This weekend “outrage” was the word being thrown around as Manny Pacquiao lost a split decision over Timothy Bradley. Personally I’ll watch the fight again, but upon first viewing it seemed that Pacquiao had clearly won. This was also the sentiment of the ringside announcers, as well as many of the fight fans who had tuned in and payed to watch those events.
Conspiracy theories aside, obviously there was a large misunderstanding of either the point system or what was going on in the ring. There’s the saying “don’t leave it up to the judges” but if the the Judges are unreliable what’s the point in having them. I wonder if judges are seeing everything from ringside. It’s often said the best seat in the house, is from your living room couch. So it begs to question if the judges need a type of screen system in front of them to watch from the PPV feed, and to get a secondary vantage point. I know this has been discussed in MMA fights however I do not believe it is in place.
I think it’s also fair to look at the qualifications of the judges. Now usually I find that boxing judges are normally well versed.. but I could be wrong, especially after this past weekend. Judging often is a topic in MMA fights as the sport is only around 20yrs old and there has been so many rule changes in those years. Don’t forget for the first UFC events there was no real judges. Currently there are still stories circulating of Judges asking the Judge next to them as to what the fighter is doing in the ring. It’s also pretty well debated that currently things like, takedowns are given more precedent than someone who is active on their back and attempting submissions. To a BJJ practitioner the back isn’t a big deal as they work off of their back all the time. In BJJ competitions working off the back is seen as a good thing and points are given for submission attempts. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case in MMA.
The silver lining is that people who were MMA fighters or trainers are starting to get more involved in the judging of the fight. The latest example is Ricardo Almeida. Here we have someone who is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, and has a respectable career in the world of MMA and understands the game. Personally, until you get more judges with that pedigree you will continue to run into judging controversy, as the MMA education is still lacking.
However in regards to boxing, it is difficult to say what was the reasoning this weekend, and quite honestly we probably will never know. The unfortunate aspect of this, is that more people have been turned off of boxing as the the theories of underhanded activities are spreading quickly. I seriously hope this isn’t the case, but I believe it will be some time before boxing returns to its former glory.