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Farcical and Shameless Olympic Boxing Scoring Goes On


PhilBoxing.com




One of the most action-packed preliminary bouts in the ongoing Beijing Olympics that I was able to watch on my laptop is one between light heavyweight Bastie Zamir of Ghana, who was supposed to lose to Dauda Izobo of Nigeria. I thought the Ghanaian was supposed to end just like a synapse, a mere statistic, until Zamir changed the script by knocking his opponent down three times to score an RSC (referee stop contest) in the third round.

Punch statisticians or CompuBox reports, mainly used in professional boxing will be put to no use here. Olympic boxing scoring continues to suffer poorly like the way I saw it. It was pathetic.

I have to air this sentiment because I could still remember my friend Ron Delos Reyes's hoarse "We were robbed" spiel on Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco Jr. from way back in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics where the Filipino came so close to winning the Philippines' first gold. Flashes of that day kept reverberating after I saw this inconsequential Zamir-Izobo fight. What do I care if any of them won or lost? I did not even have to root for any of them because I neither knew both.

To the casual boxing fan, Olympic boxing is very much different from what we normally see during most of Manny Pacquiao's professional bouts. In the amateurs, there are four, two-minute rounds and apparently, there are five judges who have joysticks or buttons on both of their hands for them to score. A solid punch is supposed to score one point even if one scores a knockdown, as long as the scoring part of a glove touches any part of the body. Apparently, too, these judges should press buttons at the same time in order to score one solid point for either the red or the blue corner.

As hard as it may look, scoring a fight could also be simple. One only has to open the sense of sight, or hear the punches thudding simultaneously. And then, there is common sense. From my experience in watching championship matches, heavy punches can be heard and felt from even 20 yards away and a clear blow will cause a head to snap back, thus meriting one point in Olympic or amateur boxing scoring systems.

Yes, we are talking about 20 years to the day of Roy Jones Jr.s' Seoul Olympics "debacle," and we're still singing the same tune. Poor officiating, perceived corruption and a flawed system of scoring—and these might even be happening longer than we think, only we turn the other way when we talk of the ills of some people and society.

Actually, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has changed the system of officiating and scoring but still, we have some of the oldest and longest-standing heads of this international governing body still manning the ranks.

With the advent of the internet, we could now watch delayed telecasts or post mortems of bouts in the confines of our homes. Try this site: http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/index.html and go to the boxing videos in order for you to watch and judge for yourself.

After more than one minute of the second round, Zamir has not scored a single point despite him punching clear shots to the body and head. Despite constant action from both sides, the score was still 1-0 in favor of the Nigerian. Izobo went down not by slipping but because of the constant barrage of body punches from Zamir, so I would think. Still, the score was an impossible 2-0, Izobo on top. The judges were clearly sleeping, blind or both. They don't even think body shots should merit a score. Were they even trained to see, score and respond as fast as the fists would?

When Zamir scored his second knockdown, it was only then that he evened the score at 3, to my delight and to the delight of Justice. Good thing, he was clearly the superior boxer until the RSC verdict was handed down (score was a measly 7-3).

In the case of Roy Jones Jr., the judges were wined and dined, according to the International Olympic Committee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Jones_Jr.) but there is little closure for the average boxing fan. Here is one documentary from a former NBC commentator: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsgY99FtWsU. Yes, we will have more Park Si-Huns in history of the Olympics while the Most Outstanding Boxer of the Games will be winning silver medals, or even yet, get booted out in the preliminaries, guys like Zamir.

Despite outboxing, outpunching and pummeling opponents, almost three hits to one, guys like Roy Jones Jr. will emerge champions in a bigger stage of life because it is hardly impossible to put the best guy out there down. But not in these Olympics, I guess.

Welcome to the red light district of sports.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Winchell Campos.


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