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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (improving the scoring system, accepting losses)

Reymart Gaballo (R) won a controversial split-decision over Emmanuel Rodriguez in December. Would more judges or a 20-point must system help to rid the sport of poor scorecards? Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime
12
Feb

TIME FOR A NEW POINTS/JUDGING SYSTEM?

Doug,

I hope that you’re doing well and staying healthy. Thank you for the fantastic mailbag – it’s always a treat!

Mailbag questions:



  1. What do you think of a 20-point must system for rounds? I wondered if it’d add more granularity to the scoring – maybe judges would be more inclined to give a 20-18 round to a guy who dominated but didn’t score a knockdown than they are to give a 10-8 round to a guy under the same circumstances. It also might make judges less inclined to give draw rounds (though I imagine that’s pretty rare).
  2. I’ve been reading the Breadman’s mailbag for a bit now (you recommended it in one of your mailbags. Thank you for doing so – it’s fantastic!) and he mentioned the idea of having five judges instead of three, with four of the judges on the four sides of the ring and the fifth judge in an isolated room without sound. Seems like a neat idea – balances out perspectives, maybe reduces the impact of one really inaccurate scorecard. Aside from having to schedule and pay more referees, it seems like a win for just about everybody involved. What do you think of the idea and its feasibility?
  3. Mythical matchups: I’ve been thinking about Carlos Monzon vs. Joe Calzaghe. Monzon wouldn’t have the size advantage that he enjoyed versus Jose Napoles and Emile Griffith (not meaning to diminish his wins against those guys), and this would be a really interesting contrast of styles. Maybe this is crazy, but I think Joe might outhustle Monzon for a win. I don’t think Monzon knocks him out (Joe has a solid chin and seems like he can adjust his style if he’s in trouble), and if not, he’s got to win rounds (obviously). How do you see it? Also, how do you see them against these great light heavyweights: Ezzard Charles, Bob Foster, Michael Spinks? Not meaning to set Monzon and Calzaghe up for disaster, I’m just curious how successfully they could weight hop against all time greats.

Again, thank you for the mailbag – it’s a twice weekly gift to look forward to! – Pat

Thank you for the kind words, Pat.

Monzon vs. Calzaghe, eh? That’s not a mythical matchup I get very often (if ever). It involves two rugged, indefatigable technicians that I have a lot of respect for (and if you follow my mythical matchup opinions, you’ll note that I seldom envision these two losing).

I view the 1950-1952 version of Sugar Ray Robinson as the best middleweight ever, but Carlos Monzon is a close second in my mind; the fearsome Argentine was certainly more consistent at the weight once he entered his prime. (After a going 17-3-1, with 15 KOs, plus one No Contest, after the first two years of his pro career, 1963-1964, Monzon was unbeaten for 78 fights, from 1965-1977.) Yes, record-setting title reign included defenses against two faded “little guys” (Griffith twice and Napoles), but it also included brilliant fellow hall of famer Nino Benvenuti, prime “Bad” Bennie Briscoe and brutal-punching Rodrigo Valdez and these guys were not old or pipsqueaks.

And as I’ve stated before, I view Roy Jones Jr. as the best super middleweight ever, but Calzaghe is arguably the greatest 168-pounder ever based on his accomplishments, dominance and longevity. I think you make very good points in your Calzaghe-Monzon analysis. I’d go with Calzaghe on points (close UD or MD) if the matchup took place at super middleweight (and I think Monzon would carry 168 pounds well given his rangy, broad-shouldered 6-foot frame). However, if we’re talking about middleweight, I’d have to go with Monzon on points. I can’t envision Calzaghe being at his best after boiling down to 160 pounds for the weigh-in, even if it was a previous day weigh-in.

What do you think of a 20-point must system for rounds? I’m OK with it, but I don’t think the 10-point must system is “broken” or “flawed.” I don’t think there’s a big problem with the scoring system in professional boxing. The problem is in the judge-selection and education process. We need better judges, especially those who are assigned to world-level bouts. We need new blood, we need better continuing education and mentoring for inexperienced judges, and we need more accountability from the those who do a poor job. And I think all of this reform starts with the commissions. Until we get this reform, it won’t matter if the sport uses a 5-point, 10-point, 20-point or just rounds-won system, we’ll still get poor judging and controversial scorecards and decisions.

It also might make judges less inclined to give draw rounds (though I imagine that’s pretty rare). I’m OK with the occasional even round. It happens. Sometimes nobody has the upper hand after three minutes.

I’ve been reading the Breadman’s mailbag for a bit now (you recommended it in one of your mailbags. Thank you for doing so – it’s fantastic!) and he mentioned the idea of having five judges instead of three, with four of the judges on the four sides of the ring and the fifth judge in an isolated room without sound. What do you think of the idea and its feasibility? Like you, I think it’s a “neat idea.” I’d be an interested observer if a commission experimented with this five-judge setup. However, I wouldn’t expect controversial decisions to disappear if all the commissions worldwide suddenly adopted the new system. Why? Because we have the same old officials, judges like Don Trella and John McKaie, who scored the Emmanuel Rodriguez-Reymart Gaballo bout for Gaballo, who was outclasses.

There’s no way Lewis Ritson should have had his hand raised after getting schooled by Miguel Vazquez, but that’s what happened. Photo courtesy of Sky Sports

Or Terry O’Connor, who somehow scored the Lewis Ritson-Miguel Vazquez fight for the ineffective Ritson by a 117-111 margin. Or Frank Lombardi, who came up with a ridiculous 118-110 scorecard for our man “Rolly” when Rolando Romero was clearly outboxed by Jackson Marinez. In the cases of O’Connor and Lombardi, they not only scored it for the wrong guys, they had the fighter who was outclassed/outboxed winning WIDE! There’s too many pro judges – including veterans – who don’t know what they are looking at. They need to be held accountable when the f__k up (and I’m talking about being suspended and not getting paid for the bouts they botch). They need to re-trained for a significant period of time until they can prove that they know what they’re looking at. And if they can’t, they don’t need to be judges. Having more blind MFs sitting around the ring (or one in a quiet room) isn’t going to change anything if there are too many incompetent officials.

I love the concept of instant replay in boxing, but as we saw with the Joshua Franco-Andrew Moloney rematch, technological advances are only as good as the people in charge of it, and in this case, it was a waste of time because the referee (Russell Mora) sucked, and the two officials working the monitor (review official Robert Byrd and executive director Bob Bennett) refused to hold him accountable for his screw up.   

 

DEONTAY WILDER

Dear Doug,

Long time reader and subscriber (Steve Farhood was the editor when I discovered the greatness of this boxing rag). Just wanted to write-in and say that I love the mailbag. Was curious your opinion on a couple of things since actual fights are still thin right now.

First, I have a been a fan of Deontay Wilder for a long time but since his outlandish behavior after his last fight with Tyson Fury it has been hard to defend the former champ. The excuse of the costume, egg weight and Breland spiking his water are so far-fetched that any reasonable fan sees this as fodder in trying to create a false narrative that Fury did not kick his ass fairly. I think Wilder losing for the first time has clearly raddled him. The fact that Fury V. Wilder 3 did not occur with a rematch clause in place tells you a lot. With you being an insider was curious if knew anything the public hasn’t seen because he looks like he is falling apart. Kind of reminds me of Tyson after being beaten by Buster Douglas.

Was also curious if you think the perception of needing to be undefeated to get big fights will wane anytime soon? To me this is one of the biggest things hurting our sport right now. I understand that if you can pretty much guarantee a win, get paid handsomely, and avoid a fighter you know has a legit chance of clipping you why wouldn’t you.  However, I also believe this will hurt any modern fighters’ chances of being considered one of the all-time greats. For me all my favorite fighters took loses but it only made me love them more when they came back. It is the one area I believe MMA is clearly better than boxing. Being defeated happens if you constantly fight people that are at the peak of their powers or near them. Strange that this disconnect exists in boxing even with recently bias of Mayweather going undefeated and retiring 50-0. This is especially vexing when you consider that if you asked boxing fans to name their favorites the majority have taken loses.

I have one mythical matchup. Money V. Sweet Pea. The boxing IQ of these two have always made me wonder what would have happened. I believe Sweet Pea would have won by decision. I also don’t think either would gain significant advantages over one another depending on what weight they would have fought at.

Stay safe. Cheers. – Grant

I think Whitaker was a more complete boxer, busier and a gutsier competitor than Mayweather, so I definitely envision Pea outpointing the welterweight version of Floyd. However, the 130-135-pound “Pretty Boy” version of Mayweather is very live against the lightweight version of Whitaker in my opinion. I still lean toward Whitaker via close, maybe split nod, but I won’t argue too much with anyone that favors Mayweather.

I have a been a fan of Deontay Wilder for a long time but since his outlandish behavior after his last fight with Tyson Fury it has been hard to defend the former champ. You shouldn’t be trying to defend him at this point if you’re a real fan of his (and not a wannabe cultist with a YouTube channel). You should be hoping and praying that he gets the psychological help that he needs.

The costume looks swell, but helped usher him to defeat, Wilder insists. (Photo by Mikey Williams for Top Rank)

The excuse of the costume, egg weight and Breland spiking his water are so far-fetched that any reasonable fan sees this as fodder in trying to create a false narrative that Fury did not kick his ass fairly. I was willing to give him a pass on the Black Megatron cosplay excuse. He spat that nonsense out right after a shocking defeat and he certainly isn’t the first fighter to come up with crazy excuses and theories as to why he lost to someone he didn’t think would whup him. George Foreman couldn’t immediately accept his loss to Muhammad Ali. Big George claimed everything from a fast count to poisoned water to being distracted by seeing a friend of his in the crowd cheering for Ali. In time, and it took some years, Foreman was able to accept losing to the better man that night in Kinshasa. Hopefully, time will eventually heal Wilder’s psychological/emotional wounds and he can move on with his career and/or life. But for now, he’s lost me with all of this ongoing negative slander aimed at Tyson Fury, Mark Breland, and even referee Kenny Bayless.

I think Wilder losing for the first time has clearly raddled him. Some competitors just can’t handle losing. As much as I respect Vasiliy Lomachenko, he really came off like an a__hole after losing to Teofimo Lopez. I’ve got added respect for elite boxers who can take their losses with grace, dignity and humility, and then come back. Anthony Joshua did this after getting shocked by Andy Ruiz Jr. A lot of people (including Wilder) s__t on AJ after that loss. Some continue to s__t on him because they’re miserable #salty bastards, but I think the way he dealt with that setback showed the kind of character that will carry him to more heights in this brutal sport and in life.

The fact that Fury V. Wilder 3 did not occur with a rematch clause in place tells you a lot. Even without the pandemic mucking things up, I think that fight/promotion would have been an ugly disaster from start to finish due to all the s__t and slander Wilder has flung at Fury and the Nevada Commission (assuming the fight returned to Vegas). Wilder would have to field endless questions from the media on all that BS, which would just add to his anxiety and angst. Plus, there’d probably be some set-trippin’ at the media events and in the arena on fight night. No thank you.

Order the Frazier-Ali 50th Anniversary Special Issue now from the Ring Shop.

With you being an insider was curious if knew anything the public hasn’t seen because he looks like he is falling apart. I have ZERO inside information on Wilder. And if I knew somebody who knew what was up with him I wouldn’t bother asking. I’m leaving all that crazy s__t alone. There are much brighter things for me to focus on. The Ring turns 99 on Monday. Our Frazier-Ali 50th anniversary special goes on sale on February 23. We’re working on the next issue (which features Ryan Garcia on the cover) AND a special edition celebrating Sugar Ray Robinson simultaneously. Canelo returns at the end of the month (perhaps the first for four fights this year). Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Roman Gonzalez, the rematch eight and half years in the making, FINALLY goes down on March 13! Come on, bro, I’ll pay attention to Wilder when he’s got a fight scheduled.

Kind of reminds me of Tyson after being beaten by Buster Douglas. No, Wilder is way worse. Tyson was distraught and disillusioned, but Don King was more delusional (with his fast count claim) than the fighter was. Mike was back in the ring (vs. amateur rival Henry Tillman) four months after his first loss. He fit in a second comeback fight, vs. Alex Stewart, before the end of the year (1990). He scored first-round KO in both comeback bouts and then went after a top contender (and legit threat) Razor Rudduck in 1991.  

Was also curious if you think the perception of needing to be undefeated to get big fights will wane anytime soon? I honestly think a lot of fighters are over it, but networks (and to a lesser extent the promoters) are still enamored by the mystique of an unbeaten record. And as much as fans bitch about modern boxers’ unwillingness to take risks, most of them turn their backs on a fighter after he or she suffers more than one loss.

To me this is one of the biggest things hurting our sport right now. Yeah, it’s up there with the promotional/platform factions not working together (and the two ills are connected).

I understand that if you can pretty much guarantee a win, get paid handsomely, and avoid a fighter you know has a legit chance of clipping you why wouldn’t you. I understand it too, but I don’t find it very compelling as a fan or member of the media.

Bernard Hopkins was knocked out of the ring by Joe Smith Jr. in Round 8 of their fight on Dec. 17, 2016, but the grand old man of boxing had his moments during the fight. Photo by Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos / GBP

However, I also believe this will hurt any modern fighters’ chances of being considered one of the all-time greats. Yup. That’s why I call Bernard Hopkins the last of the great fighters. He continued to take risky fights in his mid-to-late 40s. He won some, he lost some, and he ultimately got KTFO (of the damn ring!), but commanded attention and respect as he built a legendary legacy.

For me all my favorite fighters took loses but it only made me love them more when they came back. It is the one area I believe MMA is clearly better than boxing. I’m not an MMA fan but I totally agree.

This is especially vexing when you consider that if you asked boxing fans to name their favorites the majority have taken loses. Yeah, but the majority of those same fans still take to social media and comment sections to piss on fighters they hate immediately after that fighter loses, and even more are prone to jumping off the bandwagon of a fighter they were previously into after that fighter loses for the first time. The attitudes among boxing hardcore heads needs to change.

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s or Dougie’s Periscope every Sunday.

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