The decision on Saturday night shouldn’t have been controversial. I thought, like the judges did, that Andre Ward just about did enough to win the fight. Am I, and the judges wrong? Well, that’s not the point. The blurred lines on what constitutes winning a round has always been a problem for boxing, and a lot of the time it can be seen as corrupt judging, which has always been awful for the sport’s image.

Bias judges?

For such a superfight, it was the wrong decision to have three American judges scoring when there was one American fighter in the ring.

Regardless of whether they were right or wrong, a decision in Ward’s favour was always going to be scrutinised just as Kovalev did after the fight. It’s one of the problems with boxers reluctant to coming over to a home fighters country, and decisions like this always make it worse. The various governing bodies’ reluctance to do anything about it doesn’t help. In cricket it has long been a rule that you can’t have an umpire from one of the nations involved, it guarantees fairness and stops shouts about corruption or bias. It’d be prudent for boxing to adopt a similar stance and ensure that the three judges are from countries not connected to the fighters. The sport is big enough and international enough for this not to be a problem in world title fights.

In domestic fights or low ranking fights, the rules can be different, but there are no barriers to impartial judges in a fight such as Ward vs Kovalev.

How to score a round?

That’s just one issue in regards to judging, another is simply how you score the fight. I thought the majority of the rounds after Kovalev’s dominant second were won by Ward due to his superior Boxing skill, landing clean shots and landing to the body.

That’s how I call fights, but I’m happy to be told I’m wrong. If the scoring manual determined that a fighter should be coming forward, should be pressing, and being aggressive, then I certainly see why people would have Kovalev down as the victor. The problem is that it’s unclear exactly what rules should be followed, the scoring of fights is far too subjective, and that leads to ‘robberies’ and anger amongst boxing fans.

The crowd didn’t seem to happy with the result, and I can see why from that distance what they would have seen was Kovalev pressing forward, it’s much harder in that environment to see the cute body shots and whether that jab hit the gloves or hit cleanly.

The never ending problem

It’s a problem boxing has, has always had, and seemingly will always have. Terms like ‘the challenger should have to take the belt from the champion’ shouldn’t exist. There should be specific rules in place on how a fight should be scored, and it should be judged on what happens in the ring, not on who is the champion or challenger, not on where the fighter is from and not on who benefits most from the result.