BOXERS, especially the challengers, are always told “not to leave the fight at the hands of the judges.”
It means to go for a knockout, or kiss that win goodbye.
Why is there such a verdict as a split decision in boxing, where judges write down contrasting scores? Or why is it that judges sometimes score the bout completely opposite the more popular views of the general audience, which had witnessed the same fight?
Major boxing organizations continuously find ways to improve scoring and judging in the sport that is arguably the richest in terms of terms of prize money awarded to an individual athlete.
The World Boxing Council is embarking on a new scoring system that is seen to make an impact in creating a more credible judging process in the sport.
At the forefront of this system is Honolulu-based Hubert Minn, chairman of the World Boxing Council ring officials.
“When I see a bout that reflects scores like 117-111 for (fighter) A, 116-112 for A and 116-112 for B, this is an example where obviously, the officials evaluating the action view the fight in a completely opposite manner and that doesn’t necessarily mean the majority of judges are correct,” observed Minn, an educator and businessman outside of the sport.
Inside it, Minn sat as a judge in more than 50 world title fights and has worked closely with veteran New Zealand referee Bruce Mctavish, now based in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Boxing is the sport close to Minn’s heart as his father, Herbert was also an IBF and WBC referee, judge, trainer, coach manager and promoter, and a Hall of Fame awardee at the University of Hawaii.
The father-and-son tandem promoted at least 10 big fights in Hawaii, hand in hand with the late Filipino promoter Lope “Papa” Sarreal. Minn was also privileged to witness in person the famous “Thrilla in Manila” fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
A frequent visitor to the Philippines, Minn will again be in the country as a resource speaker during the Orient Pacific Boxing Federation Convention’s referee-judge seminars for ring officials in March in Bacolod City.
The Standard Sports recently talked with Minn and zeroed in on his thoughts about the 3D Theory in judging a boxing bout.
The Standard: How come is a boxing fight is scored differently by judges?
Minn: Because these type of scores in boxing does nothing to help the credibility of the officials. Is it the difficulty of the styles – boxer versus puncher? Or is there some bias with officials or is it the scoring criteria itself that has created much of the variations that need to be examined.
TS: What is Hubert Minn’s 3D Theory in judging a boxing fight?
M: In the world of Quality Management Principles, the term quality factor aligned with an operation definition is usually mandatory for quality standards to succeed. As an example, let’s use the word clean as a quality factor. Now, we need to define the operational definition of clean as your “clean” is different from mine and others.
What I’m alluding to is if you look and review the scoring criteria for the sport of boxing, the definitions are not all the same for all the sanctioning bodies. So, how can we get the consistency in scoring unless the operation definitions are all consistent, clearer, less ambiguous, and easier to understand, thus improving your ability to score a round properly?
TS: Who helped you developed this idea?
M: Along comes Mr. Barry Linderman from North Carolina, USA. With his ideas that uses specific words that reflect the scoring criteria in an easier to understand manner and this was exactly the “software” that was necessary to use in my “hardware,” thus we collaborated and discussed and worked on this for over a year before it became a reality.
TS: The 3D system was recently recognized as the official scoring system by the WBC? How do you feel about this?
M: We carefully rolled out a short version at the 2014 WBC Convention officials seminar in Las Vegas with many Hall of Fame officials attending.
The reaction was great as we had many officials indicate that this was good stuff and they would like to have more information shared with them.
I did more trials with this in the USA, Philippines and China and it seemed to be very popular in helping evaluate the scoring criteria in an easier and understandable manner so we rolled it out its entirety at the 2015 WBC Convention in Kunming, China in November, and with the (WBC) president and the board of governors present, it was very well received by everyone.
As for the WBC recognizing it as its official scoring system, the WBC has always been recognized as one of the top organizations in attempting to constantly improve boxing in various areas.
But I would caution you that this is not a finished product as we constantly and continuously work on improving the product.
TS: Do you think this new system will really work with less variation now in scoring boxing matches?
M: The only way to find out is use it and see the date results over a period of time versus others that don’t.
In the end, it’s the hand that moves the pen, it’s the archer not the bow, it starts from the shaft up.
In other words, the quality and the commitment from the officials himself is what will deter variation, no matter what tool you offer, it’s always going to be the official who’s the most important factor.
TS: What do you think are the most important features of this system that will really revolutionize boxing’s scoring system?
M: I won’t take much time to go into details regarding the theory other than we simply aligned criteria with new words and definition. Example is the tradition definition of clean punching defined as “the number of direct, clean punches delivered with the knuckle part of the closed glove on any part of the scoring zone of the opponent’s body above the belt line.” This definition focuses more on “mechanics.”
My proposal for a more detailed definition of “clean punching ” focuses on “Effective Punching.”
The 3D theory is landing punches to the scoring area of your opponent with power, number and accuracy so as to cause DAMAGE, DOMINANCE and DISRUPTION to your opponent.
But also realize that boxing has been and still is one of the traditional sports in the world and it takes a lot of changed rules, etc. But in other sport, if you notice, they are constantly changing things in order to improve and provide more appeal—like the three-point shot in basketball.
We need to consider doing the same and if a new concept will help an official to score the bout properly and more effectively. Why not, especially when this is, I believe, the most difficult sports in the world to judge.
TS:What are the traits or skills set one needs to become an effective boxing judge?
M: Integrity, intelligence, commitment, courage and one thick skin as you better be able to take criticism from everyone.
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