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17 NOVEMBER 2018


PART FIVE:YOU BE THE BOXING JUDGE! Judging Professional Boxing for the TV Boxing Fan


KEEP A RUNNING SCORE: "THE MENTAL COMPUTER" The most foolproof method of scoring the round while maintaining consistency and avoiding confusion is to immediately begin to calculate your score when the bell sounds and continue through the round, adjusting your score according to the action in the ring. By this I mean that when the bell rings, the score is 10-10. As soon as the first action takes place, even if it may be one or two punches thrown, identify the fighter who is winning the round and mentally register the score at 10 - 9. If the other fighter responds and takes the lead, mentally place him in the lead at 10 - 9. If he continues to control the action, scores the more effective punches and is winning the round, mentally have him at 10 - 9. This follows through the round so that at any time in the round, if for purposes of making a point, you are asked how you have the round scored, you can respond immediately.

Maintain the ebb and flow of the action throughout the round with a running score based on what's happening in the ring, so when the bell rings ending the round, you should be able to mark your scorecard instantly with confidence. If you have to sit back and think it over, you've probably lost the flow. In a close fight, I sometimes "visualize" the score over each boxer and adjust as the action progresses. This helps me maintain my concentration at peak levels.


Each fight should be scored by rounds. By that I mean:

Don't look back, don't look ahead.

Look at each fight as four, six, eight, 10 or 12 individual "one round fights".

Each round should be judged as an isolated event, regardless of what has transpired earlier.

The importance of scoring each round as an individual episode is paramount. Example: In a 10-round fight, Fighter "A" may score a knockdown over Fighter "B" in rounds 2 and 8 but does not win any of the other eight rounds. He will wind up losing the fight, 96 - 92.

Let's say Fighter "A" scores three knockdowns (Round 2, 3 and 8,) but loses the other seven rounds. He still loses the fight 94 - 93.

In both cases, although he scored two or three knockdowns, Fighter "A" loses the fight.

However, in the view of someone watching the bout but not keeping score round by round, Fighter "A" appears to be a winner, based on the knockdowns. Although this perfect imbalance happens only on rare occasions, it usually evokes unwarranted criticism by the viewing public who feel the knockdowns give Fighter "A" the edge.

The point is, if you do not give your undivided attention to each round and register your score accordingly, you may not follow the old boxing axiom, "judge with your eyes, not your heart." In other words, you must observe and record. Heartfelt feelings and opinions usually do not reflect the factual score.

There is another situation where the same theory applies. A long-shot underdog may turn what should have been a mismatch into a close, exciting fight, but lose nonetheless. If you score with your heart, you may argue that the underdog won. If, on the other hand, you score with your eyes, and record the points round by around, you'll find a different result. In yet another example, Fighter "A" wins the first six or seven rounds in a 10-round fight, only to have Fighter "B" come on strong during the last three rounds. Often, in the view of the spectator not recording the score, Fighter "B" appears to have won the fight with his late rally. But when the actual score is added up, Fighter "A" is the winner. What happened in the early rounds is often forgotten by the fan not recording the score.


An experienced judge won't be swayed by the blood flowing from a cut or by a badly swollen eye, even though it may appear to detract from the injured fighter. Only the punching causing the cut or swelling should contribute to the opponents advantage. It is not unusual for a fighter who is cut as the result of a punch or butt, whose face becomes a "bloody mask," to outscore his opponent and win ensuing rounds, and the fight, as well. However, there it is an underlying disadvantage to suffering a cut or serious eye swelling. This could take the injured fighter out of his gameplan and place him at a disadvantage, thus contributing to the outcome of the fight. But the bottom line is that the amount of blood spilled, or the size of the lumps and bruises, does not contribute to the point score


A judge should not attempt to second guess a referee. When a referee rules a knockdown, it should be scored a knockdown. For example, a referee may rule a knockdown when in your view it appears to be a slip. In such an instance, your score for the round should reflect the guidelines that apply for a knockdown.


The following are the types fouls you may see during a fight:

Hitting low---below the belt

Hitting with open glove

Hitting back of head and neck

Hitting an opponent when he's down

Head butt


Use of elbows

Biting or spitting

Punching kidneys or back

Back- handing

Hitting on the break


Holding/holding and hitting

Holding ring ropes

Hitting after the bell


Points should be taken away only when the referee signals that he is penalizing a fighter for committing a foul. The judge should not deduct points for fouls at his own discretion.


Once again, in review, when we talk about maintaining a running score during the round, we can see how important it is to maintain your concentration level so that you are not in danger of interrupting your train of thought. Once this happens, it could be very difficult to get back into the flow of the round and your score for that round will be flawed.


10 Point Must System

From a "close" to "definite" margin 10 – 9

One knockdown10 – 8

Two knockdowns10 – 7

Three knockdowns 10 - 6 (very rare)

No knockdowns but three minutes of complete control and domination 10 – 8

Can't pick a winner 10 - 10 (very rare)

Remember, no two rounds are alike. The scoring, as set forth above, is not "written in stone" and should be adjusted according to the action taking place in the ring. By establishing standards based on the criteria discussed earlier, in a consistent fashion, and applying those standards as the round progresses, your scoring should show consistency. The more rounds you score, the more fights you watch (with total concentration), and the more experience you develop, the more consistent you become.



All Rights Reserved

Book Copyright 1996 by Tom Kaczmarek

Electronic Copyright 2002 Murphy/Rector Communications, Inc.


or call (201) 986-0902.

For more information contact Tom Kaczmarek at:



Tom Kaczmarek, an ex-boxer and current international professional boxing judge, is Chairman of the World Boxing Council Ring Officials Board and a member of the Ring Officials Committee of the North American Boxing Federation. He was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994, and the Elizabeth Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002. Kaczmarek has judged over 1500 professional bouts, including major world championship fights in the United States, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He has conducted training seminars for judges for the World Boxing Council (WBC); the New York State Athletic Commission; the International Boxing Federation (IBF); the State of Connecticut Boxing Commission; the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Boxing Commission; the North American Boxing Federation (NABF); the Washington, D.C. Boxing Commission; the New Jersey State Athletic Commission; the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Commission Athletic Unit; the Edmonton, Alberta Boxing Commission; and the International Professional Ring Officials Association (IPRO).



Tommy Kaczmarek has been a resident of Brick, New Jersey for the last sixteen years. He retired from the State of New Jersey Violent Crimes Compensation Board in 1991 where he was Commissioner for 18 years and Chairman for 5 years. He is a licensed professional boxing judge in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Michigan, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Boxing Commission, and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Commission Athletic Unit. Although Mr. Kaczmarek is a boxing official for each of the above Commissions, all of the views, opinions, and/or recommendations contained herein are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Michigan, Mashantucket, and Mohegan Commissions.

All readers are strongly cautioned that the information contained herein is not intended to, and never should, substitute for the necessity of seeking the advice of a qualified medical, legal, or financial professional whenever a boxer or his/her representatives have specific questions regarding the best course of action that a boxer should take. 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 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 express 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 authors, editors nor anyone else affiliated with this website may be held liable for damages of any kind whatsoever allegedly caused or resulting from any such claimed reliance.

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