One of boxing’s biggest superstars has suggested testing out ‘live’ scoring in the professional game, meaning judges’ scores would be available throughout the contest.
We’ve all seen boxers take a round off because their team thinks they’re up on the cards – and we’ve all seen that turn out to be a big mistake. Perhaps it’s the intrigue of the sport that nobody really knows until the final bell has rung, or maybe it should be helped by score updates throughout the fight.
It’s been a longstanding conversation in boxing – whether this different form of scoring would be effective or just lessen the viewing experience. Anthony Joshua took to Instagram to ponder it, and suggested giving it a trial run at least at some level of the sport.
“In so many sports you know who’s winning as the game is progressing. In a sense it creates a very competitive environment. Should boxing introduce live (visible) scorecards so you know what you need to do in order to win? As there is so much boxing around the world, it can be introduced at any level to test it out.”
The WBC – ironically the only organisation Joshua hasn’t held a world title in – have a form of open scoring in which fighters and their corners are told the scores after round 4 and round 8. It’s been used around the world in various countries, however hasn’t yet been adopted as standard for all their bouts. Perhaps its most high-profile outing was for Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez versus Austin Trout, where Canelo won the WBC super welterweight belt over 12 rounds. Reaction of the scoring system was mixed to negative.
Using ‘AJ’ as an example – many fans thought that his corner in the first Oleksandr Usyk defeat was being too easy on him, refusing to give him the reality that he was way down on points. In fact, he even came out after to say that he believed he was winning the fight. In that case, his live scoring theory would’ve certainly light the fire he badly needed that night.
Another potential benefit of scorecards being available to the audience and competitors throughout could be accountability. Judges are famously under scrutinised in boxing, rarely justifying their scores to fighters or fans. Perhaps a little more pressure might not be a bad thing.
Having said all that, don’t we all love the feeling of genuinely not knowing what might happen next as the bell rings and the announcer addresses the arena to read the result?