Allegations of rigged judging and payoffs to judges have tainted
nearly every major international boxing event since the late
1980s--and Sydney may be no different. The Cuban team walked out
of the '99 world championships in Houston claiming the judging
was biased against it. AIBA, the sport's governing body, has been
plagued by politics, scandal and skepticism.
That said, AIBA is at least trying to improve the sport's image.
It reversed the decision that had robbed Cuban welterweight Juan
Hernandez of a gold medal in Houston and handed out four-year
suspensions to four of the bout's five judges. Though AIBA voted
down several reform recommendations made by the IOC in 1997,
including a suggestion that judges' scores be posted on a
scoreboard after each round, it will for the first time use what
it calls "spy cameras" to monitor Olympic judges. These video
cameras will record the action in the ring from each judge's
perspective; if supervisors suspect a judge of logging phony
hits--or failing to register hits, another common trick--the
electronic scoring data entered by that judge can be superimposed
on the video. In addition a computer will track and analyze each
judge's scoring patterns throughout the Games.
Judges have been warned that failure to report an attempt at
bribery will result in their immediate suspension. "And if they
can prove [a payoff attempt]," says AIBA general secretary Loring
Baker, "AIBA will give them double what the bribe offer was.
That's double your money back for being honest."
Only in boxing.
--Luis Fernando Llosa