There were so much allusions about the punch stats in the split-decision victory by Manny Pacquiao over Keith Thurman on Sunday in Las Vegas that netted for the boxing senator the WBA welterweight crown.
Compubox numbers show that Thurman, outpunched Pacquiao, 210-195, making the former look like the more efficient fighter.
So why did Pacquiao get the win despite “inferior” statistics? His first-round knockdown was a good investment with a 10-8 score. Pacquiao unleashed fewer, but more damaging punches that put Thurman in trouble several times.
In professional boxing, the number of punches does not hold water nor merit a discussion as to the outcome of the boxing match.
In fact, the number of punches thrown and landed only matters in the old scoring system of the international amateur boxing match.
It was an old scoring where at least three of the five judges should pinch the electronic clickers all at the same time for a boxer to score a point.
This method was eventually abandoned by the international federation of boxing (AIBA) because it renders the matches so mechanical and boring. AIBA now follows the same 10-point-must system scoring of pro boxing.
Do the math
Going back to pro boxing, the fight is scored per round by three judges. Per round, not according to the total number of punches.
Consider this example.
Fighter A who vastly dominated an opponent in say, Round One, 25-6, and we’re talking about just clean punches, gets 10-9.
In the second round, fighter B came back more aggressively and slightly out-punched fighter B, 14-10. Fighter B gets a 10-9 round.
Fighter B again took Round Three after a very close fight and let’s put their punch stats at 10-8.
After three rounds, fighter A has better punchstats, 44-30. But fighter B is ahead in the judges’ score cards, 2 rounds to 1.
And in scoring a round, multiple punches that do not really affect an opponent, however clean and efficiently delivered, can be easily nullified by a single or a couple of hits that clearly slow down, cause physical damage or put an opponent in serious trouble.
Again, it will show that a fighter that landed more hits, via punch stats, does not necessarily win the round.
Where am I coming from? I was an active boxing judge for several world boxing bodies for three years before I temporarily stopped for personal reasons.
We were trained by highly touted boxing officials in professional judging principles anchored on three Ds—defense, domination and damage.