The Pod Index Hits Germany

By Robert Ecksel on May 22, 2013
The Pod Index Hits Germany
The Pod Index Online Software will be unveiled Friday at the IBF convention in Germany.

The Pod Index is a measurement of judging consistency. Since there is no “true correct score” in a boxing round, the truth becomes relative…

Matt Podgorski, a process improvement professional by trade, is the creator of the Pod Index—a metric to determine the level of consistency between judges’ round-by round scores. He uses data for all major (IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC, & WBO) world title fights since 2009. The software recently went live online: www.podindex.org.

Matt, what exactly is the Pod Index and how does the calculation work?

The Pod Index is a measurement of judging consistency.  We use the word consistency in this case to refer to agreement with the other two judges at ringside. Since there is no “true correct score” in a boxing round, the truth becomes relative. Therefore, in this system, if all three judges agree on a score, that becomes the “truth.”

Without going into too much boring statistical detail, the Pod Index measures the amount off difference (Δ) between a judge’s score for fighter A against the other two judges’ score for fighter A for that round. Repeat for fighter B. So if a judge scores one round identical to both of the other judges, he/she would receive a perfect score for that round.

How do you respond to concerns that a judge could receive a low Pod Index because they worked with two judges that “scored it wrong”?

Fair question; this one comes up a lot. One should not draw conclusions based on the Pod Index for one fight. The metric only works with a large and representative sample size. Using statistical methodologies, we determined that a judge must have logged a sample size of at least 60 rounds, and must have worked across at least a few of the different critical variables (competitiveness, different partners, etc).

To be clear, we never claim that a Pod Index score equates automatically to good/bad.  It is, rather, a measurement of agreement with other judges.  A low level of agreement could indicate that the judge has a particular style preference that is different from the mainstream of judges’ style preference.

How will this help boxing?

We believe this metric determines how often a judge “sees” rounds similarly to their counterparts. If they do not, they can begin a dialogue to understand why. Is it because they give more value to one of the four scoring elements than other judges (i.e., effective aggressiveness)? Is it because one is more impressed with quantity rather than quality of punches? The metric can help identify differences of interpretation.  Identification is step one on the journey to standardize and improve judging. Also, the metric is a purely objective tool that commissions and international sanctioning bodies rely on as 100% impartial.

Ultimately, the increased transparency to the fans and media will increase the sport’s credibility.

What’s next?

Until recently, the Pod Index was used only on world championship bouts. Many folks have asked why this can’t be used on all fights. The answer is that it can. We are in the process of reaching out to state commissions in the U.S. and the ABC who keeps data as well. We are also engaging commissions outside of the U.S. So far, we have added to our database over 1,000 non-title fights.

Any group interested in submitting round by round scores and/or having visibility to the results can reach out to me directly: podindex@gmail.com

The tool that calculates the Pod Index actually does a lot more detailed analysis.  It can determine patterns and trends on many variables such as, location of the fight, home country, fatigue factors, weight class etc. We are also working on incorporating additional variables, such as promoter.

Anything else you would like to add?

I would like to thank my partners and all of those who have provided guidance throughout the creation and enhancement of the Pod Index, including Ring Magazine, Boxing.com, and the Ringside Boxing Show.

The Pod Index Online Software will be unveiled at the IBF 30th annual convention this week in Berlin, Germany.

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  1. Ted 06:30am, 05/24/2013

    Matt’s dad, Pete, is one of the best referees in boxing so Matt has some of this knowledge in his blood. I believe, Pete will be doing Froch vs. Kessler.

  2. Ted 06:28am, 05/24/2013

    Matt is smart because he is from Portage Park in Chicago where all smart lads come from.

  3. Eric 12:56pm, 05/23/2013

    Were Dempsey and Schmeling seperated at birth? It is remarkable how these men resemble each other. Not exactly twins, but they very well could pass for brothers.

  4. Michael Hegan 03:25pm, 05/22/2013

    another sparkly…..

    JUST be firm about judges who are completely out of the park….
    I don’t care if they were bribed…or just don’t see points scored , when one opponent lands a punch in the target area…..either way…they get bounced to the back of the line when they turn in a Bullshit score…..and if it happens again….they’re outta the big leagues…...let’m do the rubber chicken circuit….or just quit….

  5. Norm marcus 01:51pm, 05/22/2013

    Hey Robert: Interesting story on The Pod Index. But the more I read about it the more confused I become. Same feeling I get on April 15th when my taxes are due. I prefer an old fashioned 1-2 to the kisser! Lights out!
    Now the pic at the top of Max Schmeling and FDR made my day.
    I love it here at boxing.com where Schmeling, Louis, Baer, Dempsey etc. live forever.

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