By Wil Patino: Too much clinching, I can’t watch this anymore! Wow how could the ref not penalize him for all the low blows? I could have sworn that was a knock down! …. I’m sure we have all yelled things out similar to this, most likely with expletives. Yes its time for us to discuss boxing’s everlasting issues that have not been addressed, and delve deep in to how we can improve this beautiful sport. Hello boxing fans it is I, Wil Patino back to give you a daily dose of great unbiased writing with critical thinking in regards to the subject.
From Wladimir Klitschko vs Alexander Povetkin (A fight marred with over 160 clinches reportedly ) and recently Vasyl Lomachenko vs Orlando Salido which was a fight full of low blows from Salido. There has always been something in the sport that we as fans detest and we know are fouls, but it seems to always come down to the refs judgement. Among other things that I will mention, we as the fans and as spectators have always yearned for something to be done about these rules. It’s not like boxing is a stranger to rule changes but as of late it sure feels that way.
In other professional sports, rules seem to be ever changing to benefit the athlete and the fans who tune in to watch them. In the NFL changes have been made to the way you can tackle a player and fouls have been changed as well as the penalties for breaking the rules. They also added challenge flags in the past few years and booth reviews.
I think I am not alone when I say it is about time for NEW RULES. Something I think about often during some fights where I see an atrocity in the way rules are bent and perceived. I will only give a few of my ideas for the sake of not making this too long of an article, but I also want to leave room for some of your ideas. Some ideas I’ll speak of might be too big and I’m sure some won’t agree. They are just ideas I’m throwing out there.
First off let me say that most of my ideas require for a complete new system to be put in place. One rule that would add a new dynamic to the sport and could go a long way is something along the lines of a booth review (like the NBA, NFL, AND MLB have successful acquired) Not to take any powers away from the ref, but maybe someone with a monitor sitting ringside can review the bout. (lets just call him/her “the reviewer”) Who is then able to communicate with the ref in between rounds on certain things like….
Clinching/holding: We should have a clear cut rule on this for example: A fighter is not allowed to initiate more than 10 clinches per round or you will be warned ( well a set number of clinches allowed per round not necessarily 10), and the next round you clinch 10 times again you will be penalized by having 1 point taken away and so on. Of course it would be tough for a ref to keep count but that’s what this booth reviewer’s job would be, to keep count and pay attention to things like that. With rules like “No excessive holding or clinching”. They leave too much room for what the interpretation of “excessive” in that rule is. That’s why we need something specific like no more than 10 clinches per round from either fighter.
Low Blows: If a fighter is seen to give low blows WITHOUT having their head pulled down we should penalize them for it. Something like no more than 3 low blows (when their head is NOT being pulled down) per round. Once again with a system of a warning and then a penalty. No judgement call, but a specific solidified rule which would change the way certain fighters fight. IF you ask me it’s a plus for both athlete and spectator.
No pulling down of the head: Yes this will happen in a fight and its understandable. Yet when it happens all the time like in a recent Mikey Garcia fight it is tough to watch and a bit unfair for the fighter trotting to come forward on the attack. Once again a set of numbered pull downs should be assessed in the rule so you are only allowed to do it ever so often without over doing it. I think you’re getting my point here.
Knock downs are reviewable: A rule in which no one seems to fully come up with the idea of how to incorporate it without stopping the action can be simply executed with the one important dynamic I said should be added to the sport. Which is the reviewer watching the monitors. He/She should be able to have replay footage of when a knock down/slip takes place. Reviewing it carefully in between rounds. The rule should imply to change a slip or fall that was not ruled originally as a knock down to a knock down soon as there is CLEAR AND CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE that the fighter was indeed knocked down. If there is any question that it might have been a slip or fall then the ruling in the ring stands… Hmmm kind of like the NFL does in their replays. So lets say judges scored it a 10-9 for round 6 and the play is reviewed in between round 6 and 7 the reviewer can inform the ref of it then. In the case the review takes a little longer the reviewer could then inform the ref in between rounds 7-8 so the ref could inform the judges of a knock down scored in round 6. Thus making the judges change the score ( in between rounds so it doesn’t interfere with the bout) Might sound a little complicated but it really is not.
In addition I know this would change some things about the way certain boxers fight, but that might be necessary and they will be able to adjust or must learn to, just like NBA or NFL players have been able to do just that. I can go on and on but these are some examples. I didn’t explain them all the way through with crisp detail because that would make this article longer than it already is. So many rules can be changed for the better and new ones can be added as well. So to cut to the chase tell us your ideas for some rule changes and what can we do to improve the sport? Thank you and let me hear what you come up with.