Boxing Betting: Over-Emphasizing Offense
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
How can we not overvalue offense? It's the easiest thing to see in a boxing match. It's what we want to see. When deciding if we want to watch a fight, we think offense. It's really why a large percentage of people watch boxing--to see other people getting hit. Arenas across the world don't get filled because people want to see footwork or defense.
When we first started watching boxing, it was the first thing we were able to understand. We saw people getting hit, then we developed other parts of our boxing knowledge afterwards. Movies like Rocky probably didn't do us a lot of good when it came to achieving a well-rounded understanding of the sport. In all boxing movies, all punches land. You'd think offense were the only attribute a fighter could have.
Whenever we saw highlights of all-time greats, all we see is offense. If we go onto the Internet to look at highlight films of fighters, we see offense. When advertising a fight, they show footage of the fighters hitting their opponents. In between rounds, they show highlights of the best connects. And the fighters who provide the most offensive firepower are the ones who book the big TV slots.
We need to remind ourselves that as bettors, our priorities are far different than what guides the average boxing TV viewer or a person who likes to watch the fights live. In other words, we are looking for winning fighters, not necessarily entertaining ones. Boxing history is replete with names of fighters whose best attributes in the ring lied in other areas besides offense. Usually, those fighters lag behind the more exciting fighters in terms of popularity.
Not only do the less offensive successful fighters receive less publicity, they also get less attention at the betting windows. In other words, if you are looking for good value and you should, it can be found with some of these lesser-celebrated fighters. Conversely, you will find the contrary is true with ballyhooed sluggers. Everyone wants to see them fight, they're on the covers of magazines, and people come away with the perception that they are in fact the superior fighters.
Offense is the most treasured attribute to have according to the minds of the public. It is the easiest to understand. You know what a fighter's best punch is. You know him along the lines of his offense. Ask someone to describe a fighter and the first thing you will be told is about that fighter's offensive skills. As you well know, championship fights at the top level don't always come down to who has the best offense.
Offense wins fights at most levels of this sport. Aspiring champions usually build up their careers with a long series of routs, where their offenses are the deciding factor. But when a fighter rises up in level and takes on more important fights, there are other traits that will need to come into play. If we spend all our efforts evaluating offense, we might miss the boat when it comes to the other characteristics needed to be a champion.
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Sometimes, blinding hand-speed or power only detracts from the other important attributes we look for in winning fighters. At the top levels, a fighter needs defense, grit, mental power, ring IQ, geometrical awareness, ring savvy, trickery, and the ability to remain calm in the ring. Offense might be enough to win some fights or even a lot of them. But the real diamonds-in-the rough possess less-visible, but equally important skills that can help get them to the top.
If you can start to hone in on certain skills that are less-attractive to the public, you can start finding good value on some of these more uncelebrated fighters. The power-punching offensive juggernaut is going to receive a lot of public support--especially at the betting window. It just so happens that the best weapons against offensive menace are skills that don't jump off the screen--things like defense, ring smarts, and a certain vibe of professionalism that while not flashy, gets the job done.