Mineral Ridge resident keeps busy with title assignments
By Greg Gulas
A boxing judge at the top of his or her game is usually rewarded with three, perhaps four championship fights over the course of a year.
Tom Miller of Mineral Ridge, an Austintown native, has averaged nearly nine title assignments over the past four years.
Addressing the Curbstone Coaches Monday, Miller stated that fans will begin to notice some changes in the boxing game over the next year.
“Since becoming a judge in 1992, boxing has been really, really good to me,” Miller said. “I’ve visited 22 countries, traveled the world, worked nationally televised championship fights and met people that I ordinarily would not have met.
“That being said, changes that have been talked about the past several years are slowly taking place.” One is the implementation of a computer scoring system as the boxing world tries to keep up with the ever changing world of technology.
“The WBA actually started using an electronic scoring system a few months ago,” Miller said. “There’s a pad at the judge’s foot and at the end of each round they send their scores over to the supervisor, who then tabulates the score electronically.
“It’s really not a bad concept,” Miller said.
Miller has also done additional research which may ultimately aid the “Big Five” boxing organizations (WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO) in yet another boxing first.
“I’ve done extensive research and have found boxing to be the only sport in which you do not know who is winning as the fight unfolds,” Miller said. “You know the score and everything about the game as it transpires in football, basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling and even in golf, but never in boxing.
“For the past several monthsm the WBC has been announcing the scores every four rounds, yet there remains both pros and cons,” Miller said. “The pros are that everyone from the fighter to the audience knows who is winning, giving those in the ring an idea of what might need to be done during the final rounds if they expect to win.”
“One negative is that an older judge with experience might have a different score than a younger judge with less experience, so the younger judge might feel a need to play catch-up with his scoring.
“I’m in favor of at least giving this idea a try.”
Miller also said that while instant replay is being bantered about, there is no place in boxing right now for that electronic medium, which has been a great help in the other high-profile sports.
“The commission is toying with the idea of using instant replay between rounds so that referees can review either a knockdown or slip,” Miller said. “It’s virtually impossible to do within a minute if you want to do it right, so it would allow too much recovery time for the fighter knocked down while penalizing the fighter who did the knocking down.”
Miller will add his 24th regional title fight judged this Saturday when he judges the IBF North American Heavyweight Championship of the World between champion Tomasz Adamek (Jersey City, N.J.) and challenger Steve Cunningham (Philadelphia) at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pa.
The fight will be televised by NBC beginning at 4 p.m.
The Curbstone Coaches will break for the holidays but will resume on Jan. 7 when Eric Ryan, executive director of the Covelli Centre, will be guest speaker.