If both fighters go the distance, then the victor is decided but just three people. But how do we know if the judges are good at their job? (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
If two fighters do not knock each other out during the fight, then the decision of who won the fight lies in the hands of three people. Three people act as the sole arbiters, and their decision is final. There are many situations where we openly complain about their decisions, especially when we feel that one fighter got absolutely robbed like in the Williams-Lara fight. However we rarely think about judges outside of the ring.
Greg Gulas of The Vindicator in Ohio has an interesting report on a local judge, Tom Miller. Tom has been a professional judge since 1996 and he has judged title bouts for the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO. Last year alone, he judged 12 professional title fights (25 fights overall) and logged over 55,000 miles in air travel. He opened last year by judging the Alexander-Bradley fight, he had the tightest scorecard at 96-95 Bradley, and closed the year by watching Koki Kameda KO Mario Macias in the fourth. Even though Tom lives in Ohio, he was called on to judge fights in Argentina, Georgia (the country), Japan, and Panama. To be fair, if I lived in Youngstown, Ohio, I would want to travel the world too.
Miller has worked a total of 72 world title fights over his entire career. You don't get to his position without having a couple of role models.
"It is only my opinion, but I consider both Glenn [Feldman] and Duane [Ford] to be the best two judges in the world and admire their demeanor prior to, during and after a fight. I had the chance to work with both of them this past year. They remain the ultimate professionals in my book and for me it was an experience if a lifetime."
It sounds like he is a great guy who is very thankful for having his job as a judge. Yet, it is unclear whether or not he is a decent judge. Looking through his record on Boxrec, he has made some interesting decisions. He was the one judge who gave the Clottey-Cotto fight to Clottey, and he scored the first John-Juarez fight a draw. Do these decisions make Miller a bad judge? How would determine if a judge had a bad performance, or a good performance? Could we then keep a rating system of the current judges in order to see who are "good" judges vs. "bad" judges? How would you guys tackle these difficult questions?