By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
What didn’t happen?
By Tom Donelson
Here is a question, why doesn’t boxing use replays to help referees? Take the recent ESPN Friday night between Lonnie Smith and Cornelius Lock. Lock won the first three round easily and looked like he was ready to add the fourth round to his column when Smith’s feet got tangled up with Lock’s feet; sending Lock to the canvas. The referee declared the slipa knockdown and in boxing, we are talking a 10-8 round. The very next round, Smith threw a haymaker which Lock blocked but once again, Lock went down due to his feet tangling with Smith. Again, Smith was rewarded a knockdown and again, Smith received a 10-8 round.
The good news is that Lock won the other rounds easily enough to walk away with a decision but if a few rounds were closer, we may have seen another robbery as far as the judges’ scorecard is concern. Certainly for televised fights, replay should be used to prevent mistakes from happening. The replays can be used in particular for knockdowns, to ensure a knockdown did occur or looking to see if a cut was caused by an accidental head butt or a punch. Last thing one wants to see on a televised fight is a scorecard affected by a mistake.
Mistakes happen and sometimes the referee is not in a position to make the right call and the beauty of boxing is that you have one minute between rounds for the replay monitor let the referee know a mistake was made and then referee can notify the corners and judges that indeed a slip occurred and score accordingly.
While the Lock-Smith was not affected by the scoring mistakes, the recent Sergio Martinez-Martin Murray Middleweight championship fight saw a critical mistake when the referee called what should have been a knockdown a slip in the tenth round. In a close bout and with Martin coming on strong in the second half of the fight, this would have changed the momentum of the final two rounds and possibly the scoring as Martin would have received his second 10-8 round. Instead Martinez escaped with a decision in his backyard to maintain his championship.
There is no excuse for any major sport not to use replay when available. Baseball has been resistant in using replay and bad calls simply are allowed to stand. In some cases, bad calls have meant the difference in the outcome of games.
Adding replay to boxing will ensure that scoring is more accurate and outcomes of bout are not determined by mistakes and even the best of referees will make mistakes. Mistakes are part of sports but they should not be the deciding factor when deciding who won and who lost.