"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Pacquiao Versus Horn: A Lesson in Math

In boxing, if one does not win by a knockout, the victor is decided through a round by round scoring. A close round usually gives the winner of that round 10 points while the loser receives 9 points. A 10-8 score is often given when one boxer overwhelmingly wins a round. Thus, one simply has to win 7 out of the 12 rounds in a professional boxing match to be declared the winner. Winning 7 rounds means 70 points and losing 5 nets 45 points, leading to a total of 115. The loser scores 50 points from the 5 rounds won and 63 points from the 7 rounds lost, summing up to 113. The final score is therefore 115-113 favoring the boxer who has won two more rounds. In a recent boxing match, Pacquiao lost a hard fought fight via a unanimous decision when the three judges scored the match 117-111, 115-113, 115-113 in favor of Horn. Except for one judge, the call is indeed very close. Social media especially from the Philippines where Pacquiao currently serves as a senator are greatly displeased with the outcome. Posts showing the final statistics abound as if there is a simple lesson in math we have missed.

Above copied from
CompuBox
Boxing does offer simple lessons in math, but it is not in the way of total statistics. The match is weighed round by round and not by the total number of punches a boxer has landed. After all, the edge in the total statistics can be easily due to just a couple of good rounds. In one of the rounds, the ninth, Pacquiao connects 30 of 79 punches.

The 117-111 score is perhaps a real outlier, but one cannot deny that via a round-by-round scoring, this match does not have a real clear winner. And it is wrong to claim that Horn is not a deserving winner. Even the people at Sherdog.com give Horn the win:
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Horn (116-111 Pacquiao)
Gary Randall scores the round: 10-9 Horn (116-112 Horn)
Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Horn (115-112 Horn)
A boxer can win a match with three good rounds only if that boxer succeeds in stopping the fight. Otherwise, at the end, it is the boxer who wins the most rounds who is declared the champion. Below is the final score card for the Pacquiao versus Horn WBO welterweight boxing championship:

Above copied from Wikipedia

Finally, to illustrate how the outcome of this match really lies in the judges' scores, Bob Velin of USAToday, shares his scores by rounds. Velin has Pacquiao winning 116-112, but he gives all 3 close rounds (Rounds 3, 6 and 11) to Pacquiao. Merely doing the opposite gives Horn the win, 115-113.




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