Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight will be historic in at least one sense: it will be the first pay-per-view boxing event that will feature the use of instant replay to settle a potentially controversial fight conclusion.
While the sports world over the past few weeks has been debating about instant replay playing a greater role in Major League Baseball games, the Nevada Athletic Commission last month very quietly approved the use of instant replay for disputes surrounding the end of commission-sanctioned boxing matches, according to a recent ESPN.com article.
The article reported that instant replay can be used to review circumstances revolving around fight-ending injuries. Only the referee has the ability to call for a video review to determine if a head-butt or a punch caused a cut severe enough to end the fight, for example. Also, the referee can check the replay to determine if a fight-ending punch landed before or after the bell.
The applications of instant replay are very limited: it cannot be used to determine whether a fighter was knocked down by a punch or slipped on the canvass, nor can it be used to change a judge’s scorecard.
While no one anticipates that replay will be needed for the Nov. 14 Pacquiao-Cotto fight, its nice to know that it can be use to eliminate at least a few potentially controversial, fight-ending scenarios for a bout that will effectively shape next year’s PPV boxing schedule.