As video assistant refereeing still serves to anger fans on a weekly basis in the footballing world, there’s talks to bring it into boxing.
When first introduced, Sky Sports found that 67% of football fans found VAR to be making the game less enjoyable. Although there has been improvements since then, controversies still arise, even as recently and significantly as the World Cup.
The VAR boxing talk was recently brought up by promoter Ben Shalom, born partly from the backlash received after Josh Taylor was awarded a victory over Jack Catterall in a fight the majority of fans, pundits, and fighters called the other way.
At the time, Shalom said on the Sky Sports broadcast that he was ’embarrassed’ by the judges’ decision, and is keen to ensure nothing similar happens in the rematch set for March.
Johnny Nelson, former cruiserweight champion and now Sky pundit, supports the idea of the video system, but questioned how the speed of decision making would work in terms boxing’s 60 second breaks between rounds. He discussed the development with Boxing Social.
“I hope we do, but you’ve got one minute to either make or change a decision, or by the end of the fight if a point’s been deducted.
If I’m a fighter and a point’s been taken off, I don’t know how fast or how effective the VAR would be in regards to making a decision and getting that message relayed to the fighter to change his mindset mid fight.
So, yes, I think it could be done.”
Asked about the problems we see in football with VAR, Nelson pointed out that the flaw was with those using it rather than the system itself.
“That’s human error. It’s not VAR. It’s decision making and how it’s handled. So VAR is working.”
Finally, the former fighter offered another solution to the scoring of bouts that many fans will be in support of – proper accountability for judges and referees.
“It’s very, very simple in regards to wrong decisions – and that is the one that’s judged the fight, get him to sit down in front of a camera and explain … That way there will be less people willing to make such outrageous scorings.”