Former Las Vegas boxing judge Chuck Giampa, now a consultant who advises fighters, will provide occasional analysis of officials and scorecards when he's not directly involved in an event. Here is his take on the scoring of the Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez fight.
The first round of the Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez fights Saturday night in Atlantic City, N.J., was a prelude to the non-stop action in a very exciting fight. Williams dropped Martinez in the opening round. Then, with less than ten seconds left in the round, Martinez knocked down Williams. Harold Lederman correctly scored that round 10-9 in favor of Martinez. Since boxing uses the 10-point-must system, the winner of the round gets 10 points and the loser of the round gets 9 points or fewer. Since both knock downs offset each other, the judges have to take into account which fighter landed the more effective punches and did the most damage in the round.
Actually, the action in the first round continued through the 12 completed rounds. When I score a fight on TV, I allow that my score may differ a round or two from how I would score the fight if I were actually appointed as a judge for that fight. This is due to the fact that the level of concentration and focus judging an actual live fight is more intense than watching a fight on TV. Also, when scoring a fight on TV, the viewer is watching the fight from the angle of the TV camera, which is different from actually sitting on a stool at the apron of the ring. So, taking into account that my score as a TV viewer could differ by a round or two from the scores of EXPERIENCED judges assigned to the fight, I have to ask the question:
WHAT FIGHT WAS JUDGE PIERRE BENOIST WATCHING?????
The bottom line is that the Williams-Martinez fight was a very close fight; six rounds each or 7-5 rounds for either fighter. This was evident is the scores of EXPERIENCED judges Julie Lederman (114-114) and Lynne Carter (115-113 for Williams). It was that type of fight.
When the score of New Jersey judge Benoist was read as 119-110 in favor of Williams, I was stunned. Based on Benoist's score, he awarded ONLY ONE ROUND TO MARTINEZ! My experience as a former judge begs for an explanation as to how Benoist could score only one round for Martinez.
This gives me the opportunity to address the question that I am often asked: “Why are there such discrepancies in boxing decisions?”
Martinez's promoter, Lou Di Bella, was quoted in an AP article after the fight as saying, “He's either incompetent … or worse … because there is no explanation for that score.” Benoist should and must be held accountable for an explanation of his score. His unbelievable score is a reflection on all judges and the sport of boxing.
My recommendation is that Benoist should review the fight with the New Jersey Athletic Commission. Not just watch it with the commission but review it round by round. The tape of the fight should be stopped several times during each round and Benoist should explain which fighter is winning at that point in the round, by how much and why.
After reviewing the fight, the commission should take action as to future scrutiny of Benoist's assignments. A possibility is that Benoist should be accountable for scoring fights even if he isn't assigned to them; then discuss and compare his scores to the actual judges with the commission.
It may simply that he lost focus and concentration during this fight. But, ultimately, he and all judges must be accountable for their scoring of their assigned fights.
This was a close fight and, as I said, it could have been scored 7-5 rounds for either fighter or 6-6. BUT THERE IS NO WAY THAT MARTINEZ WON ONLY ONE ROUND.
Although this was a 12-round fight, it was a non-title fight. But that is immaterial. What is material is the credibility of the judges assigned to fights.
As a former boxing judge and now a boxing consultant and journalist, I am aware that the fighters, managers, trainers and promoters want a level playing field. They want boxing judges are held accountable for their scores. I'm not saying that Williams didn't win the fight. I'm just saying that Martinez won more than one round and Benoist should be held accountable for his scoring.
Chuck Giampa can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org