Judging: LESSON THREE – “Get Your Act Together!”

02.02.08 - By “Old Yank” Schneider: How in the world can you know as much as you do about judging a fight and the application of the Ten Point Must System and still be so wrong in predicting what the official scorecards show? Hey, the judges do just get it wrong from time to time, but you are beyond terrible! Now you are convinced that the judges must be on the take and that Don King and the Not-So-Honorable Soul-less-man rule the entire universe by raining decisions down on you that were pre-baked in the alphabet soup kitchen. Or maybe it’s you. Perhaps you just have not put all the pieces of the puzzle together correctly. Maybe it’s finally time for you to get your act together..

boxing judgesDid you get the message behind the lesson about judging a bout correctly or being judged as a fool? Do you know that the winner of a round gets 10 points and the loser gets 9 or fewer points? Do you understand why clean, effective punching rules the mind of a judge? Do you understand that each round is its own mini-fight and the decision is determined by who is awarded the most points? Do you grasp why effective aggression, ring generalship and defense all take a back seat to clean, effective punching? Do you understand that 5 brutal 10-9 rounds won will always lose to an opponent with 7 “sissy” rounds won by the same margin? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then why are you still getting it wrong?

In order to start getting it right, you need to get your act together by getting some new religion. Now recite a few calming mantras, take a deep breath, cleanse your mind, open your arms and welcome in the religion of “I DON’T GIVE A CRAP”! No, dummy, this does not mean that you need to start hating your mom, flunking out of school or getting in trouble with your wife! It means that everything you ever cared about in any given fighter that has noting to do with each three minute round, needs to be tossed out the window. All of your national pride needs to be tossed out the window. All of your identification with your ethnic origins needs to be tossed out the window. You can’t give a crap! That’s right! You’ve been carrying around that heavy load of a favorite fighter or national or ethnic bias for too long. This new religion that I preach calls on you to stop being a fan and open your mind to true impartiality! If you think it’s easy, just ask yourself if a fan in Manchester could be found that is capable of an open mind (assuming you could find a fan with a mind in Manchester). Stop! Before you send a hoard of locusts to fulfill some biblical prophesy inside my jockey shorts, I’m just trying to go over the top to make the point with a rhetorical device called “HUMOR!” And judging by the great fans from Manchester that I’ve met, none are short on a sense of humor. After all, Hatton is their man and that certainly requires a great sense of humor in my book.

Hopefully I’ve made a point! Is it humanly possible for the “Old Yank” to ever judge a Hatton fight and claim that he’s been converted to that new religion of “I DON’T GIVE A CRAP”? I walk around with such a strong pre-conceived prejudice against Ricky Hatton, that by the very definition of the word, I’ve already PRE-JUDGED the contest and have disqualified myself as an impartial judge.

So now it’s time to step into the Karma Brainwash for your mind. It is the final step in getting your act together in order to genuinely become a good judge. Repeat after me, “I am willing to be completely neutered of everything that’s important to me”. What the hell did he say? He wants me to do what? That’s right folks; I need you to make a commitment to total neutrality. Line up and drop “trousers” and prepare to be neutered!

Wait a minute! Hold your horses (don’t you wish!). Is this what it really takes?

Yes it is! It takes an amazing commitment to impartiality to become a great judge. You need to decide if you want to hang onto everything that makes you a great fan (and be satisfied in being just that), or drop it all just to become an impartial judge. And here is where reality sets in. So what if fans see a fight differently than a judge because of national pride? Will the world stop spinning? So what if the Marquez brothers represent a prideful place in you heart because of your ethnic background? Both of them will, of course lose in the coming months due to Pacquiao and Vasquez having just too much power for either of them. Will the United Nations Building crumble into a pile of dust because of your pride? If you are from Brooklyn you know that you kick-ass in any comparison to any other place on earth. Why should this stop you from enjoying a fight through the eyes of a fan rather than neutering yourself in order to become a judge? Is Brooklyn tougher than Manchester? Does a fat baby fart? Is the Pope Catholic? Can Little Ricky down a pint? Does a bear…? And you want to give this up in order to get your act together to become a great judge? What the hell is wrong with you?

Of course Paulie “The Mouth” Malignaggi will slap Ricky “The Fraud” Hatton silly for an entire 12 rounds. And Joe “I Don’t Get No Respect” Calzaghe will school Bernard “The Racist” Hopkins in a like manner. And there is no problem with a fan making these comments. But the fan who opens his mouth to waive a flag, give away his Brooklyn accent or tip his biased hand, has made a choice; they’ve chosen to be a fan first and a judge second.

There is always room for us to do everything we can to let go of a little prejudice here and there. It will help us get our act together in much more than just judging a fight. And if you are inclined to watch a fight through the neutered eyes of a judge you should feel comfortable in doing so. If you want to be a great judge the “act” you need to get together is the “more easily said then done” task of letting all preconceived notions go; you can’t give a crap about anything except what you see three minutes at a time. So get your act together and clear your mind and apply what you learned in LESSON ONE: “Judge or be Judged”, and LESSON TWO: “It’s the Points Stupid!” Getting your act together as a judge is a fine and noble thing. If you are not trying to become an official judge then never, never ever, under any circumstances lose your heart as a fan, because that is an act you’ve already got together quite nicely!

Article posted on 02.02.2008

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