By Boxing Bob Newman
Despite the fact that the WBC 50th Anniversary convention doesn’t officially open until this coming Monday, December 3rd, meetings have already begun and preparations continue at the Grand Oasis Hotel in Cancun, Mexico. Along with the registration of early arriving delegates and members, the ratings and ring officials meetings kicked off simultaneously in day-long sessions.
The ratings committee meeting began at 9 a.m. in the Business Center, headed up by chairman Frank Quill and vice chair Claude Jackson. This year, interested promoters and managers were asked to submit their respective fighters’ records and to lobby for ratings adjustments in writing. The committee members worked diligently to dissect the records, activity, and quality of opposition among the fighters who may be eligible to move up, or in several cases seen today move down based on the aforementioned criteria.
Today’s meeting began with the heavyweight division and moved downward, finishing for the day at super lightweight.
10 a.m. saw the judge’s portion of the ring officials seminar begin in The Oasis Arena. It was conducted by the chairman of the ring officials, Hubert Minn. As per the norm difficult rounds, often times with extraordinary circumstances, were viewed on video. The assembled judges and referees in attendance were asked to fill out mock score cards. One such round was the thrilling first round of James Kirkland vs. Alfredo Angulo. Kirkland took an early beating, hitting the deck in the process. He then returned the favor to Angulo, knocking him down and leaving him badly hurt at the end of the round. Opinions varied among the judges, some valued the volume of blows while others valued the more damaging punches.
Minn also discussed the responsibilities of WBC supervisors. A poll among officials was conducted, covering their concerns regarding supervisor roles. These included:
1. Pre and post fight meetings with the supervisor
2. A tentative printed schedule of events, press conference, dinners, etc.
3. A list of the room numbers and cell phone numbers of officials and supervisors for that fight
4. Printed confirmation of pick up to and from airport
5. Payment for service and reimbursement for airfare if applicable
An interesting innovation in scoring technology, known as Ringside Scoring, was presented by its creators George Wood, Chuck Scharnagle and Eric Bulock of Mohegan Sun Casinos and Sun App Ventures. Basically, Ringside Scoring consists of a touch screen about the size of a mini tablet, whose display screen will feature the two combatants in a given fight. At the end of a round the judges, each of whom will have their own screen in front of them, will simply touch a box next to each fighters on either side of the screen. A number pad will appear from which the judge can select a 10, 9, 8 or so on, which will then become that fighter’s score for that round. The judge is asked if they are sure they want to submit the score. Once verified, the scores are automatically transferred to a master score card electronically. There is no need for the referee to collect the three paper score cards from each judge at the end of each round. It also eliminates the need for the scores from each individual score card to then be manually transferred to a master score sheet. There is a bypass feature if a judge forgot a knockdown or misidentified which fighter he scored for. This system is already in the works at fight cards at Mohegan Sun Casino where Tribal Commission chairman, Mike Mazzulli, has fully endorsed it.
Tonight is a scheduled free night, which will see many of the delegates head over to the Deli Sport Bar to take in the Trout-Cotto clash at Madison Square Garden.
Legendary three time heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali is arriving tonight in Cancun. He will be staying at the presidential residence, which has been reserved for him and wife Lonnie aalong with his assistance staff during this week. Ali will be presented with a bejeweled crown, anointing him as the “King Of Boxing,” in a ceremony later this week.