Back in them good ol’ days, before politicians, newspaper writers, and preachers started sticking their dirty noses into the manly art of fighting, two guys would go out to the woods, fight without gloves or any of that other sissy stuff, and duke it out until one, or perhaps both, could no longer continue.
That bare knuckle era, where rounds ended with a knockdown but fights ended only with a finish, was replaced by the twentieth century with the more civilized approach we have today. Politicians now directly regulate the sport of professional boxing, there are all sorts of rules and regulations, and a scoring system is in place since you can no longer have those old-fashioned finish fights.
The politicians, in their boundless empathy for humanity, have also given us what they call rules of war. You can no longer use such nasty tactics as torture or poison gasses, and instead have to be content with the more humane love taps of carpet bombing and nuclear weapons. Gas chambers, car bombings, genocide, and the like today draw the ire of these politicians, so long, of course, as they are only used by their enemies.
Now that boxing is so civilized and gentlemanly, we are running into one scoring controversy after another in major fights virtually every week. Last week, as we discussed in a previous thread, it was the apparent robbery of Glen Johnson in his April 12 fight with Chad Dawson. Now we have a new controversy arising from Joe Calzaghe’s split decision victory over Bernard Hopkins April 19.
While Calzaghe’s win was hardly a robbery and many people who watched that fight believe that Calzaghe may have eked out a decision and won the boxing match under the civilized scoring of the unified rules of boxing, it was Hopkins who won the fight. Calzaghe may have set a CompuBox record by landing the most punches ever against Hopkins in any of the 43-year-old’s previous fights, but few did much damage and many were just slapping blows with little impact.
So what do we want, fighting or boxing? Is this current scoring system on the way to reducing boxing to becoming a symbolic contest, like fencing, or, worse, Olympic boxing? How do we balance these contradictory imperatives of having a fight while making sure it is supposedly reasonably safe? And how do we alter this scoring system with which no one is satisfied and yields on an almost weekly basis bad decisions in major fights?
Cleaning out the obvious political influence in the care and feeding of judges is one thing. But when so many unbiased and educated observers regularly disagree about who really won these fights, then the subjectivity of the scoring system must be examined, and the parameters of how to score must be changed.
Or, we could just let the boys slug it out till only one of them is left standing. Maybe we can let the politicians fine tune the return to finish fights by trying it out themselves before inflicting this upon the boxers. Then again, maybe they have never become half as civilized as boxing is today.
Labels: Bernard Hopkins, boxing, Chad Dawson, Eddie Goldman, Glen Johnson, Joe Calzaghe