If you've ever watched a professional boxing match on television you've probably heard of CompuBox. But what is this mysterious, magical thingy that counts punches?
CompuBox is actually a computer program developed in 1985 (originally named FightStat) for TV networks to be able to display a relatively accurate view of punching statistics during a fight. It was initially developed in order to help settle controversies by offering a statistical count of the quantity and "quality" of punches thrown. The software tracks punches landed to the body and to the head and categorizes them by type (jab or power punch) and whether the punch was a hit or miss. The software can then display the number of punches thrown versus landed and compare percentages of each fighter.
CompuBox is prone to errors, but the stats are not used in determining the outcome of a bout. The CompuBox stats merely help tell the story...
CompuBox is actually operated by two humans, each watching one of the combatants and keying in every time a punch is thrown as to whether it was a jab connect or miss or a power connect or miss. Because of the human element, CompuBox is prone to errors, but it's no matter as these stats are not official and, unlike the flawed electronic scoring in the Olympics, not used in determining the outcome of a bout. The CompuBox stats merely help tell the story and give viewers a somewhat tangible look at the action.
Many of the usual suspects in television boxing use CompuBox - HBO, Showtime, ESPN and NBC. The software has also been used privately by some big name trainers in order to evaluate future opponents of their fighters or to analyze sparring sessions.
So now, much in the same way a fan can follow the stats of their favorite team sport athlete, they have access to comparable statistics for a glimpse of how their fighter did in a certain bout. When do you think they'll start making boxing trading cards?!