Every now and then, the tinkering mood just hits.
Especially when I’m feeling bored, introspective, forward-thinking … whatever, and I begin pondering ways in which I can make the things I genuinely enjoy even better.
For a lot of guys, that probably means loading up the pickup truck and heading to the nearest Lowe’s or Home Depot location. But to guys like me, who are far more capable with a keyboard than a screwdriver, it becomes far more a cerebral pursuit than a hands-on one.
And in this case, the thing I’m angling to improve is boxing.
Now, some things about our sport are simply unchangeable through the actions of one middle-aged writer on the Southwest Florida coast.
Big fights are still going to be constructed by executives in corner offices as much as they are made based on logic. And broadcasters will still lean toward car-crash titillation far more than sublime brilliance when it comes to where they point their cameras.
Examples of those two points are clear enough without naming names.
Anyway, a new idea popped in my head over the weekend as I watched the 154-pound unification fight – both live on Saturday and again on replay Monday morning – between dueling belt-holders Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano.
It was an adequate, if not particularly satisfying result if you ask me.
I scored it 114 apiece after giving Charlo the last three rounds.
In fact, the only negative takeaway came from the ridiculous scorecard that saw Charlo winning nine of 12 rounds – when it took a mite bit of charitable sentiment to get him to 6-6 in the first place.
But that was not what really bothered me.
In fact, the fight itself was merely a catalyst only because of its so-called “draw” result, not because any other specifics about it link to my subsequent brainstorm.
Instead, while recalling oft-used phrases like “you’ve got to take the fight to a champion” and “you’ve got to do more than a champion to win his title” that have resulted from past deadlocks, I came up with something else entirely.
How about, in cases where championship fights end in draws, all titles are declared vacant?
My logic is simple. Once a champion unwraps the title belt from his waist or pulls it off his shoulder before a fight, he is no longer in possession of the trinket.
It’s up for grabs.
So, the fighters subsequently competing for it in the ring should be viewed as equals, not in a pecking order based on their past results or accomplishments.
If the Super Bowl is tied after four quarters this February, the refs will not hand the Lombardi Trophy back to the Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers thanks to their incumbent status.
Nor, in play for hockey’s Stanley Cup come the 2021-22 season – for the eight people out there that watch hockey – will the Tampa Bay Lightning again be awarded the silver chalice at the end a tied Game 7 simply because they have earned the last two Cups.
Instead, those champions would have to play to maintain hold on their kingdoms.
But even in the absence of a suitably similar OT mechanism in boxing – unless we are all-in on resurrecting the old 13th-round idea from the ESPN tournaments of days gone by – it is still a simple fix.
If the assigned judges simply cannot come up with a verdict sufficient to declare one of the fighters as superior – like on Saturday night – then they should continue to be viewed as equals in the aftermath.
Automatically make them contenders 1 and 1a for the title or titles up for grabs and order an immediate rematch before either moves on. And if one balks at the idea of another get-together, bump him out of the queue and promote contender No. 2 for a shot.
Of course, if the status quo is not quite ready for vacating titles in the event of draws, I get it.
And if that is the reality, then the only remaining solution is to eliminate the draw as an option.
Toward that end, have an additional judge in the building scoring the fight in real time along with the official trio. And if the verdict is locked up after the tallying of the first three scores, go automatically to No. 4 to break the tie.
Or if folks are feeling particularly progressive, have a media pool cast the deciding vote – with the consensus tally of a predetermined gaggle of media scorers serving as a unified scorecard to be used in the event of the, errr… most hung of hung juries.
Anything would be better and more pleasing than a draw, particularly when an encore is not a lock.
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This week’s title-fight schedule:
No title fights scheduled.
Last week's picks: None
2021 picks record: 26-7 (78.7 percent)
Overall picks record: 1,182-382 (75.5 percent)
NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA "world championships" are only included if no "super champion" exists in the weight class.
Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.