Boxing Betting

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Boxing Betting

Before we dive into boxing betting and how to bet on boxing, we owe it to this traditional sport to take a look at its history. Given the grueling training that fighters have to put themselves through, it is no surprise that some of the most inspirational characters in sport have laced up the gloves. When it comes to the greatest boxers of all time, there really is only one place to start…

Muhammad Ali

If you refer to yourself as the greatest, and then the entire world continues to call you as much even after your passing, it is safe to say that you really are the greatest of all time. Muhammad Ali is boxing. He transcended the sport during a time when being a boxer didn’t necessarily come with the glamour that it does today. Ali, born Cassius Clay, is proof that protecting an ‘0’ next to your losses column doesn’t make you great – being in memorable fights and coming out on top does.

Ali retired in 1981 with five defeats on his record, although three of those came in his last four outings when he should have long hung up the gloves.

In his prime, only two men got the better of Ali – Joe Frazier in 1971 and Ken Norton in 1973. Ali would go on to avenge both defeats, once again proving his greatness.

His career can be put into two categories. The first was from his professional debut in 1960 until 1967 when he was exiled from the sport for refusing to join the army draft. Three years out of the ring then saw him return in 1970 for another 32 fights until his retirement.

The early days of Ali, or indeed Clay, saw the brash and charismatic youth “shake up the world” when he defied all the boxing odds to stop the formidable and feared Sonny Liston twice in consecutive bouts.

He would defend his title against names such as Floyd Patterson, Henry Cooper and Ernie Terrell before being stripped in 1967. The second part of his career saw Ali involved in some of the greatest fights the sport has ever seen, with wars against the aforementioned Frazier and Norton coming before battles with the likes of Earnie Shavers and Leon Spinks.

Perhaps most famous of all though, is the Rumble In The Jungle. Another fight in which Ali was told that he didn’t stand a chance – much like he was against Liston years earlier – George Foreman was just seen to be too big and strong, particularly given that he had destroyed both Norton and Frazier months earlier.

Ali adopted the famous rope-a-dope to absorb Foreman’s punches before springing off the ropes to deliver a knockout flurry in round eight. He had once again upset the boxing odds, and had shook up the world in doing so.

Sugar Ray Robinson

Ali may be the most famous name in boxing, but some historians of the sport would argue strongly that Sugar Ray Robinson is the real GOAT. Any man that can rack up 174 victories and 109 knockouts in a 25-year career surely has to be part of the discussion?

“Sugar Ray” won 40 consecutive fights before losing to Jake LaMotta in one of six incredible bouts. A 40-fight winning streak is incredible, most fighters nowadays don’t get to 40 fights in their entire career.

His 19 defeats don’t do justice to his record, as once again he stuck around for too long (a common trend in boxing) and suffered many of those defeats past his prime.

Sugar Ray Leonard

Another “Sugar Ray”, and another serious contender in our list of boxing greats. Retiring with three defeats on his record, two of which came in his last two outings, the American ring technician was another fighter to stick around in this unforgiving sport for much too long.

Leonard was involved in incredible fights with legendary figures in Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler, but is best known for his wars with Roberto Duran – with “Sugar” winning two of their three famous bouts.

His footwork is arguably the best boxing has ever known, and Leonard would have mixed it in any era.

Floyd Mayweather

While fighters of years gone by were more interested in creating legacies with the fights they were involved in, today’s names seem more bothered about remaining unbeaten.

One man has managed to do both. Floyd Mayweather retired from professional boxing in 2017 with a perfect 50-0 record. Nobody can accuse “Money” of taking easy fights to protect that record. He defeated the likes of Arturo Gatti, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton to climb to the top, and then stayed at the summit of the sport with victories over Miguel Cotto, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao.

He refers to himself as “TBE” – The Best Ever – and with a record like that to boast of, it is difficult to shoot him down. One thing is for sure, he is the greatest defensive boxer of all time, with some of the most ferocious punchers of their generation failing to land a glove on him.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez

Can Canelo be regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time with a defeat to Mayweather on his record? Well, given that he was only 23 when that bout took place, some context is required. The Mexican turned professional at 15, and went on an eight-year unbeaten run before that defeat to Mayweather. How that fight would have gone if it had taken place five years later, we’ll never know.

Since that blemish, Alvarez has gone on to beat some of the best of his time. He remained unbeaten against the hard-hitting Gennady Golvkin in their trilogy, winning two, and schooled some world class operators in Cotto, Amir Khan, Sergey Kovalev and Billy Joe Saunders. 

How to Bet on Boxing

Now that we have gone through the greatest boxers of all time, let’s get down to how to bet on boxing. Knowing how to bet on a boxing match boils down to two things: Knowing about boxing, and knowing about betting. The first part is important, of course, but not as important as the second. In case you’re relatively new to the Sweet Science, here are the different ways you can bet on boxing at Bodog Sportsbook:

Boxing Moneyline Odds

The moneyline is the standard way to bet on individual sports, and still common for low-scoring team sports like soccer, hockey and baseball. Bodog uses the American odds format to express these lines. Here’s an example from the recent August 31 lightweight title fight between Luke Campbell and the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world, Vasyl Lomachenko:

Luke Campbell +850

Vasyl Lomachenko -1800

Lomachenko was the champion and the heavy favourite in this match; you can tell who the favourite is by the negative sign next to their odds (if both are negative, the larger number represents the larger favourite). In this case, a $1,800 bet on Lomachenko to win would have paid out $100, while a $100 bet on the underdog Campbell (with the positive sign next to his odds) would have paid out $850. Smaller and larger multiples are allowed for your wagers; all bets on a fighter to win are returned in the event of a draw or a no contest.

Boxing Total Odds

In many team sports, you can bet on whether the combined final score will go Over or Under the posted total. Boxing has totals, too, but in this sport, you’re betting on whether the fight will last Over or Under a given number of rounds. These totals go up in half-round increments, with each half-round lasting 90 seconds. Here’s the total for our example bout:

Luke Campbell O 9.5 (+100)

Vasyl Lomachenko U 9.5 (-140)

The line for the Over is always listed at the top. The total here is 9.5 rounds; if this fight had reached the 91st second of Round 10, the OVER would have paid out according to the number inside the parentheses, which shows the vigorish (aka juice) in American odds – even money in this case. If the fight had been stopped before the 90th second of Round 10, the Under would have paid $100 for every $140 wagered. Lomachenko won by unanimous decision after 12 rounds, so the Over bettors got paid.

Boxing Method of Victory Odds

Proposition bets (aka “prop bets”) allow you to bet on other things besides the actual outcome of a match. An example is the Method of Victory prop—one of the most popular boxing props there is. For the standard Method of Victory prop, your three choices are decision, KO/TKO/DQ, or draw. Other options, like unanimous decision, may be included in expanded versions.

Boxing Fight Length Odds

The bigger the fight, the more props you’ll find on the board – including Fight Length, which asks you exactly how many rounds the fight will last. Odds are given for one round, two rounds, and so on; sometimes, you’ll be asked whether a specific fighter will win during a specific round, like Lomachenko winning in the ninth.

Boxing Parlay Odds

Parlays allow you to combine multiple bets and get paid exponentially more if all of your picks come in. But with the added reward comes added risk: If even one of your picks fail, your entire parlay loses. Common parlays in boxing include the moneyline and total from a single match, or the moneylines from several matches on the same card.

Boxing Betting Tips

While there are many ways to bet on boxing, all these lines have something in common: They can go up or down between the time they’re posted and bell time. If a lot of money comes in on one fighter, their odds will usually get shorter, encouraging bettors to put more money on their opponent. For example, Lomachenko opened at –1600 for his fight against Campbell, then was bet up to –1800, while Campbell saw his odds lengthen from +800 to +850 in response. You can sometimes get a better price on your chosen fighter by anticipating these line moves and picking the right time to bet.

There’s always more to learn if you want to figure out how to bet on boxing. For more information, consult the FAQ and Help guides at Bodog Sportsbook, and keep coming back for fresh odds and analysis on all the major fights.

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