Friday, February 08, 2008

Ding A Ling Man

Darnell Wilson won that fight against BJ Flores on my card 115-113. It was a close fight. How any judge could see the fight going 118-109 the other way is beyond me. ESPN's compubox and Teddy Atlas agree with me. There were some tough rounds to score: I could see a draw if the judges like movement over aggression. What I saw was a scared fighter running away, landing a spare jab a couple times per round. One jab doesn't even come close to a hook and a half. You don't have to out-slug a power puncher to win a fight, but you're still expected to land more punches; BJ Flores didn't even come close.

A lot of bad decisions come about because judges look for remarkable moments in an unremarkable fight, particularly if those moments look like favorite moments of that judge from other fights. I'll give you a hypothetical example: I loved Pernell Whitaker's performance against Julio Caesar Chavez. Whitaker fought going backwards and landed some excellent shots; Chavez couldn't hit Whitaker at all. Most boxing fans and judges who weren't the official judges thought Whitaker was robbed of a victory; the official result was a dubious draw. The outcome forced the boxing public and a lot of judges to look at fights differently. At times, Flores-Wilson looked like Whitaker-Chavez: Wilson landed about ten shots per round, and spent most of the fight chasing down Flores; Chavez did about the same offensively against Whitaker. The fights looked very similar: the fast boxer runs away, causing the puncher to only hit air with reaching punches. However, Flores threw nothing back: he landed about seven punches per round. Whitaker won the fight in most fans' eyes by punching back effectively through Chavez' defense whenever the Mexican dropped his guard, which was a lot more than seven times per round. Still, most of the three minutes of every round was Chavez chasing Whitaker and missing. I can easily imagine a bored judge looking at Flores-Wilson, and thinking "Gee, Flores isn't being hit. This fight looks like Whitaker-Chavez," without actually counting punches Flores landed back at Wilson.

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