Americans have complained (whined?) about the judging of boxing in the Olympics since at least the days of Howard Cosell. This may be an example of the unintended consequences of getting what you wish for (change in judging rules), as the present system of judging has made amateur boxing even more than a farce than it used to be. Before getting serious, however, I want to reveal a SCOOP. Here is a tape, to which I have received exclusive access, of the discussions of the relevant international committee on amateur boxing as to the new judging system (speakers identified by number, to protect the guilty):
Speaker 1: The Americans are giving us all kinds of grief on judging again.
Speaker 2: Those whiners. You would think they invented boxing.
Speaker 3: Wasn't that Howard Cosell who invented both boxiing and Muhammad Ali? (chuckles audible)
speaker 2: Howard Cosell invented himself. I don't think he KNEW anything about either boxing or football. Muhammad Ali probably did not even like him. But Cosell was willing to be a sycophant, and so Ali let him hang around.
Speaker 1: You are surely right, but the judging is getting too obviously bad. Even some civilized people--meaning they are not Americans--are complaining.
Speaker 3: Can't we count on Barack "World" Obama and John "Frenchy" Kerry to help us. And we KNOW that the Associated Press is always against Americans. (Blowing whistle): Penalty. Penalty flag on the blog. This blog is PENALIZED for an anachronism, and inserting politics where it does not belong (even if politics does explain a lot of subjective Olympic judging). The author of this blog KNOWS that "World" Obama and Frenchy Kerry have nothing to do with this. There is no way this could be an authentic tape. (Long pause): The blog author claims the leftist PRIVILEGE to insert FEELING and existential "truth" in place of logic. He claims that his is right IN SPIRIT, given the "citizen of the world" comment by Obama, John Kerry cozying up to Europeans, and the AP anti-Americanism. He claims that this leftist idea of Aermicans as "uncivilized", in coparison to international leftists and Europeans, is the essence of both some American problems at the Olympics AND the problem of American "opinion makers" paying more attention to the opinion of "the world" than to the interest of Americans. The judges have dismissed these defenses, however, and upheld the PENALTY (blog author must REMAIN on AOL until they turn the lights out, as he has promised, no matter how many Flying, Fickle Fingers of Fate AOL earns). Blog author is NOT a leftist, and therefore is not ALLOWED to rely on "feeling" and existential "truth". Referee motioning like a boxing referee telling the fighters to "box": "Blog".
Speaker 2: I guess we will have to do something. But what do the Americans WANT?
Speaker 3: Who cares? We are not going to give in to those cretins. We just have to APPEAR to be reforming the judging. Americans want to treat boxing like some sort of actual FIGHT, instead of the ballet it really is to civilized people. The Americans want to import the standards of their uncivilized black people--thugs--into the Olympics, instead of accepting our guidance on proper conduct like the civilized black people in the world.
Speaker 1: But what do we do? We can't let pro boxing judges impose their standards. Our own punch drunk judges are bad enough.
Speaker 3: What do Americans like more than anything?
Speaker 2: I give up. What?
Speaker 3: They life FALSE "statistical" figures that don't mean anything. Look at all of those stupid POLLS that they do, as if those numbers really meant anything. And they like ELECTRONIC GADGETS.
Speaker 1: HOW do we get electronic gadgets into boxing? Are you really suggesting that we put boxers in those EFFETE suits that fencers wear. Even Barack "World Obama and John "Frenchy" Kerry would not go for that one. PENALTY FLAG. PENALTY FLAG. (Readers will be spared the resolution of this one, although you may know what happened if this blog disappears.)
Speaker 3: No, although the idea has attractions, I don't see that regisering punches directly by electronics in the glove or some sort of suit is going to work.
Speaker 1: What, then?
Speaker 3: Our technical experts have come up with this fool proof plan to PUNISH the Americans for this constant criticism. See, you have this KEYPAD with buttons for the judge--one button or each fighter. Each judge has to push a button when the judge sees a scoring blow, and THREE of the five judges have to agree on a punch to have it count--within one second. Each score is automatically registered ELECTRONICALLY (the Americans will LOVE that!).
Speaker 2: But that is RIDICULOUS. We're in this problem already because we have judges not even smart enough to FIX a fight intelligently. I tell you, 90% of our judges are punch drunk--even those that never fought a day in their lives. You expect them to push the RIGHT button within a SECOND of registering a proper scoring blow? that is absurd. We are going to have points registered for a fighter at the same time the OTHER fighter is knocking him out. And this makes it even MORE easy to CHEAT. If it is hard for 3 out of 5 to register a correct scoring blow, if ONE of the judges is dishonest it is going to make it almost impossible for the fighter he is against to get a score--3 out of 4. We would be better off asking teenage video gamers to register punches. At least they can SEE, and have some hand and eye co-ordination. We are going to have a whole lot of trouble holding judges accountable, because they will ALL have the "cover" of this absurd "electronic" scoring system to hide behind!
Speaker 3: I now. Isn't it BEAUTIFUL. Let the Americans deal with this scoring system. It is going to drive them NUTS, and still the type of fighters we want to win are going to win.
And so it came to be.
Seriously, the Americans have often come across like whiners over the years. This year, American fighter Warren STOPPED PUNCHING when he was behind, on the excuse he somehow did not know he was behind, In fact, Warren did little during the entire last round of a fight where he was behind either going into the round, or early in the round. That was hardly the fault of the scoring system, even though the scoring of the fight was ridiculous (each fighter getting a point when the OTHER fighter was throwing a punch--theAmerican getting a point while he was FALLING DOWN). . Yes, points (in another act of idiocy) are DISCLOSED as they are supposedly scored--making it obvious that the system is NOT working.
IF the above taped conversation is a hoax, as some have alleged, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? How can you possibly devise a worse system. You have to have manual dexterity, and great hand-eye coordination to have 3 of 5 judges recognize a scoring punch, push the button of the RIGHT fighter, and have 3 of the five register at the same time. These boxing judges are hardly young men with great eyes and great reflexes. There was never any way this system made any sense. It ADDS "Human element" to the judging. Not only do you have to see the blows correctly, but the judges have to coordinate the pushing of their buttons something like synchronized divers. Such things as MULTIPLE COMBINATIONS of punches become almost impossible to register as more than one point.
I submit that the exclusive tape revealed above is as good an explanation as any for this absurd judging system. It hardly is fully responsible for an American losing when he STOPPED punching when behind a single point. But the actual videos of these fights illustrates what was always obvious; There is no chance that these judges can be counted on to push 3 buttons at the right time to electronically register scoring blows--unless the dominate fighter is so dominant that no scoring system could fail.
Boxing in the Olympics is a farce, because of both the ridiculous scoring and because of the ridiculous tactics the scoring encourages.
Even things like gymnastic and diving scoring have become much better than boxing scoring. As the CNBC announcers have said, it is vastly unfair to boxers who have given up as many as four years of their life for a chance at the Olympics to be deprived of that chance by an absurd scoring system.