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Sulaiman Talks Bad Judging

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wbc-logoBoxing is a unique sport, different than baseball with runs scored, football with touchdowns, basketball with baskets scored, soccer with goals scored, and so we can go with every sport where mathematics instantly show who is winning and by how much. Even in gymnastics and diving, which are subjective sports as boxing is, the judges announce their scoring after every dive and gymnastic performance. But no, in boxing there are no such ways. There are people living still in the 19th or 20th Century who object to tell athletes and the public how are they doing. Is that right? I personally believe that it is not; leaving scoring in hiding is against fairness. It may wrongly show bias and corruption, when it does not exist. It is terrible against boxers who think that they are winning, when judges have them losing. It does not belong to the 21st Century.

The great problem in boxing today, in addition to leaving the scores in hiding among very few people, are the 10-9 scoring rounds. Some commissions have the unbelievable ruling of NO even rounds, so, even rounds are 10-9. The rounds that are barely in favor of one boxer, almost even, is also 10-9. A slight difference, or a clear difference, an overwhelming difference, or even a real beating, judges also score mostly 10-9 rounds. Well, what is worse? Even with the absurdity of a knockdown, some judges have scored still a 10-9. This is a huge problem in boxing that no one has dared to touch as of today.

The WBC has tried several different approaches through the years. First it was the implementation of the 10-point must system, since back in 1963. Following it was the designation of ring officials guidelines, and the effective aggressiveness principle. Next, it was the organizing multiple clinics in different countries and at all WBC conventions. Following, we came with taking away from referees the responsibility of scoring – before 1975, referees were also one of the three judges. We also emphasized and strongly recommended the scoring of 10-8 rounds on all those that were overwhelmingly one sided, but it has not been followed – most are afraid to do it. I have been informed of a research by friends at HBO about a sensitive coverage on the gloves to detect and transmit the power of punches, and we sympathize with the idea, not as a basis, but yes as a future complement. Those gloves would score all types of rabbit punches, back punches, kidney punches, elbow or arm punches – but what about the clean punches? The Leonard and Holmes excellency in boxing? The excellent boxing not allowing the puncher to punch, or the puncher not allowing the boxer to box?

Boxing is today very far away from most developments of the 21st Century. Specifically, we have left computers back at home or the office. Everything today is with computers – my eight year-old grandchild is a master of the iPad !! Practically all done today is by computers, but not in boxing – we are still living in the 19th or 20th Century. It is because of all of the above that I have been studying, since two to three years ago with a computer specialist, a device for judges in coordination with one main computer. It will be taken to the WBC 50th Anniversary Convention in Cancun for demonstration. The key being the taking away from judges any mathematics. Leave that to the computer. The judges are still extremely important, and the only representatives of justice in the whole arena. I deeply respect and support them. But I would like them only to tell me via the judges’ device, how did he see the round? Did anyone win by a hair, slightly, clear, overwhelmingly, or by a beating? Let judges tell us how they saw a round and let the computers make the calculations – that is why they were invented. The 10-point system will continue by the computers.

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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