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Two weeks ago
Oct 11, 2018

Expert boxing predictions part one: Boxing styles

How can bettors find value betting on boxing?

What information can inform your boxing predictions?

Why is it important to analyse boxing styles?

Expert boxing predictions part one: Boxing styles

Being able to predict fight outcomes and finding value when betting on boxing is a difficult skill to master but when done properly, can result in long term profitability. How can a boxing betting strategy help you find value? Read on to find out how to analyse pre-fight trends when making boxing predictions.

Boxing betting can be a lucrative and exciting venture. The sport is always evolving, so bettors need to stay on top of trends when trying to make boxing predictions. Making your prediction is only step one of a time consuming process that takes hard work and dedication to achieve the desired results (consistent profit).

Boxing predictions: Why styles matter

In boxing, the saying goes, “styles make fights”. But what are different styles, and how is it they “make” fights? Which style would be dominant over the other? When analysing a fight, many bettors believe that because fighter A beat fighter B and fighter B beat fighter C that fighter A will certainly beat fighter C, but this is not always the case.

Too many bettors use boxer’s wins and losses and make uneducated decisions on whether they will beat another fighter before analysing the key facts and statistics.

Skills and talent will often make the bookmaker heavily favour a fighter in their odds but there are many ways a less skilled fighter can beat a more gifted one. There are numerous factors (beyond skill and talent) that should be considered to accurately predict the outcome of a fight.

The winner of a fight will depend on who can implement their style best on their opponent. For example, if a long-range fighter can keep a fight at distance against an in-tight peekaboo style he can win comfortably. If the peekaboo in-tight fighter can close the distance and make it an inside fight, they will most likely win.

Timing beats speed (well-timed punches being more effective than quick punches) is a concept that is often touted in the boxing world. If a boxer is facing an opponent more accomplished and naturally talented than them they will need to out-fight, out-brawl, and push their opponent to the limit so that he breaks.

All of the above, along with how hard a fighter punches, how strong a chin they have (ability to take a punch) and their “will to win” is something that sometimes is not factored into the odds given how difficult it is to measure.

How to inform your boxing predictions: A classic example

Amir Khan provides a good example of why it is difficult to make boxing predictions. The Bolton fighter is a super-talented but highly vulnerable boxer. He was installed as 1.06 favourite (nearly a 95% chance of victory) to defeat Colombian Bredis Prescott back in September 2008 but was sensationally knocked out inside one round by the hard-hitting Colombian.

Prescott entered the fight with 19 fights, nineteen wins and seventeen of them by knock-out. He had also already boxed at light welterweight (a division higher than the lightweight limit the fight was made at), was rangy, and at 25, was always going to be stronger than the 21 year-old Khan on fight night.

This isn’t to say that Prescott was expected to win but when analysing the strengths, facts, and weaknesses of both fighters it was evident that Khan should not have been such short odds and that bookmakers were pricing Khan based on potential and star status rather than judgment.

The same happened again in 2012 when Khan squared-off against power puncher Danny Garcia. Garcia’s WBC Jr. Welterweight title was on the line yet Khan was installed as a 1.16 favourite (85% chance of victory).

Bettors who could break this style match-up down correctly and analyse the strengths and weaknesses of both fighters would know that Garcia was being hugely underestimated in the odds. The subsequent result – Danny Garcia winning by stoppage inside four rounds – demonstrating a case of timing beating speed and a boxer with a hard punch defeating a boxer with questionable punch resistance.

Khan’s loss against Garcia wasn’t inevitable but in order to find value a bettor needs to define their own likelihood of an event happening. So, if a bettor calculates their own boxing predictions and estimates the probability of the event occurring is higher than that implied by the bookmaker’s odds then they will be on their way to gaining profit in the long run.

Boxing predictions: Other markets and strategies to consider

Once a fight has been analysed correctly, bettors might want to also look to the total number of rounds a fight goes, or hedging their bets, rather than betting on the Money Line and relying on a knockout or judges scoring.

Certain styles mean a fight is almost certainly going to go the distance whilst it is also very easy to spot a fight that is unlikely to go long once bettors can grasp the concept of using styles to analyse fights.

There are circumstances when hedging a boxing bet makes perfect sense. When some fighters match up you can have a puncher (someone who is likely to win by knockout) against a pure boxer (someone who uses boxing skills rather than power punching to win fights). This strategy can be used to reduce risk, and in certain circumstances guarantee profits.

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Hedging a boxing match: An example

An example of the above could be if you placed a bet on the puncher to win by knockout and then also placed a bet on the pure boxer to win on points. For some fights, this strategy can be very profitable due to the styles of both boxers.

Take the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao mega-fight in 2015. The odds at Pinnacle give Mayweather (6.960) a 14.37% chance of winning by KO, TKO, while Pacquiao was slightly shorter at 6.150. Mayweather to win on points at Pinnacle was available at 1.840, which implied a 54.35% chance of happening.

By analysing both styles and the strategies that they bring to the ring, it was highly-likely how the fight would play out (Mayweather is ultra-defensive and Pacquiao is ultra-aggressive) so either by Pacquiao by KO, or TKO, or Mayweather on points.

The purpose of this strategy, is to reduce risk on unlikely outcomes and increase profits on likely ones. It should only be used for particular fights once you have analysed all outcomes as it still comes with risk.

The strategy is good for both sides of the bet (as a hedge). Your upside is reduced and if you are wrong you lose both bets, but you have eliminated markets that you feel have little or no chance of occurring and your chances of landing a profit are greatly increased.

Similarly to Money Line betting in boxing, analysing the two fighters in terms of offensive and defensive strengths and weaknesses is imperative to informing your betting if you are hedging or considering other market.

How to analyse a boxer’s style

In terms of how to analyse the style of a fighter when making boxing predictions, to know they are a power puncher or distance boxer, bettors will need to analyse a few things (this goes beyond their fight record or simply looking at their method of victory).

You can get prolific punchers as opposed to big punchers. A prolific puncher might not have one punch knockout power or be heavy handed but they are prolific in getting stoppages, as they know how to land their power punches correctly and consistently.

They will have good judgment of distance and timing to land their punches and get their shots off to get stoppages, generating a high knockout ratio but not necessarily having one punch knockout power.

A true power puncher is a fighter who can turn a fight around with one punch. In boxing history there are many examples of this kind of fighter. Julian Jackson, is a three-time world champion in two weight classes who would often knock his opponent out cold before they hit the floor – George Foreman and Earnie Shavers are other examples of this type of fighter.

When bettors are analysing fights and fighting styles you will need to take this into consideration, as someone who is a power puncher and can knock someone out at the highest level with one punch is different to a prolific puncher and goes beyond just examining a boxers KO%.

Investing in your boxing predictions

Once you understand how to make accurate boxing predictions, the next step is to find out how to monetise any advantage you may have over the bookmaker. To be profitable in boxing betting markets, a bettor needs two things; a proven edge and a staking method that will optimise your bankroll.

The difference between a potential edge and a proven one is crucial. It can take a long period of time, and a lot of predictions, before you know for sure what is providing you with valuable betting opportunities. It could be your method of predicting the outcome of a fight being more accurate than the bookmaker, but it could also just be good luck.

Relatively speaking, there aren’t too many opportunities to bet on boxing throughout the year (at least in comparison to other major sports such as soccer, baseball or basketball which have thousands of fixtures over the course of a season).

The small sample of boxing matches in a calendar year means that your results from betting on boxing are more susceptible to be influenced by luck. This is why reviewing your results is incredibly important if you’re serious about trying to make money from making boxing predictions.

Choosing a staking plan will also help you reduce your risk of running out of money. Fixed and proportional strategies when making boxing predictions are great ways to make a profit with the right analysis and approach to betting and these methods will help ensure you don’t get carried away or chase your losses.
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