Boxing Betting: Outside of the Ring Concerns
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Be Aware of Training Camps
In the old days (per-Internet) you needed to be an insider to get the scoop on how a fighter's training camp is going. With the proliferation of boxing news, a fan can sometimes gather vital information about how a boxer's preparation is going. When you're thinking of laying a wager on a particular fighter, you want to hear good things coming out of camp. The last things you want to hear are how a fighter is slacking off, taking time off to deal with injuries, or struggling to take off weight. A lot of camps keep problems hush-hush. But sometimes you can get little bits of information that greatly aid your wagering.
Certainly in a sport as physically and mentally demanding as boxing, you want to hear that fighters are living the right way. Some young fighters can get away with carousing and drinking, but it catches up to them eventually. Again, we revert to the Bernard Hopkins example. He doesn't drink or smoke. You don't see him out on the town at all hours of the night. You never hear of him having domestic issues or any of the other pitfalls that can trip up a great career. He trains and rests. That's what you want to hear when thinking about betting on a particular fighter.
A poor lifestyle can come in many forms. Some fighters drink, some use drugs. Others put on a bunch of weight between fights. That's not to imply that there is anything abnormal about their lifestyles. After all, men in their 20's and 30's have been known to push the lifestyle envelope. Take featherweight Juan Manuel Lopez, for example, who is by all accounts a good kid.
But prior to fighting Orlando Salido, we heard some troubling news. Lopez had been ballooning up in weight, sometimes pushing 200 pounds in-between fights. Remember, this is a man who has to get down to 126 pounds by weigh-in. Then we heard he was embroiled in divorce proceedings with his wife. That's how 15-1 favorites lose, which is exactly what happened to Lopez.
When betting big favorites, you shouldn't hear about any outside-the-ring problems and still feel confident. When laying a big price, the conditions should be ideal. If you start hearing about DWI arrests, domestic discord, or any other troubles that befall young men, that is a red flag you should observe. That doesn't mean to automatically take the opponent, but exercise caution when taking a big number on a favorite whose life might be in disarray.
Fighters Who Talk About Retirement
The general rule is to avoid them like the plague. When a fighter begins seriously considering retirement and is talking about it in the press--he already has one foot out the door. There aren't a lot of sports where you're going to flourish with this mentality, but in boxing, it really shows. This sport requires all of a fighter's heart and soul. When a fighter is already mentally checking out of the sport, chances are that he be at a diminished mental state. And in boxing, mental letdowns always lead to bad performances.
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Boxing requires a certain whole-hearted commitment out of its participants. Not to imply that you can succeed in other sports with a half-hearted approach, but in boxing--it almost always spells doom. The hunger element is key. Often times, a superbly-talented ex-champ can just coast to victory against lesser opponents. But when looking for a solid underdog pick, taking a hungry talented fighter against a guy who might be checking out mentally is a good move.
Oscar De La Hoya didn't have a very productive late career and one of the reasons was that he was always talking about retirement--thinking about it, pining over it. Then when you try to return back to fight-mode, it's too late. The issue of retirement is already in your DNA. Being a successful boxer at the top of the sport requires hunger, a laser-focus, ambition, and 100% mental and physical dedication. Thoughts of retirement will have an averse influence on each of those qualities.