In this modern boxing era, with more careful matchmaking and promoters/networks looking to protect their multi-million dollar investments, it’s getting increasingly difficult to predict a big fight upset.
Those fans who bet on boxing are finding it harder and harder to score big on an underdog victory.
But some boxing truths are universal and there are still plenty of ways to sniff out an underdog likely to shock the world and/or a favorite ripe for the picking.
Here are some things to look for if you aim to break the bank with an upset special, plus a recent example of an upset from each category):
Skills Pay Bills
Never bet against a fighter who holds a considerable edge when it comes to skill level—even if he is a huge underdog. Boxing ability goes a long way in cancelling out raw physical gifts like power, size, and speed. A truly savvy fighter can turn a physically superior fighter into a lumbering novice. (Recent Examples: Bernard Hopkins over Kelly Pavlik, Guillermo Rigondeaux over Nonito Donaire)
Despite “skills paying bills,” supreme speed can sometimes be the ultimate neutralizer. Don’t ever bet against a fighter with an extreme edge in speed, regardless of what other factors may be in the opponent’s favor. (Recent Example: Floyd Mayweather vs. Diego Corrales)
How Deep is Your…Resume
If all seems equal (or fairly equal) when it comes to ability and skill, take a gander at each fighter’s resume. Who’s fought the better, more skilled, more experienced overall opposition? A fighter is generally only as good as his opposition and his resume can tell you a lot. (Recent Example: Fernando Montiel over Hozumi Hasegawa)
Moving on Up in Age/Weight
At some point, even a great fighter has his limits—and those limits, in boxing, usually have to do with age and size. “Name” fighters run the risk of losing to less accomplished and/or lesser skilled underdogs when they venture up to compete in higher weight classes, especially at an advanced age. (Recent Example: Srisaket Sor Rungvisai over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez)
The Big Eraser
In boxing, one-punch KO power is called “The Big Eraser” because it can instantly erase a whole fight’s worth of mistakes and lost battles in one powerful moment. An educated stab at scoring an upset betting win would revolve around the hope of a big puncher landing that ultimate kill shot against an otherwise better opponent. (Recent Example: Breidis Prescott vs. Amir Khan)