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Avoiding the Letdown Spot

Boxing Betting: Avoiding a Letdown Spot

By Loot, Boxing Handicapper,

When betting on boxing, it can be of great use to identify a "letdown spot." Let's talk about exactly what that is. A fighter will have a big fight, a bout he put all his efforts into and he wins. Then he turns around and schedules another fight--a smaller fight against a less-threatening opponent.

What will often times happen is that the fighter coming off a huge win will come into the next fight deflated. He is unable to replicate the fever pitch of his last fight. Remember when Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Manny Pacquiao in their 4th fight? He met his longtime rival and poured all his efforts into beating Pacquiao. He pulled it off and considered retirement. He then resurfaced to face Timothy Bradley. Now while Bradley was unbeaten and commanded respect, Marquez was understandably a bit deflated after scoring the signature win of his two-decade long career.

Marquez was not quite as sharp against Bradley. His spirits had dipped ever so slightly. You wouldn't notice it by looking at him, as he was in great shape. He gave all the right sound bites and on the surface, he seemed to be his normal self. But the Super Bowl hangover dynamic doesn't just apply to football teams. It can happen to boxers. And all it takes is a slight ebbing of one's mental approach and it can completely change the complexion of a fight.

What we want to do as bettors is identify potential letdown spots. For there to be a letdown, there had to be something good that happened. So these fighters are usually highly-regarded and heavily-favored. But they get put into fights that, on the heels of huge fights, don't command their full respect.

This can happen to even the most consummate of professionals. It's very human to let down after something difficult. Maybe you have experienced something like this. At the basketball court, you beat a really good player where all your effort and concentration was required to repel his challenge. Then you play an inferior player and the game is always closer than it should be. Why? Well, quite simply, you were unable to match the urgency you used to help you beat the really good player. The lesser player failed to evoke the same feeling of respect. That's where you have a letdown.

This is in no way meant to be an endorsement to just blindly bet against favored fighters coming off a big win. There needs to be some conditions in place. Letdown spots occur a lot with veterans, fighters who have been at it for years and years and may lack some of the same hunger they had in their younger years. For example, Marquez was already 40. His win over Pacquiao was a clearly-identifiable case of him having reached the absolute mountaintop, where there is nowhere to go but down. And against Bradley, his diminished state was palpable.

For fighters to be at their absolute best, they must be in peak mental shape. We get used to seeing fighters perform at a certain level, but we may forget that those performances stem from the fighter being at his sharpest. But once there is a crescendo, it's hard to keep that feeling alive. Even as non-boxers, we can all relate to that. Once you "make it," it's natural for there to be a period of slacking off, a chance to revel in our success. Not that we can't recapture the peak mental state we once had, but it might just take a while for it to redevelop.


Where boxing bettors make a mistake is when they see a fighter do something truly special and then they assume the fighter will transfer that vibe into his next fight. Well, he very well might. But a lot of times, he won't. And this is where big upsets can occur. Those who bet on Marquez figured he just starched a man who appeared to beat Bradley convincingly. So he should naturally beat Bradley, right? Well, not so fast. Think about what Pacquiao represents to Marquez--the key opponent of his career. Bradley didn't command even a fraction of that importance to Marquez. Why would he have such an axe to grind against Bradley?

Look for spots like this. And it doesn't mean to always take the underdog. It may just make you not want to bet on the favorite. If you keep your mind open, acknowledging possible letdown spots can give a boost to your boxing wagering.

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