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02 AUGUST 2014

 

THE PROFESSIONAL BOXING REFEREE: Evaluating the Professional Boxing Referee - Part Three


By Armando Garcia

We’ve discussed in great detail the need of an evaluation process for referees and have seen a proposal for one. It is clear that the sport should have one.

I strongly encourage all of the referees in boxing to comment on these series of articles. I know that with your expertise this process could be implemented to the betterment of the sport.

Again, this is not a process to “ax” referees. This is a tool for development.

Let’s take a look at three evaluations of a gentleman named Mr. A. Reff. To preserve the integrity of this analysis don’t scroll down to find out if this guy is a veteran or an up and coming referee. As you’ll see, it doesn’t matter.

Here are his last three evaluations. We will analyze his scores and assign him a Quarterly Score.


REFEREE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION

Referee: A. Reff Date: 01-01-2003

Location: Lewiston, Maine Civic Center

Bout: David Mathews VS Herbert Wells

Pre Bout Procedures

Comments: Strong Dressing room instructions. Good pre bout.

Grade (0-10) 10

Regard for Safety/Judgment

Comments: In round 4 knockdown of Smith mechanics were weak. He also let Doe come out of the corner. Did not wipe gloves. In round 8 great call on the slip of boxer Doe.

Grade (0-10) 7

Knowledge of Rules

Comments on Application, Consistency & Judgment: Overall inconsistent. Did not immediately stop the clock when the mouthpiece of boxer Doe came out. Took too long in admonishing Doe for low blow in round 3 and didn’t consider giving Smith any time to recover.

Grade (0-10) 6

Performance in Adverse Situations

Comments: Weak admonishments and lack of control promoted a poor bout. Did not address excessive holding. Grade (0-10) 6

Ring Presence

Personal Appearance - Grade (0-10) 10

Bout Control - Weak. Grade (0-10) 6

Positioning – Had trouble with Doe, the southpaw boxer. Grade (0-10) 7

Movement and Footwork - Grade (0-10) 7

Commands

Voice/Hand – Weak. Few verbal commands upon breaking or separating the boxers. Never gave them time to separate. Grade (0-10) 6

Decisiveness – Weak. Grade (0-10) 6

Post Bout Procedures

Comments: Grade (0-10) 10

Bout Pattern

Easy ______ Challenging X Very Difficult ______

General Remarks of Performance/Recommendations

Comments: Overall the performance was below average. He never had consistent control of the bout and allowed excessive holding which in turn promoted a lackluster bout. He never demonstrated a sincere desire or ability to control the bout.

Evaluator: A. Evaluator

GRADES: UNSATISFACTORY, 0 - 65; MARGINAL / 66 - 87;

Exceptional / 88 - 99; Excellent / 100 - 110

OVERALL GRADE: 81

Note that this bout was considered by the evaluator as ‘Challenging’. One of the boxers was a southpaw and both were very agile. The Referee’s movement and position apparently were below par and he may have gotten a bit frustrated as the bout progressed. Generally, in this bout the Referee erred in his performance.

Receiving a Marginal Score of 81 in this bout may mean that the Referee had either a bad night at the office or may not be at an expected level.

The Referee’s problems in this bout are both mechanical and judgmental. Mechanics can be rectified easily with solid training and experience. A judgment problem is more difficult as it will take complete dedication and concentration on the Referee’s part to rectify.

One Marginal Score in one bout does not necessarily mean that the Referee is not championship caliber, but a close look at future performances is a must for the evaluating commission.

Here’s Mr. Reff’s second bout of the quarter:


REFEREE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION

Referee: A. Reff Date: February 27, 2003

Location: Lewiston, Maine Civic Center

Bout: Buster Darston VS Davis Martin

Pre Bout Procedures

Comments: Great Dressing Room instructions.

Grade (0-10) 10

Regard for Safety/Judgment

Comments: Mechanics for the Darston knockdowns in round 4 and 6 were outstanding. Exercised proper judgment in allowing the bout to continue. His handling of the loose gauze in Round 5 was correct. Grade (0-10) 10

Knowledge of Rules

Comments on Application, Consistency & Judgment: Exceptional handling of knockdowns, loose gauze and low trunks. Grade (0-10) 10

Performance in Adverse Situations

Comments: Although the knockdowns were ‘routine’ knockdowns he handled them correctly.

Grade (0-10) 10

Ring Presence

Personal Appearance - Grade (0-10) 10

Bout Control - Grade (0-10) 9

Positioning – Could have been better throughout the bout. Grade (0-10) 7

Movement and Footwork – Needs to add a little more fluidity and bounce to overall movement.

Grade (0-10) 7

Commands

Voice/Hand - Didn’t take advantage of issuing verbal commands. Grade (0-10) 6

Decisiveness - Average Grade (0-10) 7

Post Bout Procedures

Comments: Grade (0-10) 10

Bout Pattern

Easy X Challenging ____ Very Difficult ______

General Remarks of Performance/Recommendations

Comments: Overall a good performance. Needs work on movement and positioning. Needs to do better in presenting himself as being surer of his actions. Most commands were given in a less than strong tone. The knockdown mechanics were textbook.

Evaluator: A. Evaluator

GRADES: UNSATISFACTORY, 0 - 65; MARGINAL / 66 - 87;

Exceptional / 88 - 99; Excellent / 100 - 110

OVERALL GRADE: 96

This appears to be a strong performance by Mr. Reff. With this said and in only his second bout of the quarter, we see opportunities for improvement.

Compared to his previous bout Mr. Reff appeared surer of his mechanics. Yet, movement and positioning comments came up again. It also appears that he needs to be more assertive in issuing commands.

Let’s look at bout number three for Mr. Reff:


REFEREE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION

Referee: A. Reff Date: 03-15-2003

Location: Lewiston, Maine Civic Center

Bout: Jack Sutton VS Mitchell Strong

Pre Bout Procedures

Comments: Great pre bout. Addressed the real concern of headbutts as both boxers have a history of butting and cuts. Also, Sutton is a southpaw.

Grade (0-10) 10

Regard for Safety/Judgment

Comments: In round one there was an accidental headbutt. Strong clear command calling incident as such. Allowed the bout to go on with little interruption as there was no apparent injury. Round 3 headbutt by Sutton caused no injury but was clearly intentional. 2-point deduction warranted. In round 4 took time to strongly caution both boxers for excessive holding. Round 7 knockdown mechanics were sound, but overreacted and stopped the bout without completing the count. Grade (0-10) 7

Knowledge of Rules

Comments on Application, Consistency & Judgment: Great job in applying the rules, particularly in the 2-point deduction in round 3. Good calls on holding instances.

Grade (0-10) 10

Performance in Adverse Situations

Comments: The headbutts and holding were handled properly. The knockdown that led to the stoppage could have been handled better. He somewhat overreacted and did not complete the count. Grade (0-10) 7

Ring Presence

Personal Appearance - Grade (0-10) 10

Bout Control - Very good overall. Grade (0-10) 10

Positioning - Had great trouble with the southpaw Sutton. Grade (0-10) 7

Movement and Footwork - Grade (0-10) 7

Commands

Voice/Hand – Overall acceptable. Grade (0-10) 8

Decisiveness - Grade (0-10) 8

Post Bout Procedures

Comments: Turned his back to the downed boxer. Appeared nervous to crowd’s reaction to the stoppage. Grade (0-10) 6

Bout Pattern

Easy X Challenging ______ Very Difficult ______

General Remarks of Performance/Recommendations

Comments: Overall the performance was exceptional. However, he was inconsistent. The stoppage took away from a good competitive pro bout. It is strongly recommended that he study the boxer’s reactions to a knockdown more closely. He is strongly encouraged to complete the count whenever possible

Evaluator: A. Evaluator

GRADES: UNSATISFACTORY, 0 - 65; MARGINAL / 66 - 87;

Exceptional / 88 - 99; Excellent / 100 - 110

OVERALL GRADE: 90

The evaluator deemed this bout to be ‘Easy’ for the Referee. However, there were several adverse instances: one accidental headbutt, one intentional headbutt, excessive holding and one knockdown that ended the fight.

At first glance this may look like the evaluator went to hard on the Referee declaring the bout ‘easy’. The reality is that there were no injuries from the headbutts, the Referee handled the holding and the knockdown sounds like it was ‘routine’. It is the stoppage that should be of the most concern.

In the evaluator’s mind the stoppage was premature. This is a critical error. Too late is unacceptable and too early destroys the event. Judgment is key.

Let’s look at Mr. Reff’s scores:

BOUT NO. DATE TYPE OF BOUT SCORE

1 01-01-2003 CHALLENGING 81

2 02-27-2003 EASY 96

3 03-15-2003 EASY 90

QUARTERLY SCORE: 89 / EXCEPTIONAL (LOW END)

The only thing that we know about Mr. Reff is his performance in these three bouts.

Would it make a difference if Mr. Reff were considered to be a veteran with more than 30 world championship bouts? Or, that he is an up and coming referee with only 4 years of experience and limited high profile event experience within his own state?

How would a national commission handle these back-to-back performances if the referee is a veteran and is well known?

I think that it is fair to say that these three performances are more ‘acceptable’ from a relatively new referee than they would be from a more experienced one.

A more experienced referee who performs in this manner could be indicating a decline in his competence. A less experienced referee could be indicating that he is developing.

What is important in this process is that the scoring method will give you the officiating level of the referee at THIS time, not how he did in the past or how he can do in the future.

If one fairly assesses these three performances you see some obvious things. Mr. Reff has demonstrated inconsistency in both judgment and mechanics.

At this time Mr. Reff’s commission should clearly communicate this to him. If Mr. Reff does not raise his scores and demonstrate a stronger competence it may not be wise to assign him to high profile and or world championship bouts at this time.

The commission should be specific with Mr. Reff and tell him to work on his mechanics and his movement and positioning. He should also work on his patience. The judgment issue is obvious. Future performances will demonstrate he’s rectified some of the problems he’s had or not, period.

In closing, the sport should consider the dire need in documenting referee performance and immediately move forward with an evaluation system. This exact system may not be perfect. Consider it a good first draft.

I welcome all referees to comment and contribute to this process.

What do you think boxing friends? boxingreferee@aol.com

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Armando Garcia is presently licensed as a Referee by the Florida State Boxing Commission, the Miccosukee Athletic Commission and the World Boxing Association (WBA). He is a former International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) Referee/Judge for the USA.

He has been involved in boxing for over 15 years and has refereed 21 world championship fights and judged 8 others since 1994. He regularly conducts international seminars for the WBA and has done so in the USA, Thailand, Spain, Nicaragua and Venezuela. He was recently selected as the WBA International Official of the Year.

He was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States in 1959.

He presently serves as Facilities Director for Perry Ellis International, a leader in the apparel industry, in Miami, Florida. He is also a former veteran police Detective in the South Florida area.

***

DISCLAIMER, WAIVER OF RIGHTS AND INDEMNITY

The ”The Professional Boxing Referee” columns are prepared by Armando Garcia in an effort to establish a criterion for dealing with numerous referee situations and as an attempt to interpret professional boxing rules in a simple manner. In the series he will also be discussing various important issues related to professional boxing.

Although he has a vast boxing resume, the views, opinions, and/or recommendations contained in this series of articles reflect his own interpretation of referee rules and procedures and not necessarily those of the entities that license him.

Furthermore, since it is possible that general information herein may pertain only to a law, regulation, rule or acceptable standard of practice for a particular jurisdiction, a referee, boxer or his/her representatives must always inquire with the appropriate licensing jurisdiction to determine the applicable laws, regulations, rules, and acceptable standards of practice for each jurisdiction.

All readers are advised that the information herein is intended solely as a general reference source, and to the fullest extent permitted by law, the information is provided “AS IS” without any warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, including without limitation, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. No one may rely on the accuracy, integrity, quality or completeness of the general information herein. Accordingly, neither the author nor anyone else affiliated with any website or press entity may be held liable for damages of any kind whatsoever allegedly caused or resulting from any such claimed reliance.

If anyone has any questions about this Disclaimer, Waiver of Rights and Indemnity, or any article, he or she should contact Armando Garcia at: boxingreferee@aol.com



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