Badou Jack and James DeGale gave fans one heck of a fight to start a much-needed big year for boxing. Personally, I had Badou Jack winning with the difference being the knockdown in the 12th but the official judges saw it differently. Judge Glenn Feldman had it 114-112 for DeGale and both Julie Lederman and Steve Weisfeld had it 113-113 which made the fight a majority draw.
This is where anti-boxing fans will say that this is another example of boxing being fixed and it is why people don’t watch it anymore blah, blah, blah. That is definitely the opinion of an untrained eye that keep get their arms around the fact that close rounds can be and are often scored differently.
Judges emphasize different things when judging who won a close round. Some will look at who landed the most punches, some will look at ring generalship and some will say who landed the more impactful punches. And, you know what? I’m ok with each and everyone one of those criteria.
It’s why fans should score fights round by round with the sound down. Then add their scorecard up and then listen to who officially won the fight. The problem is most fans use the “eye test”. This causes fans to look and say that it’s obvious a particular fighter won because in totality, that’s what their eyes tell them. That’s drastically different than scoring a fight round by round.
Another mistake some fans make in judging who won a fight is looking solely at punches landed. This fails to recognize the fact that if Fighter A won the first round by out-landing his opponent 14-7 it’s scored 10-9. If Fighter B won the second round and out-landed his opponent by 5-4 it’s 10-9. It would be 19-19 despite the fact that Fighter A would have more landed punches.
Also, you must take into account that judges are watching the fight at a single angle. This contributes to the variance in scoring close rounds. Now, there are some decisions that make you scratch your head like C.J. Ross scoring the Mayweather-Canelo fight 114-114 but for the most part, judges to an admirable job.
So before you scream that a fight is fixed be sure you can grab your pen and paper and hit the mute button on your television. It will open your eyes to the beauty of boxing’s inexact science.
Marcus “Mook” Washington is the host of Making The Cut. Follow Mook on Twitter: @mtcwithmook and IG: MTCWithMook