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Jackie Kallen: Should We Have Instant Replay in Boxing?

Posted on 08/16/2011

I sometimes wish that there was instant replay in boxing. Fouls that were missed, bad decisions, wrong calls by referees–they could almost all be resolved if the commissions could watch an instant replay.

When Christy Martin lost her bid to have her June 4 loss to Dakota Stone overturned, I wondered if it would have been any different if officials could have watched that 10th round right there on the spot.

Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank

Watching it now, nearly three month later, doesn’t count since they already know the outcome. Most commissions stand by their referees, doctors, and judges. They have to or all hell would break loose. They’d be stopping fights all night long, reviewing this move or that move.

Surely, though, there are exceptions to every rule. There have been many calls that would have been reversed had they been caught by the officials. How many times have the fans witnessed low blows that the ref failed to see? In a close fight, the points taken away for fouls (or NOT taken away) can make the difference in a win or a loss.

In Christy’s case–it was a judgement call. Although her hand had been broken since the 4th round, she clearly indicated that she wanted to continue fighting. The ref and doctor thought otherwise and stopped the fight in the very last minute of round 10.

Hiring famed attorney Gloria Allred may not have been the wisest move for Christy. It no doubt irked the commission that this matter was being tossed around so publicly and that Ms. Allred was crying sexism on national TV. To them it must have felt like a low blow. Press conferences and public outcries don’t always fix a problem.

In any case, bad decisions can go both ways. When James Toney lost to Dave Tiberi back in 1992–it was widely felt that Tiberi got robbed and James got a decision he did not deserve. Then he fought Montell Griffin a few years later, clearly beat him, and was awarded a loss. Go figure.

Although I often disagree vehemently with lousy decisions, bad calls by the refs, and doctors stopping fights too soon, the system is working as well as it can. Unless we start using instant replay, it will always be a judgement call, made on the spot, by someone who is just doing their job.

Who else besides me thinks that instant replay is a good idea?

Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.”,

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