If professional boxing is about doing damage then it will be crucial to have a mechanism for assessing power.
The amateur judges get off easy in this regard in that they do not have to evaluate damage or power. A landed shot counts, period regardless of whether it was a Joe Louis-knocking-out-Schmeling shot or if it was a punch that wouldn’t crack an egg.
Power is easy to gauge when a boxer is knocked off his or her feet or when a head snaps back or when a fighter loses balance after taking a blow. How do you measure it when none of those things happen?
Again it is important to have a clear criteria and not just a “i-know-it-when-see-it feel.
Here’s a basic series of questions judges must ask of themselves when it comes to evaluating a punch:
Question 1 Did it land?
Question 2 Did it land with the knuckles of the glove?
Question 3 Was the wrist and arm in alignment?
Question 4 Was the body set and were the mechanics in flow?
Question 5 Were the feet planted and balanced?
Does this mean that only properly thrown fundamental punches have power?
Not necessarily– but the laws of body mechanics will tend to point in that direction. When a fighter gets sloppy with wide swinging shots that pull the fighter away from the body’s center force is reduced. Sloppy shots can land and certainly hurt but not as much as when the punch was properly executed. A fighter off balance will not generate the same power as one that is mechanically balanced.
Watch George knockout Michael Moorer at 2:16. The punch at first looks underwhelming until you watch the trajectory and the body mechanics behind it.
And here’s a clip of some backyard boxing. Notice how often these guys land but how little damage it does.
Watch this video on power punching from Fight Science. Notice despite the different styles the similarities in the form when it comes to generating the most power.