The use of the instant replay in boxing has been at the core of some conversations in the boxing community stemming from the official ruling of the Bradley vs. Campbell fight which took place Saturday, August 1, 2009. In a sport where the instant replay can easily be deferred to, either to support or overturn an official decision, such as in the aforementioned situation, it is rarely used. The International Boxing Federation is releasing this statement in support of the use of the instant replay for immediately correcting or sustaining official decisions that reasonably come into question in bouts sanctioned by the organization.
International Boxing Federation President Marian Muhammad and her Personal Assistant Larry Hazzard agree that it is very easy for an official to make a mistake. Hazzard added, “We all make mistakes but it’s just been rare if ever that boxing has ever gone back to correct them.” Larry Hazzard, who was the New Jersey State Athletic Commisioner for over 20 years, was the first to implement the use of the instant replay for boxing in the state in 2007. “I decided to do so because many of the other major sports use it and a lot of errors are corrected, especially in football and tennis; and I saw and still see errors being committed in boxing by referees from time to time,” noted Hazzard. He further explained that during the remainder of his tenure the NJ commission did not need to defer to the instant replay very often and believes it also encourages referees working in NJ to perform their duty more meticulously as a result.
The IBF executives suggest that the instant replay could be available at the discretion of the event promoter and, if agreed upon, the option should be written into the bout contract, especially for world championships. The logistics for implementing the instant replay can be managed with local commissions and the television networks. As it is, the instant replay is routinely used during most boxing telecasts to review portions of a broadcast. Furthermore, most major boxing venues such as Madison Square Garden, Staples Center, and Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, with their large Jumbotron score boards, have the technology available for instant replay. “There’s really no excuse why instant replay is not being used in boxing when most of the other major world sports are doing so,” states Ms. Muhammad.
The instant replay would give officials a chance to look at something controversial immediately after it happened such as whether a cut was caused by a head butt or a legal punch? Or, did the boxer go down from a slip, push or legal blow? Larry Hazzard elaborates, “We realize that officials sometimes make bad calls. It’s not done intentionally but bad calls are made because we’re human. Most of the other major sports make corrections to mistakes that otherwise wouldn’t be corrected and could alter the outcome. Why can’t we do that in boxing?” Essetianlly, the IBF supports the use of the instant replay in boxing as a positive tool which could immediately put controversies over official decisions to rest and result in a proper and positive outcome. Ms. Muhammad adds, “Unlike many sports, especially team sports, a boxer usually only gets one opportunity to win a world championship and a chance to attain fame and wealth. That opportunity should not be spoiled by an uncorrected error.”