Boxing Betting: Using Insight
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Catch a Fighter Rising in Class
A number of years ago, Tyrone Brunson faced a fighter named Carson Jones. Brunson was a menacing 21-0-1 with 20 knockouts. He was listed as a -360 favorite. Brunson had scored an amazing 19 consecutive first-round knockouts--which set a new record. Jones, meanwhile, was a more modest 23-7-1. A closer look at their records, however, revealed that Brunson had built that record on absolute stiffs. Jones, conversely, had fought a lot of tough fighters and with a 6-fight unbeaten streak, looked to be improving.
Jones won by 3rd-round TKO and I went and collected one of the easier +300 winners you'll ever find. What happened was that Brunson might have possessed an impressive record, but who did he fight? And in the two fights leading up to the Jones disaster, he had suddenly stopped knocking out people in the first round--struggling to a draw with a 12-9-1 fighter and going the distance with a guy who was 20-19-2. While everyone was mesmerized by his big record, the signs were there that he was not prepared to jump up and fight a guy like Jones--even if Jones was just a fringe contender.
If Brunson had built up that mark against some decent trialhorses and journeymen, it would carry more merit. It's important to note the vast differences in "opponent-types." Former lightweight titleholder Edwin Valero built up a similar record, but his menace as a fighter rang truer. Unlike Brunson, he took on some opponents that could help him develop, not just guys who folded the first time they were hit.
Keep your eye on guys who are getting a lot of publicity before they really prove their mettle. This is not to imply that there aren't some knockout artists beating up on bums who don't become good fighters. But offense is a small part of the equation. They may be blowing people out, but things can look a lot different when the opponent stands up to the initial barrage and starts throwing back. Sometimes you can get exceptional value on a less-ballyhooed fighter and the beauty of it is that you only have to be right once in a while to make it profitable.
The Danger of Being Over-Opinionated
Part of being a boxing fan is taking a very clear stand on who you like and who you might not care for very much. In addition, many fans have somewhat constrictive methods on how to gauge a fighter's effectiveness and how they categorize different boxers on their imaginary scale of greatness. You see a fighter once or twice and figure you know what he's all about. But as a boxing bettor, such sentiments can get in the way of making solid wagering decisions.
When betting on boxing, it's important to remain emotionless, clinical, and flexible. Never allow being a fan of a certain fighter to poison your analysis and cause you to bet with your heart instead of your head. Some football bettors don't like betting on games involving their favorite team for this reason--they struggle to achieve the same objectivity used when breaking down games involving other teams. If you are not able to separate being a fan from being a betting man when it comes to specific fighters, leave it alone. Focus on fights that allow you to utilize insights that are not clouded by feelings.
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The tendency on the part of some is pigeon-hole a fighter into a certain bracket in your head and leave him there. You've seen what he can do and you wrote the book on him and put it on the shelf. This does not allow you to re-gauge their strengths and weaknesses, which should happen inevitably with all fighters. A boxer's career has many manifestations that allow room for growth, as well as deterioration. Leave room for additional insights.
Its important to stay on top of things because they can and usually do change at some point. A fighter's form, talents, and skills are not etched in concrete. Try to avoid placing too much stock in your opinions if they were made in the past. A fighter's career and form can switch on a dime. So if you saw a fighter in 2009 and thought he was a fighter who could become big, don't assume he's the same fighter years later. Even if his record checks out, that only tells part of the story. Leave your insights open to the possibility of change.