Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fight Report Exclusive Interview-Compubox

By Kevin Perry

It is rare in boxing that a company becomes a staple in the sport without being involved in the various controversies that continues to plague it. Since 1985, Compubox has blessed boxing with excellence providing punch stats for some of its most memorable fights. Co-founder Bob Canobbio(co-founder Logan Hobson left the company in 2002) was kind enough to discuss with me the past, present, and future of Compubox, the leading provider of punch stats for the fight game. Below are excerpts from this in-depth interview

Kevin Perry-Can you explain how you do the punch stats? Do you use two guys, three guys?
Bob Canobbio- The way it works is there are two operators. They share a laptop computer. They pick one fighter each. There are four keys for each operator. Jab connect, Jab miss, Power connect, Power miss. We call a non jab a power punch for lack of a better description. I know some people who really don’t really understand the program have said in the past, “How can a guy land 300 power punches and not knock the guy out?” Well we call it power punch because it sounds better than non jab.

Perry-Why don’t you provide stats for Showtime?
Canobbio-Money (laughs) - Back in the day we did do Showtime. HBO was our first client. When I was with Sports Illustrated I worked as a freelancer for HBO on some of their shows. That’s how I got to know Ross Greenburg who is now president of HBO, but back then he was the producer… He’s the guy who was first person we went to with the program. We went to him with the program he saw it and he bought it and it was like wow. This is it. I guess we’re in business. Back in day we did HBO and that was our only client, and back then they only did about eight to ten shows per year…Then we also did a couple of Showtime fights. And HBO said “Well, what can we do to entice you guys not to do Showtime”? We want you exclusively. We said “You can give us some more money”. So we worked out a deal that was suitable for both sides. It has been that way since 1985. On paid cable we’re exclusive to HBO.

Perry- What are the most memorable events that you’ve covered over the years?
Canobbio - Number one would have to be Leonard Hagler because we worked with Ray Leonard while he was in retirement he was a commentator for HBO. So we got to know him a little bit. It was 1987 and the company was relatively new. It was outdoors Caesars Palace. No one gave Ray a chance at winning he was a 4-1 underdog. For the moment that was kind of special to see him pull that off. A close close second would have to be Hagler Hearns. Another event outdoors Caesars Palace if you’ve ever been there it was something that was really magical back then. The fights started at dusk…Those three rounds were probably the most memorable three rounds. And a close third would be Tyson Douglas because it was almost surrealistic the way that went down.

Perry- As far as punch stats, what’s the most memorable punch stat that you can remember?
Canobbio-It would have to be the all-time record for most punches thrown in a fight which was 3,020 by Zack Padilla and Ray Olivera…They just threw punches from bell to bell…we just going crazy trying to keep up with those guys.

Perry -Do you have any plans in the future to create a system to do stats for Mixed Martial Arts.
Canobbio- We are currently in the process of developing a program that will count strikes, count knockdowns, count submission attempts, submission escapes. We’re having talks with the International Fight League…We’re having serious talks about hopefully coming onboard fairly soon. We’re very interested in getting involved with the UFC. HBO is going to get involved and we’re going to make our presentation shortly and we hope to be involved. I’ve been studying a lot of fights compiling data…we can show exactly what they’re landing, and how many…we hope in time to build up a database to let fans know who throws the most strikes, who throws kicks the most…We’re going to provide the fans with stats that they’ve never seen before for mixed martial arts…We’re also working on technology that will measure the force of punches as well. We want to try to do it for both sports of possible. That is our plan to tell not just how many but how hard. We’re hopefully going to roll that out sometime in mid 2007.

-Kevin Perry is a regular featured writer for FightReport.net


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