It’s been a long hiatus while the early round winners recovered from their bouts and trained for the next fights … interrupted by a lot of traveling, the holidays, and not having much time to get back on the game table … I have made good use of the time though, when not actually able to play, I have read A. J. Liebling’s two books collecting his articles from the New Yorker magazine: “The Sweet Science” and “A Neutral Corner.” If anyone hasn’t read these yet, I highly recommend them to all boxing fans, great stories about the fight game, matches, boxers, trainers, managers, fans, venues, it’s all there! In the fullness of time I’m thinking about doing a series of bouts in tribute to A. J. Liebling, starting at the beginning of “The Sweet Science” and going through bout by bout to the end of “A Neutral Corner.”
Also while on fighting hiatus, I went all-in on the Title Bout II Kickstarter and have been following the new Facebook page for TBII. This is going to be a great follow-up game from Jim Trunzo building on his early TBI design that I have been enjoying so much! By the time everyone reads this, the printed game should nearly be in hand and on the table! Some of the early results from players using the download files for print and play look really great and I’m eager to give TBII a try soon. The Kickstarter included books and a forthcoming set of middleweights to go along with the first release of heavyweights, so I’m filling in the boxing corner of my game playing hobby very nicely.
Meanwhile back to the flyweights! I made two adjustments for the bouts. In the qualifying round I was counting any punch not landed as missed, and that was pulling down endurance too rapidly, so for the quarterfinal and subsequent bouts, I counted punches as missed only if they fell with the adjusted Punch Landed and Missed Punch range. I recorded clinches and ring movement as clinches and ring movement, but didn’t use the optional rules to include these in scoring, and that kept the endurance calculation more realistic. I don’t believe the outcome of the qualifying bouts would have been altered if I had done this from the beginning, but if it did, well that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes …
Another adjustment was to keep some mystery about the judges scoring until the end of the bout to keep up the suspense in closely contested fights. If there was a clear winner, point differential range 6-12, then it was 10-9, but if 1-5 or 13-16, I scored those at the end of the bout. That was a lot of fun, because one of the bouts was close as it unfolded round by round, and you can never trust the judges to see the fight the way you do!
As before, I recorded each action card, card-by-card, and have pages and pages of detailed information on each bout. I’ll spare you all the details and provide a round by round overview of the highlights as the tournament went through its stages.
To bring everyone up to date, here were the results from the qualifying bouts:
And now the first bout of the quarterfinals is between Seeds 4 and 5.
Shoji Oguma vs. Yoko Gushiken
Oguma is a straight out Slugger and against a Boxer he would have a Control Factor of 8. Gushiken can be a Boxer or a Slugger, and for this bout he chose to be a Boxer to force Oguma to use a CF of 8 thereby gaining a CF advantage with 9 against the Slugger’s 8, although that will reduce his hitting power from a fairly weak 7 down to a 6. Gushiken will be going for more punches landed, but with less chance of a knockdown. Adjusting the 8 to 9 CF to 9 for Oguma and 10 for Gushiken, we are ready to begin!
Oguma came out aggressively at the bell for Round 1, then Gushiken quickly gained control but missed several punches, followed by the fighters moving around the ring taking the measure of each other. Then suddenly Oguma scored on a hard jab followed immediately by a scoring left hook from Gushiken. There were several more missed punches, then Oguma scored on a combination. With about a minute to go, Gushiken took control and scored on a hard combination, a couple of hooks and a jab, and also missed a couple of punches as well. At the bell it looked like a clear winning round for Gushiken.
Round 2 began almost the same as Round 1 with Oguma coming out aggressively, but losing control early to Gushiken who scored on a cross and a jab, with Oguma countering with a cross, then Gushiken scoring on a hard cross. About half way into the round Oguma took control and scored on a hook, a hard cross, and a hard uppercut, then Gushiken briefly gained control and landed a scoring hook. Oguma regained control and finished the round with two scoring punches. Oguma was the clear winner of Round 2, and the fight was dead even after two rounds.
Oguma came out aggressively for Round 3 hoping to keep the momentum going his way, and staggered Gushiken with a brutal uppercut and followed with a scoring jab. Gushiken wasn’t dazed too badly though and scored with a combination and a hook, then Oguma regained control and scored with a combination. With less than a minute to go, Gushiken clearly butted Oguma, the Referee stopped the action to admonish Gushiken and instructed the judges to deduct two points from his punch score for the round. Oguma was temporarily dazed by the butt, and Gushiken scored on a cross, but Oguma now angered, connected with a staggering hook just as the round ended. Oguma clearly outpointed Gushiken in this round and was now ahead in the bout.
Round 4 opened with Oguma aggressively gaining control, but punching wildly, and Gushiken scored on a hard hook. After a series of missed punches and clinches Oguma caught Gushiken with a hard uppercut. The fighters danced around the ring then Gushiken closed in and scored on a hard cross, missed a follow-up punch, and then scored on another hard cross, finishing the round with two scoring crosses at the bell. Gushiken was the clear winner in this round and the back and forth fight is now dead even again!
Round 5 started with Gushiken quickly taking control trying to sustain his momentum and he scored on a hook and a hard uppercut, but then Oguma not phased at all, took over and scored a staggering combination, a jab, and a staggering cross, snapping Gushiken’s head around. Gushiken didn’t go down, and looked unphased when he countered with a jab and scored with a cross. Oguma tried to regain the advantage, but missed a couple of punches and finished the round scoring on a cross. With the solid back and forth action, Oguma was slightly ahead on punches scored, but you never know how the judges see it until the end of the bout! The fight half done and it’s about as even as it could be!
Oguma started to put the pressure on, hoping to emerge from a close bout, and after trading scoring punches, about half way through the Round 6, scored on a series of hard punches. After taking all this punishment, Gushiken countered with a scoring punch with about 30 seconds to go, but Oguma closed out the round with a hard jab and a scoring hook. Oguma established dominance in this round and the only issue would be whether the judges saw it as 10-8 or 10-9.
Round 7 saw Oguma come out aggressively and try to continue his dominance over a clearly tiring Gushiken. Oguma set up a jab and then followed with a staggering cross. Gushiken moved defensively and was then warned by the referee for a low blow. The bout continued and taking advantage of the moment, Gushiken scored on a hard combination and then an uppercut. Oguma finished the round scoring on a hook just before the bell. Again, on the strength of the early punches, Oguma was slightly ahead on punches scored, but the round could go either way on the judges’ cards! Those early staggering blows sapped Gushiken’s endurance though, and he would tire rapidly from this point on to the end of the bout.
Oguma was determined to finish the fight right now, and started strong in Round 8, scoring on a hard uppercut and a hard hook. Gushiken fought on gamely though and scored on a combination and a hard cross, then the two fighters traded scoring punches to the end of the round. Again Oguma was slightly ahead on punches scored, but there was no clear round winner until we can see the judges’ cards at the end. Oguma was now tiring as well, but still had a shred of endurance in reserve.
Round 9 opened with Gushiken finding a depth of strength and he scored first on a hard cross. Oguma came back with a hard hook and scored with a second hook. Oguma missed a couple of punches, and Gushiken clinched, then Gushiken scored on a hook as the fighters broke away. Now angered Oguma scored a jab and opened a bad gash over Gushiken’s right eye, with the blood affecting Gushiken’s vision. Oguma went to work on the right eye and scored another jab opening another bad gash over the right eye, and Gushiken was in trouble now! Oguma scored on another jab, but Gushiken would not give up. Gushiken missed a punch, then landed a combination. Oguma finished the round with a hard jab at the bell. With the early hard punches and the cuts, Oguma outscored Gushiken by a clear margin and clearly took this round. The gashes were severe and the ring doctor stepped in to evaluate Gushiken’s condition. Looking at the first cut, the doctor said that’s it, the fight cannot continue now!! The Referee ended the fight at the end of Round 9 awarding a Technical Knockout to Shoji Oguma!
So there we are the first quarterfinal bout in the books. It was a bruising fight and was almost dead even at the half way point. Even though it ended on a TKO, the fans were curious to know how it was scored with all those close rounds. Judge 1 had it 86-84 for Oguma, Judge 2 had it 87-84 for Oguma, and the Referee had it 88-83 for Oguma, scoring only Rounds 1 and 4 to Gushiken and the all the rest to the winner.
[Game play note: The first cut in Round 9 was pretty straightforward, following the cut evaluation sequence of steps. The second cut passed the cut reopen test on the Secondary Cut Chart and became a possible new cut, and when evaluated on the Primary Cut Chart, through random card draw, it became the identical cut that was already open. I couldn’t find anything in the rules about not having two identical cuts, so I kept them as two cuts and then did the condition check at the end of the round as if they were two cuts rather than a cut and a reopened cut. The probabilities are pretty close either way: 80% chance of no TKO on a reopened cut, and 90% x 90% = 81% chance of no TKO for two cuts. As it turned out the first cut failed the test and a TKO resulted without evaluating the second cut (which turned out to be no TKO when I flipped a card anyway just to see). If other veteran Title Bout players do this sort of thing differently, I would like to hear about your experiences. Also, in Title Bout II there is a definite rule that covers this situation and if the fighter passes the reopen cut test with a check for a new cut, if the new cut is the same as the reopen cut just passed, there is no “double jeopardy” and the new cut does not occur. If this rule applied to Title Bout I, there would have been no second cut, but the fight would still have ended on the TKO that came about for the first cut.]
So far, the two qualifying bouts and the first quarterfinal match have gone 29 of the scheduled 30 rounds, so I’m getting a lot of action out of each bout. Now with one of the four quarterfinal bouts in the record books, it’s time for the next bout.
Miguel Canto vs. Juan Jose Guzman
The second bout of the quarterfinals will feature Number 1 Seed Hall of Famer Miguel Canto against Number 8 Seed Juan Jose Guzman, a classic match-up between a Boxer and a Slugger! No fancy selection between Boxer and Slugger Control Factor ratings and Hitting Power adjustments, just put them in the ring and let them go at it hammer and tongs!
Guzman came out aggressively at the bell for Round 1, but Canto immediately gained control connecting with an uppercut and a combination. The combination opened a bad gash over Guzman’s right eye, hindering his fighting ability for the rest of the bout! Canto connected with a jab and then staggered Guzman with a combination, followed immediately with a scoring cross. Guzman clinched to try to stop the onslaught of punches, but as the fighters broke Canto scored with a viscous uppercut that knocked Guzman into the ropes. Canto moved in to finish it all, and connected with a hard jab followed by another jab. Guzman refused to fall and scored with a combination with about 20 seconds to go in the round. Canto finished with a scoring combination just before the bell. The ring doctor examined Guzman’s gash and also assessed all the punishment Guzman took in the first round and determined that the fight could continue. The boxing clinic put on by Canto showed his clear dominance, and with a punch score of 26 and a differential of +23, the only mystery left for the first round would be whether the judges scored it 10-7 or 10-8.
With a brief respite in the corner between rounds, Guzman came out aggressively again in Round 2, but then moved carefully to avoid an early punch. Guzman missed a punch and Canto countered immediately with a scoring cross followed by a combination that might have done more damage if it had hit squarely. Canto moved in again and scored with another combination, this time hitting Guzman squarely on the jaw, Guzman’s head snapped back and he went down to the mat for a 9-Count! There was no knockout, but it was close. Canto tried to finish it, but with moves and clinches and a missed punch, Guzman was able to hang on gamely. Guzman was wobbly and missed a punch and Canto scored with another jab, then a cross. Then suddenly Guzman found a hidden depth of reserve and landed a hard hook with only 20 seconds remaining in the round, he stayed in control and caught Canto with a jarring knockout-quality left that sent Canto into the ropes! Canto stayed on his feet and Guzman bore in wildly, missing a punch then landing a hard uppercut. Canto clinched and after breaking free Guzman missed a punch right at the bell.
With the knockdown and the additional punishment Canto inflicted on Guzman in Round 2, the ring doctor again stepped into Guzman’s corner between rounds. Even though Guzman had staged a comeback late in the round, the doctor determined that the combined two rounds of punishment was too much and said that the fight should not continue. The Referee ended the fight at the end of Round 2 awarding an Automatic Technical Knockout to Miguel Canto!
[Play Note: Well that was quick! Canto put on a real boxing clinic scoring 26 points in Round 1 and followed it up with 18 points in Round 2 with 10 points coming from the 9-count knockdown, totaling 44 points for the two rounds. Guzman’s two-round limit on the Automatic TKO chart is only 42 at a TKO rating of 3, so it was goodnight Irene!]
After all those long bouts, it was interesting and fun to have a short one. Next up!
Gutty Espadas vs. Martin Vargas
The third bout of the quarterfinals will feature Number 2 Seed Gutty Espadas against Number 7 Seed Martin Vargas. Both boxers can fight in either Boxer or Slugger style, and both chose to fight Slugger. Espadas has a Hitting Power advantage over Vargas, and Vargas didn’t want to make it a greater advantage, so he went with the Slugger style even though it gave Espadas a Control advantage. This could prove to be a faulty choice by Vargas … time will tell.
Espadas came out aggressively at the bell for Round 1, but Vargas took control and scored with a combination and a jab. Espadas came back with a scoring jab, then Vargas landed an uppercut. Then about a whole minute went by with the two fighters moving around the ring and missing punches before Espadas landed a scoring jab with about 30 seconds to go in the round, and then just before the bell Espadas scored with a combination. It was a low scoring round with only one punch point separating the two fighters. Vargas’ decision to go with Slugger style and leave a control advantage with Espadas hasn’t hurt him so far.
Espadas came out aggressively again in Round 2, but a clinch slowed the action, and Vargas took control, scoring with a hook and a hard jab followed by a vicious combination that snapped Espadas’ head back, and he crumpled to the canvas! The Referee picked up the count at three and continued, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten! Fight over! Vargas the underdog, but with his Hitting Power intact, scored a Knockout at 58 seconds of Round 2 to advance to the semifinals!
Looking back at the judges’ cards the first round had been scored by Judge 1 as Even 10-10, Judge 2 gave it to Espadas 10-9, and the Referee gave it to Vargas 10-9. The cards suggest that it’s best to have hitting power decide the issue and take the call out of the judges hands.
Another short bout with the very first Knockout of my Title Bout career! Next up!
Luis Estaba vs. Freddy Castillo
The third bout of the quarterfinals will feature Number 3 Seed Luis Estaba against Number 6 Seed Freddy Castillo. Both boxers can fight in either Boxer or Slugger style, and both chose to fight Slugger. There is no Control Factor advantage either way, and neither fighter wanted to give up any Hitting Power. So slugging it out is the order of the day!
Estaba came out very aggressively In Round 1, but a clinch slowed the action, and Castillo scored with a hook. Estaba was stung but immediately came back with a hook, then he rocked Castillo into the ropes with a savage cross. Estaba drove into Castillo on the ropes and scored with a hard hook, a hard jab, and another hard hook. Estaba maintained control and scored with an uppercut, another hard cross, then another hard cross. Castillo was taking extreme punishment, but was still on his feet, and traded missed punches before he caught Estaba with a scoring combination with less than 20 seconds to go in the round. Then just before the bell, Estaba landed a hard cross that sent Castillo wobbling back to his corner on rubber legs.
The ring doctor stepped into Castillo’s corner and after examining him determined that the relentless punishment was too much and said that the fight should not continue. The Referee ended the fight at the end of Round 1 awarding an Automatic Technical Knockout to Luis Estaba!
[Play Note: Well that was even quicker! Estaba took control early and was relentless in his punching power even though he didn’t knock Castillo down. That final hard cross just before the bell put Estaba’s punch score at 28, one more than Castillo’s one round limit of 27 on the Automatic TKO chart at a TKO rating of 3.]
Well there we are, the quarterfinal round of eight in the record books! Three of the top four seeds: Miguel Canto, Luis Estaba, and Shoji Oguma made it into the semifinals, and Martin Vargas came through from 7th Seed! The semifinal bouts will be matched as follows: Miguel Canto (1st Seed) vs. Shoji Oguma (4th Seed), and Martin Vargas (7th Seed) vs. Luis Estaba (3rd Seed).
We’ll give the fighters some time to rest and recuperate, and then onward to the semis!
Until then, enjoy your bouts!
All the best,
Thanks for this Jan....Title Bout for me is still one of the great sports illustrated designs out there I remember the first time I played this at a friends house and it was so much fun, and like I said just an incredible design experience.
Oh no.......I lose control....over to you.
Hi Blazing A!
I'm happy that you enjoyed it! I'll post the semifinal bouts soon, and then the championship! After that I'll report on a three bout set between Floyd Patterson and Ingemar Johansson. I'm a huge Floyd Patterson fan, and I've done two of the three bouts. So far I'm disappointed in the results ... but I'll say no more for now!
Enjoy your bouts!
All the best,