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Problems and Considerations When Betting on Boxing

Problems And Considerations When Betting on Boxing
by Scotty L of

Boxing may very well be one of the simplest forms of betting, but the problems that accompany boxing wagering are plentiful. Let’s take a look at some of the different challenges boxing wagering presents.

Corruption and/or Incompetence

Boxing has become a marginalized sport over the years and much of the blame falls on the sport itself. Imagine if the Dodgers beat the Giants 6-3. Then as the fans are filing out, the PA announcer says, “The Giants are declared the winners!” Would the sport not suffer?

This is more or less what happens in boxing. Time and again, fans see one fighter clearly win, only to be robbed by judges who are the only ones you can find who saw the fight that way. Bad decisions are an epidemic. This presents additional challenges for those who bet on boxing.

Bettors of all sports are often snake-bitten by poor officiating. Boxing absorbs more criticism than other sports, but the officiating is perhaps no less incompetent or corrupted. The key officiating moments in boxing are just so much more visible. The reading of bad scores, a faulty point deduction, or a premature stoppage is just more difficult to conceal than a couple bad holding calls spread out over four quarters of football.


Still, expert boxing handicappers spend time factoring in potential red flags into their analysis. It sometimes is not enough to merely pick the winner. Here are some other factors that realistic gamblers must take into consideration:

Promoter Ties

Whether due to corruption, incompetence, or even a more subconscious urge to not rock the boat, judges and referees have historically favored the goose that lays the golden eggs. If a powerful promoter has his number one meal ticket in a fight, gamblers should take notice. While the officiating is supposed to ideally be unbiased, history indicates the contrary. Time and again, we see the headlining fighter receive the benefit of the doubt in a close fight. Why it happens is not as important as merely knowing it does.

Superstar Fighters

If you ever bet on the opponents of legends Muhammad Ali or Julio Cesar Chavez, for example, you are aware that superstar boxers are extended a different set of rules. For a relatively unknown boxer to supplant a legend, he must do more than simply edge the fight. When you bet on an underdog to beat an established superstar, ratchet down your expectations. The underdog will often need to win conclusively to receive credit for the win.

Why is this the case? In a perfect world, winning is winning. In the often times Bizarro World of boxing, however, winning sometimes isn’t enough. An unwritten rule seems to exist in the sport that decrees a long-standing champion must be beaten thoroughly to lose his belt and standing. Judges usually judge a fight according to that principle. Referees often turn a blind eye to the transgressions of a superstar, while harping on every marginal infraction by the uncelebrated underdog. It’s part of the game.

Hometown Decisions

While not the plague it once was, hometown favoritism is still a major factor when breaking down a boxing match. When handicapping a match, take note of the location of the bout. If there is a fighter from New York taking on a fighter from Texas and the fight is in Las Vegas, don’t pay it too much mind. But if a fighter from Texas is fighting a Colombian fighter in Bogotá, you definitely want to factor that in.

When visiting fighters take on hometown favorites in any part of the world, you can almost expect shenanigans. This is not a phenomenon exclusive to less-developed countries. It is part of the game and prevalent wherever boxing matches are held.


Underdogs sometimes don’t get as much credit as they should from judges. Longtime boxing bettors have seen it happen many times. It can be especially painful when you have the foresight to predict an upset only to have your hopes dashed by incompetent scoring. While not ruling out corruption completely, the more likely cause in most of these instances is just bad scoring.

Judges are prone to having pre-conceived notions of a fight just like anyone else. When a big underdog opens the fight strongly against the huge favorite, it might take some judges several rounds to even realize what is happening. It will take some time for the judges to get their head around what they’re seeing and catch on to reality. When 42-1 underdog Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson in a lopsided fight, the scorecards were remarkably close. Judges, like the rest of the world simply could not fathom what they were watching.

Final Thoughts

Whereas bettors of other sports spend most of the time analyzing the odds and the game itself, boxing bettors must spend a bit more time taking the periphery into account. Most sports have a scoreboard—a transparent reflection of events. Boxing is more subjective. The arbiters do not only officiate and regulate the game, they often times render an actual result. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the thoughtful boxing gambler to consider these different things when placing a bet.

Free Boxing Picks

Each week, Big Scotty L makes picks on upcoming boxing matches in an attempt to make a punching bag out of his bookie. Scotty is a GREAT boxing handicapper who offers tremendous insight on the fights and his knowledge isn't just limited to boxing matches in the USA. He has a broad knowledge of international fights as well.

Follow Scotty each week as he previews the best fights of the week. These fight previews can be found in the center section of this page. Good luck!

Boxing Betting

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Boxing Betting Rules - Clear cut definitions of how the sportsbooks grade fights to determine if your bet is a winner or a loser. Two big questions are "what if the fight was a draw?" and "what if I have an over/under rounds bet and the fight ends early?" We have all the answers!

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