Shortly after taking office, President Barack Obama created the Ministry for the Improvement of Sport, an organization with no authority whatsoever besides the ability to bitch and moan about everything it finds wrong in the sporting world. From time to time, MIS develops findings on various problems and releases them on a random blog with a stupid pun for a name that no one reads. This is that blog.
This week’s discussion, Boxing’s out-dated scoring system.
Imagine that you’re watching the BCS title game — the last bastion of purity in sport (hey, who do you think pays the MIS bills?) — and you hear the commentators say the following: ”Ladies and gentlemen, Oklahoma and LSU have played each other to a deadlock here in the Chuck E. Cheese BCS National Championship Game. We don’t know what the actual score is, but we’ve all been making up numbers in our heads as the game has gone along, and the general consensus is that it’s pretty even. So that means we’ll decide the winner by time of possession! Tigers win!”
Crazy, right? Well, boxing isn’t too far from that.
As Saturday night’s fight progressed between Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao (seen here in one of their previous, also highly controversial fights), you heard analysts say things like, “In a round where the punches are even, you start to look at overall aggressiveness and ring generalship.”
Yes, ring generalship, the measure of how badass the guy looks trotting around in his shiny shorts.
Boxing has two main ways of crowning a winner. One is crystal clear: a knockout. Hard to argue against that (though I kind of have).
The second method falls to judges…and things like ring generalship.
MIS’ extensive research has discovered that the goal of boxing is to punch the other dude in and about the face and torso. Therefore, the winner should be the man who does that the most, and there’s an easy way to measure it.
At the end of the Marquez-Pacquiao fight, HBO showed the results from its punch-tracking software. Pacquiao was far ahead, and he landed a ton of blows to Marquez’s face. Looking at that, it’s hard to argue that he didn’t deserve to win the game where the object is to punch the other person.
Others, notably Marquez, say the Mexican deserved to win because he fought a smarter fight. He landed a higher percentage of punches and was able to go from heavy underdog to a virtual deadlock with Pacquiao, who’s considered the best in the world.
So what is this sport about? Punching the other guy or a bunch of superfluous nonsense? LeBron James looked way cooler than Dirk Nowitzki in the NBA Finals, but unfortunately the wins and eventual title went to the team with more points.
For argument’s sake. let’s say boxing is indeed about punching people, because if it isn’t, it’s figure skating, but with more blood and Hispanic men instead of hot Russian chicks.
With modern technology at our side, we shouldn’t need to abide by the sport’s current, out-dated scoring system. Punch the other guy more times and you win. Shots to the face are worth more, knockdowns are a bonus, there are point deductions for head-butts and the like, and added points are given based on the force of punches. MIS is convinced that punch force can be accurately measured. Hell, we hear ESPN’s Sports Science is going to break down the velocity of Andrew Luck‘s piss this April, so we could probably get them on it.
Next, we take that data, add weight for the location and force of the punches, and you have a score. We’ll send our friends from the BCS right over to develop the computer formula.
And along with that, we’re adding scoreboards!
That way, egos will no longer stand in the way of a good fight. On Saturday, Marquez’s trainer was too proud to tell him he might actually be losing. Therefore, Marquez fought defensively to protect a lead that didn’t exist. The American sports fan was jobbed out of some shots to the face, and Marquez was duped out of a chance to win.
With scoreboards on display in the arena that show our new, objective scores, this problem is solved. In the event of a tie, the fighters will continue on, round by round, until someone is ahead. They will know exactly where they stand at all times, and there is no room for complaining about the results.
In a way, the current system is good for boxing. The sport is all about hype, bravado and ego, and having a setup where you can lose but still claim you won feeds that fire. And of course, “true” boxing fans would disagree vehemently with these suggestions that take some of “the art” and “spirit” out of the sport.
Well, we here at MIS are not true boxing fans. We only watch fights that accompany HBO’s 24/7, then get angry and write blog posts.
But as time goes on, boxing will have fewer and fewer true fans unless something changes, and our proposed system would lead to two things that would be wildly beneficial to the sport:
More punches, and undisputed champions.
Isn’t that what we want?
Get involved with MIS! Join us this Wednesday when we kidnap Floyd Mayweather, fly him to the Philippines, and make him fight his way out.