and world No.1 Roger Federer has been won over by the Hawk-Eye system in tennis—Daily Mirro

Use of Monitors

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The arguments rage on to improve the quality of judging, but aside from recommendations from Jim Lampley and the ever–emotional Teddy Atlas, there have been few solid suggestions.  Moreover, some of the boxing judges seem to be in denial.  Veteran judge Dave Moretti says “You have people who are concentrating for three minutes, looking at nothing but the gloves, nothing but the punches. These other people are judging from TV, they’re judging from twenty rows back and they don’t see the effect of the punches all the time.”

Maybe so, but I submit that people who are watching the fight on a monitor have a much better vantage point. TV announcers use monitors and there is absolutely no reason why the judges could not use them. As a boxing aficionado recently pointed out to me:

“The view the judges get is in no way as good as the view provided to those who watch on television. Judges often get blocked by the referee, and often by the back of a fighter who is working an opponent on the far side ropes nearly a decade past the moment when football and basketball have chosen to follow suit, boxing still won’t give ringside judges a monitor to refer to for a cleaner view. That step would cost practically nothing. Give the judges a small monitor with a clean feed—no commentary, no graphics, just the video—and give them at least a fighting chance to be on the same page with viewers who continue to lose confidence in them.”

Pod Index

The people at Pod Index.org have created a great way to track the consistency of each judge and break down how often each judge agrees with the others on a round-by-round basis. (see: http://theboxingtribune.com/2014/12/the-pod-index-a-step-in-the-right-direction/

This methodology, along with the use of monitors and instant replay (see below), can help to close the gap on subjectivity. It might also ease the notion that being a boxing judge can be a thankless endeavor where attention is received only when something controversial and/or negative occurs resulting in a reverse halo effect situation.

Use of Instant Replay

You have to make those decisions right there, on the spot, by using instant replay. I have no problem making on-the-spot decisions. That’s what leadership is all about. If a referee makes a mistake, he should be overruled. It’s only fair to the fighters.”Most fighters only get one major opportunity, especially a world title fight. If a guy is fighting for a world title and loses, he might never get another shot. It would really be a shame if a referee makes a mistake and costs a fighter a chance at a victory. We have an opportunity to do something about that in boxing and we should—Larry Hazzard-NorthJersey.com (November 8, 2014)

Also see: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mma-cagewriter/instant-replay-to-return-to-new-jersey-mma-this-saturday-192336823.html

Instant replay inexplicably has rarely been utilized but it would minimize, if not eliminate some of the mystery associated with knockdowns vs. slips, accidental fouls vs. intentional fouls, if a cut was the result of a legal strike or a head butt, or whether or not a blow occurred before the bell rang, particularly when the issues are called in the late rounds and can turn the fight..

Hall of Fame member Hazzard feels that the use of instant replay will put boxing at the level of the four major sports when it comes to getting the calls right.

Let’s help get Boxing into the Technology Age. Instead of tearing down the sport, let’s improve it.

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