What Is A Technical Decision In Boxing?

eye cut and damaged from boxing injuryElsewhere on this site, you can read about the difference between a knockout and a technical knockout. Another term that is used in boxing is a ‘technical decision’, which sounds similar to the others but actually isn’t the same. Referees have a much tougher job than a lot of people tend to appreciate in the world of boxing. They not only need to keep an eye out on the mental faculties of both boxers to ensure that neither of them have suffered any sort of injury, but they also need to make sure that they’re fighting within the rules.

Sometimes, fighters step out of the rules laid out for them, which can result in the referee having to make a technical decision. The main example of this is when a fighter headbutts their opponent. If a cut is suffered, the referee needs to decide whether it was done by a punch or the collision of heads, with different outcomes depending on what they think. Either way, the boxer has to be looked at by a medical professional, but the referee needs to make a decision about the cause of the cut and whether a technical decision needs to be called.

Was It A Headbutt Or A Punch?

red punches blue in a boxing matchAnyone that has ever watched a boxing match will know that they can be volatile affairs. The two fighters are going up against one another in an attempt to literally hit them in the head in such a way that they win a fight. This isn’t for the feint-hearted, with the physicality involved often resulting in one or both of the fighters bleeding. Get punched in the head enough times and you’re likely to get a cut appearing, but it isn’t just legitimate punches that can result in cuts. Sometimes, boxers clash heads and cuts come about as a result.

As soon as the referee sees a cut, they need to get the fighter seen by a medical professional. There are doctors at ringside, who will inspect the boxer and do their best to stop the bleeding, with the referee getting the fighter looked at as many times as they think is needed. Only the referee is able to decide whether or not a cut was caused by a punch or a clash of heads, but the decision on that front is an incredibly important one as it dictates what happened with regards to the outcome of the fight as a whole.

What Happens Next

illustration referee awarding win and belt in boxing matchThe reason the referee’s decision over whether it was a punch or a headbutt is that it, quite literally, decides the likely outcome of the match. If a doctor declares that the fight cannot go on, the referee will declare how the cut was suffered If the cut was the result of a punch, the fighter that threw said punch will win the fight according to the technical knockout rules. If, on the other hand, a referee feels as though the cut was caused by an unintentional clash of heads then the decision will go over to the judges’ score cards.

Throughout boxing matches, three judges score the match as it is going on. They decide which boxer is leading at any given moment, with the fact that there are three of them done in order to stop the possibility of there being a draw. On occasions where an accidental headbutt or collision of heads has caused a cut, the outcome of the match will depend on how the judges scored the match at the moment of the cut. The fighter that is ahead on points at the moment will win according to technical decision.

It Depend On The Point In The Match That it Happens

round four sign shown at boxing match

Another thing to bear in mind about technical decisions is that it depends entirely on how long the fight has been going on for as to whether they will be used or not. In all instances, fights must go beyond the fourth round in order for technical decisions to come into play. If a fight is stopped because of a cut before the fourth round, it will be a draw irrespective of how the judges have it scored at that point. The fourth round was widely decided as being the right moment in a match at which enough information has been found to call a winner.

For some federations, the fourth round is irrelevant and it is the halfway point in the fight that must be reached in order for it to be decided by technical decision. In other words, if a fight was supposed to go on for ten rounds then it has to make it past the fifth for a technical decision to stick. If, on the other hand, it is a 12-round fight then it must make it past the sixth round before technical decisions can come into play. Otherwise, the fight will be called a draw if they haven’t got past the halfway mark, even if they have made it past the fourth round.

Example Of A Fight Decided By Technical Decision

illustration boxing match including judgesWhen it comes to fights that have been decided according to technical decisions, perhaps none were as controversial as the bout between Julio César Chávez and Frankie Randall back in May of 1994. The Pay-Per-View fight saw the pair going head-to-head for the World Boxing Council Light Welterweight title. The majority of people that were watching the fight had Randall ahead by a big margin when Chávez suffered a cut to his head in the eighth round that the doctor decided was bad enough to stop him from being able to carry on.

In spite of this, the judges felt that Chávez was leading and called it his way. He ended up winning by split technical decision. The fallout was that major boxing magazines, including The Ring and KO, were extremely critical of the judges. Ray Solis in particular was called out for scoring the bout in Chávez’s favour, with many feeling as though the win was a grossly unfair one. Regardless, Chávez re-gained his title from the man who had beaten him previously.