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Being Swayed by Announcers

Boxing Betting: Being Swayed by Announcers

By Loot, Boxing Handicapper,

When betting on a fight, we will usually watch it on TV. A lot of time, we sign off on the announcers and look for them to help guide us in forming a reality and read on what's happening in the ring. This does not apply only to uneducated boxing fans who need to have everything spelled out for them. It also applies to experienced ring watchers. It's impossible to sit there watching a fight and not be at least somewhat impacted by the announcing crew.

Boxing is not a good sport for multi-tasking. You have a bunch of people involved in the fight--cornermen, the fighters, announcers, ring-card girls, commission representatives, the referee, the judges, and so on. They have a job and that's what they do. Having them do more than one job is asking too much. So the announcers are there to do their job--bring the fight to life for viewers. They are not judges. Judges need to concentrate fully. Announcers are trying to come up with things to say.

Not to imply that announcers don't get it right. During the course of describing the action, they're trying to make sense of it and that includes favoring one fighter or another. So a lot of the time, they will have a pretty good idea as to who is winning the fight. There are other times, where the fight is transpiring in a more subtle way--where it's not clear who has the upper hand. In cases like that, announcers can come up short in the area of adequately judging a fight.

It's easy when it's one-sided. A guy can judge a fight like that rather easily. But when fights are worthy enough to be on TV, particularly on HBO or Showtime, it's usually a pretty close match of skills. It takes an astute eye to see who's winning or to gauge the subtly-shifting nature of a fight. This is where some announcing crews suffer.

Some announcing crews, and even the best ones, will get locked onto a thought and then drive it into the ground, all the while failing to notice that the tide has turned. So if a fighter opens up a bout in dominant fashion, some announcers will get stuck on that. Maybe that fighter was dominant in the opening few rounds, but then a shift occurred. And the announcers keep on calling the fight without taking adequate notice. Once they arrive to a form of reality, they are stubborn in abandoning that stance.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. They announce the fight as being for one guy and get carried away. They extoll all his virtues as a fighter, as well as what the opponent is doing wrong. They create this whole reality based on what they were seeing early in the fight. Then when the texture of a fight changes, the announcers are in a bit of trap. They cornered themselves and sometimes are reluctant to acknowledge the new reality that is taking shape in the ring.


When a fighter is dominating his opponent, it can take a lot to change that perception. Mentally, it can be tricky even for seasoned ring observers. It's as if the opponent now has to dominate to even the score. But to win a round, you don't have to dominate, you just have to win--however slight the margin might be. So the losing fighter might not be able to equal the dominance shown by the winning fighter, but he doesn't have to. In this regard, a lot of announcers miss the boat.

Sure, announcers are aware of boxing and it's round-by-round dynamic, but it doesn't always reflect in the commentary. Some announcers, as well as the fans and bettors, look at a fight as a whole. There might be cases where one fighter seemed to win the event, but his opponent won enough individual rounds to win the fight. He may have lost 4 rounds in dominating fashion. He didn't dominate in the rounds he won, making it look like he lost. At the end of the day, there is a numbers game in this sport that dictates the results.

Sure, many if not most of the time, the announcers will have it right. Some fights, however, are not that easy to score and announcers are too busy calling the fight to be depended on for splitting hairs in a close fight.

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