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Sun, May. 25th, 2008, 01:50 am

After having watched at least one obviously fixed boxing match, and several more which made for just plain bad television, I have a big question about the scoring. Why on earth aren't the judges forced to give their scores after every round? In most cases fixing a bout requires outlandish enough scoring that the judge has to retroactively go back and change their scores on earlier rounds to come up with something even vaguely plausible, and having them commit to earlier round scores would end that practice completely. If the ringside announcers can give a score immediately after every round, there's no reason why the judges can't as well. Hell, my own vague judgments of 'I think I saw X' tend to hit the average of the judge's score better than the individual judges generally do. That's another big issue with boxing scoring - the judges's scores have such high variance that the claim that the winner of a close bout is anything other than arbitrary and subjective is quite ludicrous. Figuring skating is worse, but that's indicative of the situation in figure skating being beyond ludicrous.

On the subject of boxing, I have a suggested rules change which would spare boxers most of the brain damage they now sustain: When you're knocked out, you lose. None of this waiting until the count of ten to see if you can pull yourself together and get up and continue to have your brains scrambled. If you hit the mat and can't get up instantaneously, that means your brain has sustained serious injury and taking any further punishment is extremely dangerous. Other martial arts, including ones with tons of striking, have nowhere near the record of brain injury that boxing does, and the reason is hardly a secret - in those sports, if you're knocked out, you lose.

Sun, May. 25th, 2008 10:18 am (UTC)

Olympic boxing is very different and safer.
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Mon, May. 26th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)

+1 obvious!

Sun, May. 25th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)

You seem to be confused. Professional boxing isn't a fair and honest sport. It's a money-making scheme.

Sun, May. 25th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)

I imagine the knockout thing is partly because the original rules of boxing were much worse. The current (Queensberry) rules are practically a paragon of humanity compared to what went before -- ten whole seconds to get up, rather than getting kicked while you're down? Awesome! I do not have the impression that other sports are recovering from quite the same history of brutality, although they might be -- I hardly know anything about this except for the few hours of research on boxing that I did, as it happens, yesterday afternoon.

Also, I venture to guess that the biggest reason boxing rules are so horrible is that no one in the business really cares about changing them. Most of the audience seems drawn to the bloodshed, and the boxers themselves have both resigned themselves to their bodily sacrifice and somewhat glorify it. There's a really interesting Q&A by Loïc Wacquant, the French boxer-sociologist, available here: [ ]
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Sun, May. 25th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)

Hiding the score creates the drama of the final score reveal, but makes the last round or two far duller than they ought to be. How interesting would you find the fourth quarter of a basketball game if you didn't know the score at the end of the third?

Any idea why there's so much less bleeding in MMA? They seem to use little glove-like things on their hands these days, which makes their hands get cut open less, but their faces seem to get cut open a lot less as well, and I'm not sure why.
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Sun, May. 25th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)

Your classification of heart vs. brains and skills might be a little off - Gatti learned how to actually box later, quite well in fact, and probably wouldn't have been able to win a belt without it. And Ali was renowned for his iron chin, which is probably a big part of why his brains are so scrambled now.

Tue, May. 27th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC)

With the small pads in MMA, there is significantly less bone to bone contact, reducing face splits and removing almost entirely knuckle splits. Also, at the start of fights, you'll notice that they grease up the faces of MMA fighters (I haven't watched a boxing match in years, so I don't know if they do the same thing with boxing), which reduces abrasion-based skin tearing.