Bad decisions from crappy judges are maybe the biggest complaint I hear from day to day when hearing from pro boxing fans.
This perpetual problem doesn’t ever seem to get addressed properly. We watch, we react, with horror and disgust…and then it’s rinse and repeat, same as it ever was. The powers that be which run the sport fail, miserably, in this area of quality control.
Bob Canobbio, boss of punch-count measurement system CompuBox, joined us on the latest TALKBOX podcast and helped us get a better sense on how his service can aid our ability to determine who won a boxing match. He delved into how the service was born, how we the fans should read their numbers and also analyzed some numbers from the history of Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. “Compubox was never designed to score fights, it’s a barometer of a fighters’ activity,” Canobbio told us. “That’s basically how it was devised. It was never designed to score fights. Has it evolved into more than that, yeah. I would say there’s been some bad decisions over the years where the numbers bear out that it was a bad decision. So now we’ve been drawn into the equation where a decision went the wrong way.”
Social media and the fact that there are no other stats on hand to help bolster or defeat claims that a decision was erroneous has put the CompuBox company and their mission and execution more so into the spotlight, to be certain.
Canobbio did share a tidbit which lines up with something I hammer home to readers, and when I do live commentary or blow by blow. He said that in the over 8,000 fights CompuBox has scoured in their 32 years of existence, the fighter that has thrown and landed more has won over 90 percent of the time. Be busier, I repeat, again and again, and that gives you your best chance of winning. Volume is king and queen!
He pointed out that people often misread their stats. Just citing that one guy landed more than the other doesn’t mean one guy won. “You have to score on a round by round basis,” Canobbio said. And, of course, our eyes and brain interpret different ways. Do three Jeff Horn punches mean more than one arguably stiffer punch landed by Manny Pacquiao? You are the decider and this means there is no uniformity in this sphere. “We’re watching one fighter each, it’s a unique way of watching the fight. Fans or journalists who mayb be watching a fight are watching both fighters, trying to score the fight, they’re are writing their story..I’m not saying CompuBox is one hundred percent correct but we do have a unique way of watching a fight, that being watching one fighter each.”
After that July 5 Jeff Horn versus Manny Pacquiao fight, we saw Teddy Atlas and Stephen A Smith had conniption fits over the UD12 decision for Horn. Me, I was watching, and scoring and writing a story…But I saw close rounds, which could have gone either way. On first watch, I didn’t see a robbery. Atlas did and told Horn to his face that he lost. So, the scoring of the fight and peoples’ reactions and yes, the stats put forth by CompuBox got much press. That’s why we had Canobbio on TALKBOX to help shed some light on the matter and the job they do.
The co-founder told us that he got the idea for punch counting off a program which kept tennis stats. Him and co-founder Logan Hobson took the new program and used it off camera. Then they used it on monthly Madison Square Garden shows. John Condon, the boxing boss, signed off on that. Then the CompuBox kids brought the idea and service to Ross Greenburg, then running boxing at HBO. HBO had a show, “Boxing’s Best,” and Canobbio, who was then a researcher at Sports Illustrated, was amped when Greenburg gave a thumbs up on using CompuBox.
The co-founder also spoke to the fact that budgets keep CompuBox from attending live every fight they score. He said that his guys counting off a jumbo screen is really just as effective. “We don’t do every show ringside,” he said. Budgets are indeed a factor there, he stated. He said it’s not new news, that they aren’t live, ringside for every show. Canobbio noted that he’s seen talent call shows while looking at a monitor, not the live action right in front of their face. Indeed, I answered, I was ringside calling Facebook Fightnight Live bouts July 15 and though the boxers were at times six feet away from me, I often look to the monitor to scan action.
In addition, Canobbio told us that CompuBox counted ten Conor McGregor UFC fights, and counted punches when he was standing up. “He throws about forty punches a round,” Canobbio told us. He is more of a counter puncher rather than the one punch power puncher/swarmer than some say, I noted. CompuBox also counted leg strikes, which might be morphed into jabs on Aug. 26, and he throws about 12 a round in UFC fights. It’s part of the allure of this novelty event, how McGregor will transition from cage to ring. We talked about how styles make fights applied to Horn v Pacquiao and will influence how Mayweather vs McGregor plays out. “McGregor is not hard to find,” the counting guru stated, and for a sniper like Mayweather, that should be super helpful.
Canobbio said “it all comes with the territory” and that boxing fans are super passionate, sometimes positive and sometimes negative. He did us as fans and media a service by reminding us to watch every second of every round, and don’t simply cite the punch stats to decide who won or lost a fight. The ep is for sure worth a listen, Canobbio is insightful and informative.