Be Your Own Judge with Advice from Harold Lederman

Download an exclusive Pacquiao-Rios scorecard and score the fight at home. Harold Lederman, HBO's unofficial ringside scorer, guides you through what to look for in the fight:

Since I have to keep score, I never pick a winner in advance, because I don't want people to think I'm partial to either fighter. But you gotta face reality and the reality is they're fighting in Pacquiao country. There's a relatively new judge in Lisa Giampa, you wonder if she might be swayed by the crowd in the closer rounds.

Brandon Rios has a lot to overcome in this fight. If you look at his last fight, he's had some problems. There was a weight problem in the fight with [John] Murray; I thought he lost against [Richar] Abril; and he did lose against [Mike] Alvarado the second time. Then Robert Garcia has a decision to make, since he's training [Evgeny] Gradovich as well. Is he going to be in his corner? If he is, who's gonna wrap Rios's hands?

If I had to predict what might what happen, I think it'll be a sensational night and sensational fight for Manny Pacquiao. He's motivated by the fact that he lost his last two fights. But even in those two, I had him winning the [Timothy] Bradley fight 11-1. And as far as the fight against [Juan Manuel] Marquez, he got hit by a punch he didn't see. Maybe he heard the 10-second mark and just dropped his hands thinking the bell was about to ring. He was winning when he got knocked out.

Now he's probably, saying, "I'm gonna kill this guy because I need a win." Especially, in front of his fans and family. And don't forget future voters! This is his constituency. All signs are pointing to a great performance by Manny Pacquiao.

You look at style to see who's the better ring general, who's landing the cleaner and harder shots. And I think that favors Pacquiao. Effective aggression might favor Rios, as he tends to be the aggressor. But I don't think it would make much of a difference.

Read the primer on How to Score a Fight Right with Harold Lederman.

How to Score a Fight Right with Harold Lederman

By Kieran Mulvaney

Download an exclusive Pacquiao-Bradley scorecard to keep tabs on the action this Saturday night. And don't forget to submit your round-by-round numbers to @HBOBoxing throughout the fights.

There are few sports in which victory can be achieved as suddenly, as shockingly, and as definitively as boxing. One punch can render a man unconscious and another triumphant in the blink of an eye. On the other hand, if a fight lasts the distance and goes to the scorecards, especially if the battle has been a close one, two people sitting within feet of each other can reach entirely different decisions about which boxer deserves to have his hand raised.

Professional boxing is scored by three ringside judges, using what is known as the ‘ten points must’ system. That means that the winner of each round must get 10 points (unless he has a point deducted for a foul such as repeated low blows). The loser gets 9 points – again, unless he is deducted a point for a foul, or for being knocked down. There is theoretically no limit to how many points a boxer can lose from repeated knockdowns - although, notes HBO’s ‘unofficial official’ Harold Lederman, “There are jurisdictions that say you shouldn’t go past 10-6 because then the gap is so wide the other guy can’t catch up.”

If, when the bout is over, all three judges score in favor of one fighter, he wins a unanimous decision. If one judge scores for Fighter A and the others for Fighter B, B wins a split decision. If two judges score for Fighter A, and the other sees it even, Fighter A wins a majority decision. Theoretically, a fighter could win five rounds clearly, beating up his opponent without knocking him down, but lose the other seven by the narrowest of margins and so, despite appearing to be the dominant boxer, lose a decision. Lederman says that’s largely because of many judges’ reluctance to score rounds wider than 10-9 without a knockdown, which he says is one element of judging he would like to see changed:

“You see rounds where a guy’s hardly doing a darn thing and they score the round 10-9, and the truth of the matter is, it’s not fair,” he says. “Because what happens is, one guy wins the round really wide and if the judges went to 10-8, it would be the difference in the fight.”

While nothing can rid scoring of its inherent subjectivity, Lederman offers a few guidelines on how best to judge a fight and determine the winner:

Read Harold's guidelines on

Pacquiao vs. Marquez: Who won the first two fights?

By Eric Raskin

Photo Credit: Will Hart

The first battle between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, waged in 2004 at the MGM Grand, became an instant classic featuring one of the most stirring comebacks in boxing history. The rematch, fought almost four years later at Mandalay Bay, was arguably even more action-packed and punishing than the first fight. And both bouts were as controversial as they were thrilling – to this day, there is nothing resembling a consensus on who won either fight. Our roundtable of boxing experts, including Jim Lampley and Harold Lederman, follows the same trend: Everyone has a different perspective on who won and why.

> After hearing from the experts, cast your own vote on who deserved the victory in the first two fights, and who you think will win the third matchup.