The Case for Computerized Scoring in Professional Boxing

A better option to questionable judging calls?

Technology has been incorporated into many sporting codes over the last two decades – the NFL, cricket, rugby & even football (soccer) have all either trialed or fully incorporated versions of television replay based over-site of  officials calls. Boxing, of course has long utilized computer scoring in the amateur ranks – with the technology first being used at Olympic level at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

nelson mandela boxing

Was Nelson Mandela prepared for the injustices he'd face in later life by ringside judges of the ilk of those who scored, say, Lara vs Williams?

It is no coincidence, one suspects, that the 92 Barcelona Games were the first after the most controversial case of patent cheating on the part of judges in Seoul in 1988 which saw Roy Jones Junior robbed of a well deserved gold medal. Great injustice led to a revolution of sorts within the amateur tiers of the sport – good came from bad.

Recent and not so recent examples of fighters having well deserved victories – as they tend to be after 10 or 12 rounds of effort – and even world titles taken from there are plentiful. Is, the sport, though in need of a truly high profile instance of injustice on the judges scorecards to regain an appetite for improving the competitive integrity of the sporting code at the highest levels of the profession? I tend to think not – Lennox Lewis vs Evander Holyfield I was a heavyweight unification bout & probably one of the last significant heavyweight matchups – the “robbing” of the British/Canadian Lewis followed the now well trodden formula… Outrageous decision by the judges; outrage by the fighter’s camp; outrage by the media… event is largely forgotten.

scorecard pacquiao marquez II

Pacquiao vs Marquez II: And we go to the scorecards.

Vested interests, corruption & dodgy dealings behind the scenes all have a long and unfortunate association with the sport – and the higher the level of the game; the more money that’s involved – the more underhanded these sorts of shenanigans tend to become.

There are, of course, several issues with entrusting the profession to a system of 0’s and 1’s – not least of all the perception that a loss of the human touch/authenticity will follow; the obvious association with the more pitter-patter amateur version of the sport & a loss of the thrill of a close decision going to the scorecards and the tension that goes with it adding to the enormity of the spectacle.

Matt Hamilton,


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