Dissecting a Boxing Round: 180 Seconds of Action and Inactivity how to score

Dissecting a Boxing Round: 180 Seconds of Action and Inactivity

Published On Thursday, July 2, 2020By Boxing News Now
Related Tags: Barry Lindenman

Breaking down a round in boxing

By Barry Lindenman

The average National Football League (NFL) game lasts 3 hours and 12 minutes.  The average length of a play in the NFL is only 4 seconds.  From the time the ball is snapped to the time the referee blows the whistle to end the play is only 4 seconds!  That means that, on average, the total time the ball is in play during an NFL game is 11 minutes.  The rest of the 3 hours of an NFL game is taken up by huddles, replays, commercials, halftime shows, penalties, etc. 

The same can be said of a boxing round. Most people think of a round as being a three-minute block of time.  I choose to view a round a little differently. In addition to lasting three minutes, a round can also be viewed as lasting 180 seconds.

The reason I would suggest viewing a round in terms of “seconds” instead of “minutes” is that if you dissect a round, like an NFL game or a Major League baseball game, you will notice that in many rounds, nothing happens.

“Nothing” in terms of:

  • Action
  • Scoring activity
  • Changing your score


In boxing as with other sports, there are a lot of “dead zones” where little or no action is taking place. In many rounds, the two fighters are posing, or holding or clinching, etc.  During these actions, precious seconds are ticking off the clock. When this happens, a judge should realize that these actions have no impact on their scoring.  Instead, a judge should focus and concentrate their attention on those periods of activity during a round where:

  • Punches that are thrown
  • Punches that score
  • Punches that do damage
  • Punches that have value
  • Punches that have an effect on their opponent


The final takeaway for judges from this is best said by UCLA basketball coach John Wooden: "Don't mistake activity for achievement"

Just because a fighter is throwing a lot of punches doesn’t necessarily mean that the punches are landing or that they are effective against their opponent.  Without calling out a specific fight or any specific fighter, there are numerous examples of fights where one fighter threw many more punches than their opponent, but landed very few.  A judge shouldn’t be swayed by one fighter’s activity if the majority of those punches aren’t landing and aren’t being effective against their opponent. Although every fight is different and every round is different, it is important for a boxing judge who is paid to score each round accurately and objectively to focus their attention on those periods of time during a round that have an effect on their final score.

“Seconds” in boxing relate to the people in a fighter’s corner (trainer, cut man, assistant, etc.) who are there to assist a boxer with advice and treatment of injuries between rounds. For a boxing judge, “seconds” is another way to view the length of time in a round instead of the traditional three-minute block of time.

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