There’s been a lot of consternation and hand wringing in the boxing scene since Manny Pacquiao lost a bullsh*t decision to Timothy Bradley a few weeks ago. Everyone but the people at the NSAC responsible for the screw up thought it was an outrageously bad moment for boxing, and just the latest black eye caused by incompetent judging. So with that as your backdrop, you might understand why some are getting pretty excited about the possibility of a gizmo dubbed Punchforce. Via the Wall Street Journal:
The device is shaped like a piece of Bazooka bubble gum. It weighs in at 7.9 grams and belongs to HBO, the heavyweight among boxing broadcasters.
This technology, called PunchForce, is designed to measure the speed and force of a boxer’s punches and transmit that information instantaneously to viewers of HBO broadcasts. But its real potential is far broader: If it works, it could help this struggling sport fix one of its most nagging flaws.
Like instant replay in baseball, the system would offer perspective about what actually took place between contestants, enhancing the ability of viewers to judge the judges. To many in boxing, the potential value of such punch analysis was underscored by the controversial June 9 bout between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, which Bradley won in a split decision despite a widespread perception that Pacquiao had prevailed.
The device isn’t perfectly accurate. Nathan Langholz, a UCLA Ph.D. candidate in statistics, studied PunchForce as a consultant to HBO. His work concluded that the technology had an accuracy rate of 80.5% when it came to force and 86.5% when it came to speed.
That may not sound bulletproof. But that’s “more accurate than most speedometers in people’s cars and more accurate than a lot of the technology we take for granted every day,” said Edis.
Although approved for use in Nevada, PunchForce still must get the OK in other states where HBO might want to use it. Moreover, boxers would need to agree to wear the sensor on their wrists, according to the minutes of a Nevada boxing-commission meeting from 2010.
It’d be cool to get something like this in MMA, especially with all the recent attention being paid to stats like FightMetric. I dig what these guys are trying to do but think there are flaws in the concept of ‘significant strikes’, which include ‘all strikes at distance’ regardless of if it’s a grazing jab or a Dan Henderson H-bomb.
I doubt it will actually fix anything with judging. The problem we have there isn’t caused by a lack of gizmos or problems with the scoring criteria. It’s caused by sh*tty judges who are never officially criticized, let alone fired for doing terrible jobs. Check out the judges for the Pacquaio / Bradley fight: two of them were over 70 years old. Not to be all agist or anything but people older than 60 should be ground up into soylent green and fed to third world children.