On Wednesday, November 1st, on the third day of the World Boxing Association (WBA) annual convention the seminar for the judges and referees took place in the morning part of the agenda.
There was a record number of participants for the conference with many notable judges and referees from across the world.
The session kicked off with President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza giving a speech to everyone on their importance and role in not just the sport but shaping the lives of the fighters. He told everyone, “You have to give justice to those looking to fulfill a dream.”
The first speaker for the session was Gustavo Padilla who gave a brief overview of the rules index of the WBA, showing the contents and how there are plans to update it frequently and teach it.
The next speaker was Francisco Pena, who gave a presentation on principles and values to guide judges and referees. The three principles of a good decision are concentration, impartiality, and justice. Pena spoke about how officials should not act under external pressure and if it is present the official should consult the supervisor. Pena also spoke about how it is not proper to accept invitations and gifts.
Octavio Rodriguez and Luis Pabon gave the next presentation that was targeted at attempting to establish a system to grade the referees and judges on an actual percentage basis. This is a work that is started and now in progress with the goal being 85% accuracy by the end of 2018 for WBA title fights.
Raul Caiz Sr. then gave an excellent presentation on how to differentiate close rounds and how rules interpretations are of the utmost importance. He believes that there is no corruption and instead bad decisions are made because different regions are looking for different things in boxing. Regions play a role, as well as organizations and commissions that ask for different things or have different rules for their bouts.
Caiz Sr. also talked at length about the struggle of judges and referees to battle with social media, commentators, and fans that may have been drinking, eating, or talking during the fight but then submitting a scorecard or decision that gets seen by lots of people and starts a new trend.
Scorecards then went around the room for a workshop that involved scoring rounds and parts of rounds. Scores were tallied by the judges and referees in attendance with a section on the cards for them to explain why they scored the way they did. The scorecards were then turned in and being recorded by the WBA as they have a new initiative to attempt to understand scoring from different regions across the world.
More than “scoring the scorecard” the WBA is looking to understand why certain regions are scoring the way they do since it seems like some are looking for, or at, specific things happening in the ring such as aggression instead of defense, or vice versa
Overall the judges and referees session was very well attended and an excellent workshop that boxing needs. The effort is to get everyone from around the world on the same page so that bad scorecards and bad decisions are a thing of the past. It will be interesting to see how the effort on grading the judges and referees pans out over time.