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When a Good Sign Might Be a Bad Sign

Boxing Betting: When a Good Sign May Be a Bad Sign

By Loot, Boxing Handicapper,

A lot of things we see in the boxing ring are not exactly how they appear. We see certain things and jump to conclusions that could cause us to lose perspective of the big picture. You generally will see this phenomenon when we have a fighter who is doing something that is actually positive, so it can be harder to notice. All that glimmers is not gold.

A prime example of this is when dealing with knockout artists. You see a guy mowing down all the competition. No one can stand up to him. This fighter is soon on TV and after a few more quickie knockouts, he generates a buzz. People want to see him fight and his profile starts increasing. We get swept up in the hoopla, as well.

At first glance, what's wrong with a fighter who beats everyone put in front of him? Knocking guys out in short order is a good sign, isn't it? Well, it might be. A lot of dominant championship fighters whose plaques are now in the Hall of Fame started off their careers by belting out everyone in their path. But for every one of those guys is a line of other guys whose streak of quick knockouts only served to undermine their development or blind bettors from their shortcomings.

You see a guy blowing out opponents and you can make some accurate judgments about him. He's fast. He throws hard punches. He's aggressive. But let's look a little more closely and what else do we see? And even more importantly, what don't we see? In the midst of all the destruction, we also a fighter who hasn't shown the ability to overcome adversity. No fighter just has it all its own way for his whole career. At some point, a boxer will need to brave a torrential rainstorm before emerging into the sunshine.

Even if a fighter is able to take it as well as he can dish it out, does he have the mettle to last through a long and grueling fight? A fighter who finishes most of his fights in quick fashion may have a deficit in the stamina category. Again, we don't know. We've never seen that fighter pushed to the limit. But we at least have to ask ourselves these questions.

We can also get carried away with experience. We just got done talking about how how valuable experience is and how you like to see fighters get through tough times. It can go too far, however. Experience doesn't always resonate in a productive way. A fighter with a slew of tough and long fights against top opposition will be experienced. He may also be too shopworn to do anything about it.

There is a fine line where experience that helps becomes experience that hurts. It's not easy to pinpoint. At the same time, the tendency on the part of many is to look at it as a positive thing, especially with a fighter who came out of nowhere. He was brought in as cannon fodder for a star fighter, but to everyone's surprise, he gave the massive favorite a run for his money and even threatened to win. Then perhaps he does it again with a different top fighter. Then he beats a couple decent fighters in taxing bouts that go the distance or close to it. Just as we're expecting this fighter to start hitting his stride, the wear-and-tear of all those tough fights renders him a spent force in the ring.


Another potentially overrated aspect of a fighter's makeup is when he never gets hit. His talent is so off-the-charts that his early opposition is so worried about incoming fire that they are unable to mount much of an offense. We may jump to conclusions about that fighter's defense or durability prematurely. At some point, these fighters will be facing far more skilled opponents. A guy who we think has a great defense may have just been overwhelming opponents with his offense. In other words, his offense is his defense and won't go over as big when facing world-class foes who will be able to deliver shots.

When we are taken in by positive things a fighter is doing, we need to scrutinize it. Some of these attributes are accompanied by even more sinister drawbacks. Don't go out of your way to make a case for it, but don't go overboard in valuing things that potentially have a detrimental flip-side.

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