Saturday night I watched an entire fight card while sitting next to Chuck Giampa. Unless you’re a fight fan, even an avid fight fan, you might not know that name. So I’ll tell you: Chuck Giampi spent much of his adult life as a fight judge, scoring 170 title bouts. He was a judge for the Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield II “Bite Night” debacle at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. He was ringside for the infamous Riddick Bowe-Holyfield “Fan Man” bout in November 1993, when since-deceased paraglider James Miller dropped from the sky at Caesars Palace and into the ring as the two heavyweights swapped blows. Giampa was also a judge in George Foreman’s stunning 10th-round knockout of Michael Moorer to reclaim the heavyweight title at age 45.
Foreman needed that thunderous two-punch combination; Giampa and fellow judge Jerry Roth had him losing the fight 88-83.
Giampa is a writer for Ring Magazine these days. His wife of 10 years, Lisa, has been a judge herself for three years and worked a couple of fights during Saturday’s “Pinoy Power 2” card at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel. When I noticed the nametag on the spot next to mine at The Joint was that of Chuck Giampa, I introduced myself and asked, “How does one score a fight, actually?” Over the next few fights, Giampa shared some of his knowledge, and this week’s list is Four Tips to Better Boxing Judging:
1. Watch the fight: It seems so simple, but especially for inexperienced judges assigned to major title fights, the instinct to check out the scene -- the celebs, the ring girls, the bedazzled and face-painted entourages -- can interfere with actually witnessing what’s happening in the ring. Example: While I attempted to score a fight, I couldn’t help but notice the ring girls to my right were eating cake.
2. Judge only the effective punches: That’s the key -- effective punching. Some fans respond to any sort of flailing, the left hooks that connect with turnbuckles or jabs that glance off his opponent’s glove. A tap on the forehead during a clinch is not a scoring blow. Neither is a well-connected low blow, but let’s be honest, the low blow can be an effective way to hit “reset,” if you know what I mean.
3. Break the round down to three one-minute segments: Make each round a mini-round, noting which pugilist connected with the most effective punches in 60-second increments, keeping in mind that a fighter scoring a knockdown would have to be dominated over the other two one-minute segments not to win the round by the decisive 10-8 score.
4. Mark who is winning a particular round in case there is an unexpected stoppage: Just in case Fan Man, a maniacally biting heavyweight or a low blow interrupts the action, you don’t lose track of who is in fact winning the round.
Taking Giampa’s lead, I scored the Anthony Peterson-Luis Arceo undercard bout. The judges’ cards were 98-92, 97-93, 99-91, all for Peterson. I had it 98-92, Peterson. As I said to Giampa, maybe this eye for fistic assessment can lead to a new career.
But really, who am I to judge?
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