Last Saturday was an exceptional night of boxing for fans as they were provided with the long-awaited clash between Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis and Ryan Garcia, along with the phenomenal world title war that certainly delivered between Joe Cordina and Shavkat Rakhimov.
However, in a negative sense the weekend of boxing highlighted yet again an issue that continues to plague the sport of boxing and detrimentally affect those competing. The dilemma been boxings scoring system.
Boxers should unquestionably be able to go into a bout with the upmost trust in judging if the fight is to go the distance and fall into the judges hands, in a sport where competitors ultimately put their life on the line. This unfortunately does not seem to be the case with ‘robberies’ and poor scorecards frequently been criticised and brought to light within the boxing discourse.
Examples of controversial and poorly scored fights include Taylor VS Catterall, Pacquiao VS Bradley, Lewis VS Holyfield and the first bout between Fury and Wilder. Last weekend particularly stressed this issue with controversial scoring been identified in both elite bouts.
The first controversial piece of scoring from the weekend came from the Tank vs Garcia scorecard, with the second rounds scoring standing out as problematic. The judges scoring raised concerns as they appeared to be following different scoring criteria’s for the round.
To summarise the round in a scoring sense, Garcia suffered a knockdown to Tank in a round where Garcia was the aggressor. Garcia was floored by a calculated counter punch. Two of the scorecards for the fight read 10-9 in favour of Tank and the other read 10-10 meaning the judge saw the round as a draw.
The common opinion in the boxing discourse is that the round should have been scored 10-8 in favour of Tank, similarly to the vast majority of cases where a knockdown occurs. The WBC in their scoring criteria stress a knockdown as the clearest way to successfully win a round, with the WBC been the creators of the 10 point must system in which bouts are scored. This means that the judges do not appear to be following the criteria that they are supposed to follow which is troublesome.
The second problematic piece of scoring came from the one of the judges final score cards for the Cordina VS Rakhimov bout. It is firstly worth noting that although the fight was close, Cordina appeared to land the more accurate and precise shots which is a solid argument for him edging or winning the fight.
Cordina also clearly won the second-round while scoring a knockdown which gives him a 10-8 advantage within that round, putting him in good stead and giving him the necessary upper-hand in what was at times a close war.
The scorecards favouring Cordina read 115-112 and 114-113, with the controversial card favouring Rakhimov reading 116-111. This would mean 9 rounds to 3 were wrongfully given in favour of Rakhimov. In this particular scenario, Cordina rightfully won the bout on a split decision.
However, this does not mean that this controversial scorecard is not problematic and should not be brought to attention. If another judge were to score the bout similarly, the right man would have lost the fight. This is highly problematic for the sport and without doubt needs some form of investigation.
The judge who favoured Rakhimov also had Cordina losing the twelfth round, with this round arguably been his strongest round of the fight which was also nonsensical.
The issue with judging in boxing is that it is effectively subjective, meaning it is scored on the way the judge personally views the fight.
On the other hand, if scoring that is subjective continues to harm the sport in this way some action is going to have to take place as this Is likely to dishearten those competing, anger fans and tarnish the sport as a whole.
These scoring dilemmas indisputably identify that a clear universal scoring criteria needs to be put in place.