2017: A year of good fights, bad scoring

When the time comes and fight fans look back on 2017 as a whole, chances are pretty good they will feel the year was pretty good, overall. There are still some big fights to come in a year that has already seen its share of them, so things could get even better in terms of excellent action on display here in 2017.

However, one thing that has tarnished this year’s boxing calendar, is poor scoring by a number of judges. Of the great, good or big fights that have gone down this year – Jeff Horn-Manny Pacquiao, Antonio Margarito-Carson Jones, Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez and Joseph Parker-Hughie Fury being standout examples, a number of them had one thing in common: hugely debatable, controversial score-cards.

The 12 round decision huge Australian underdog Horn was awarded with back in July caused shock and plenty of outrage – from some fans/experts, though not all. While the more recent GGG-Alvarez draw was condemned by even more people; some of them (Teddy Atlas, who was also extremely vocal over the Horn-Pacquiao decision) stating, flat-out, how the sport is corrupt and that this fight, or its decision, proves as much.

And on Saturday night in Manchester, heavyweight titlist Joseph Parker appeared to have been pretty soundly outboxed by challenger Hughie Fury; only for Parker to escape with a majority verdict. Promoter Mick Hennessey, who is not known to overreact to all things boxing related (at least not the way Atlas does) went on record on Sunday (yesterday) as saying the decision that saw his fighter deprived of a major belt was “the worst” he has ever seen.

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In terms of this year, that distinction must be awarded to the quite disgusting robbery Carson Jones fell victim to when he travelled to Mexico to fight Antonio Margarito on September 2. Jones basically beat up the shot former champ, making him quit on his stool after the seventh-round. But, incredibly, Margarito was awarded a Technical Decision, the decision being unanimous! This one was just plain bad.

Some people, though, when looking at the other three fights listed in this article, make a case that the right man won (in the case of Horn-Pac and Parker-Fury) and that a draw was fair in the GGG-Canelo clash. But what everyone agrees with is how unfathomably wide a number of the cards handed in by certain judges have been at the conclusion of these fights.

In particular, a certain score has reared its ugly head three times this year: 118-110. Such a score suggests not only a clear winner, but a hugely dominant winner. This is the score that was handed in, in favour of Alvarez, after the big middleweight title fight showdown and it was the score that was handed in TWICE at the conclusion of the Parker-Fury fight; this time with Parker benefiting from such woefully unrealistic scoring.

No-one here is suggesting corruption (although Atlas is, as is Team-Fury) but we clearly have a problem. How can a paid official, an expert, get it so badly wrong again and again? Even in the Horn-Pacquiao fight (one that was almost stopped after the ninth-round, we must not forget, so badly hurt and under fire was eventual winner Horn) there was one particular score-card that stood out – one that had Horn winning by a whopping 117-111 margin. Indeed, the scoring of this fight caused such a controversy, the fight was re-scored by an independent panel (the panel of five again scoring Horn the winner).

But despite the problem our great sport clearly has, we fans keep coming back. There will be more bad decisions in the future (and did I miss out any from this year?) but there seems to be no solution to the issue. Boxing, somehow, continues to survive. Would any other sport stand for such obviously poor work on part of its officials?