Culture and Society

How do you win a boxing match?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. A cynical wag might simply answer that you win a boxing match once you've clobbered the other guy senseless. But, no surprise, the rules of the game make it much more complicated than that, even though there is likely to be plenty of clobbering going on as well. Boxing matches are divided into short rounds. In professional championship matches, there are 12 rounds of two or three minutes, but in lower divisions (that is, lower weight classes) there may be fewer, and shorter, rounds. There is a one-minute rest period between rounds. The classic boxing win is to achieve a KO (knockout) by felling your opponent so that he cannot regain his feet before the referee counts to ten (there's the clobbering we mentioned).

    However, there's another way to win -- by a technical knockout (TKO). A TKO is declared by the referee if your opponent is knocked down three times in a fight -- even if he returns to his feet in less than 10 seconds -- or if the opponent, his manager or a doctor says he cannot continue. If there's no KO and no TKO, there's still a third way to win -- by decision. In a decision, the fight judges (usually three judges, or two plus the referee, or five at an Olympic match) assign points for each round, and at the end of the match tally it all up to see who won the most rounds on points. Points are awarded for the number of punches landed on the opponent's body and may also include points for aggressiveness, control of the fight and damage to the opponent, such that a few successful punches win more points than many ineffective ones. Fouls you commit, meanwhile, add points to your opponent's score. The judges may not come to a unanimous decision, so you could win by a split decision, a majority decision, or a draw (a tie).

    One thing worth noting, while we're talking about people fighting each other on purpose, is that there is a world of difference between official boxing matches such as we've discussed and the kind of matches that take place in fight clubs. Boxing matches are structured and regulated; they involve a monetary prize for winners and losers, and the promoters take a cut. While unregulated, amateur fighting has existed for thousands of years, "fight clubs" are a cultural phenomenon that became popular after the publication of Chuck Palahniuk's 1996 novel Fight Club, and especially after its 1999 film adaptation. Real-life fight clubs, such as the one organized in San Francisco through Craigslist by a person named "Bloody Knuckles," typically involve no money and tend to have few rules. Furthermore, fight club activity is usually shrouded in secrecy, while professional boxing is an open spectator sport. After all, as the line goes in the film Fight Club: "The first rule of fight club is you don't talk about fight club."

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