Let’s face it, boxing is a sport full of odd characters. These odd characters are the fuel for some of the oddest bets you can make in boxing.
To find one of the oddest characters in the boxing world, one only needs to look at who the sport considers the most prolific promoter of all time, Don King.
King would spike his salt and pepper colored hair straight up reminiscent of a giant troll doll. He’d also wear clothing that would have various patriotic themes that would fit with his catchphrase “only in America”.
But King is far from the only colorful character in boxing.
The legendary Muhammad Ali was known for his poetry and his banter with opponents, and the announcer synonymous with him Howard Cosell.
Ali’s personality fit in more with professional wrestling than boxing, and he’d test that fact by having face-offs with many wrestlers across the country–including Gorilla Monsoon–while promoting his eventual match with Japanese legendary professional wrestler Antonio Inoki.
Another unique character in the pugilistic world was Iron Mike Tyson. Tyson served 3 years in prison for rape and wound up biting the ear off of Evander Holyfield in their second matchup as Tyson was trying to re-establish his career post-prison.
One of the most flamboyant characters of the last decade has been Floyd “Money” Mayweather. The undefeated boxer with 50 professional fights under his belt, has been known for his flamboyance.
Mayweather is known to drop tens of millions of dollars gambling (sometimes betting on himself in matches). He also was in some of the highest grossing fights of the modern era, including his boxing/MMA crossover fight with UFC star Conor McGregor, who agreed to box Mayweather instead of using mixed martial arts.
The strange people in boxing are some of the reasons for the weird bets. After all, strange people inspire strange things.
Most, if not all, of the strange bets that you can make in boxing are known as “prop bets”. A prop bet or proposition bet is a novelty bet that doesn’t affect the outcome of the match.
Some of the prop bets that are common in boxing include:
But there are some more outrageous bets that have been offered by sportsbooks. A lot of these bets have come in the last few years as prop bets and gambling, in general, have grown in popularity.
Some of the strange bets are offered on almost every big fight, and some are fight specific.
Big time boxing matches are all about building pay-per-view buys. Every $69.99 -$99.99 that a fan doles out to view the card is more money in everyone’s pocket.
If you look back to the days of Muhammad Ali, you’ll see the trash talk, antics, and theatrics that are needed to build interest in a pay-per-view event (even though Ali was around before pay-per-views, he was selling closed circuit viewing at venues around the world).
Nowadays, there’s more pressure to sell pay-per-views. There’s more pressure to fill the arena and put butts in seats.
The enormous pressure will lead fighters to go beyond trash talking and the other theatrics that are part of the normal hoopla involved in a pre-match press conference.
This is when we start to see the fists fly.
Often 10 or 20 people on each side are there to break up the skirmish, but not always.
It’s hard to tell when it’s for show and when it’s real. And that’s what the promoters and fighters hope for.
They employ tactics that are worthy of a World Wrestling Entertainment event. They may even take their cues from the WWE.
But these tactics can result in serious risks. These risks include:
Setting aside the idea that a pre-match press conference is a bad idea, betting on it can be pretty profitable.
Most of the time, a confrontation that involves fists flying won’t happen. But it’s not unheard of. Usually, odds given for a confrontation can be pretty good. Sometimes you can get 10 to 1 odds or even higher. So in these cases, as crazy as it sounds, throwing a few bucks on a bet like this with high odds might be a good idea. I don’t recommend betting the rent. But $5 won’t hurt and can only help.
This was a bet that was offered for the Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather fight (the first of a few that I’ll be listing) that took place on August 26, 2017.
The bet was if McGregor would drop the “f-bomb” during the internationally televised live weigh-in. But it just wasn’t a yes or no bet, it was an over/under bet.
The boxing betting sites set the over/under at 4.5, meaning that if you took the over, that you expected McGregor to say the 4-letter word at least 5 times.
Lots of fighters hover around the maximum limit for their weight class. Some may even bet 10 to 30 pounds heavier than allowed. Because weigh-ins occur the day before the fight, lots of boxers “cut weight” a week prior to weighing in. They’ll restrict fluids, sit in a sauna, cut salt intake, and even use natural diuretics.
Right after the weigh-in, they then race to put the weight back on to have a competitive edge in the fight.
But there are times when they don’t make weight. What happens then? The answer is it depends.
Fighters rarely miss weight, so sportsbooks generally give good odds on this, but if they know a fighter is notorious for having to cut 30 or more pounds to make weight, you may find lower odds given.
It’s still a good bet to throw a few dollars on.
Another bet is that the fight will get canceled. While not a common occurrence, it has been known to happen. I discussed one way that it could be canceled, and that’s is if a fighter doesn’t make weight. But the most common occurrence is if the fighter injures himself during training.
If you’re a fan of the movie Rocky, you might remember that the reason Rocky was chosen was that Apollo Creed’s original opponent Mac Lee Green had suffered a seriously cracked third metacarpal in his left hand. Apollo wanted an opponent for January 1, 1976, because 1976 was the United States bicentennial year. So, he looked for a local club fighter, and thus the legend of Rocky Balboa was started.
But any number of reasons can cancel a fight. There could be a reason not related to the boxers. It could be that there were problems with the facility. It could be some sort of logistical issue like the inability to have the event insured. It could also be nixed by the state athletic commission.
Whatever the reason, the bout will go as planned about 95% of the time. It’s the ability to capitalize on that 5% that can make you money.
If you’re going to place this bet, make sure you do it as soon as possible. Check to see if postponements will also count. The sooner you get the bet in, the better odds you get, and even if it’s a situation where they have to delay a week, you could make some money.
And if the fight gets canceled because a fighter doesn’t make weight and you took that bet too, you made even more money.
Touching gloves at the start of a fight is a sign of respect. In some cases, the buildup to a fight is so heated that the fighters decide that they won’t touch gloves.
Oddsmakers know that this happens in roughly 10% to 15% of bouts.
So they offer this prop bet. Once again, you can get pretty good odds on this one.
I tend to avoid it because it’s one of the sillier bets. Even if the fighters have a deep hatred for each other, it’s still hard to predict if they’ll forego the glove touch.
Back to the McGregor versus Mayweather bout. One of the strange prop bets that sportsbooks offered was whether McGregor would bring up Mayweather’s domestic violence and assault convictions.
In all honesty, it was too good of a prop bet not to offer. Mayweather had been involved in the following:
If McGregor had brought up any of these events in the press conference or even in interviews leading up to the fight, it could have incensed Mayweather.
But an incensed Mayweather could be a boxer that’s thrown off his game.
Sites offered and over/under of 1.5 mentions and set the money line at over for -185 and under for +155.
I’ve seen this offered in some big fights where the bout could get heated, but it’s not a commonplace bet.
For those unfamiliar, in boxing, no one is allowed to hit below the belt. If you’re a guy reading this, you know why.
A low blow won’t necessarily stop a fight. Boxing rules state that “a boxer who is hit with an accidental low blow has up to five minutes to recover. If the foul results in an injury that causes the fight to end immediately, the boxer who committed the foul is disqualified.”
So if this happens and the fighter feels he can continue, the fight goes on.
And if you take this bet, you can win some decent cash in a lot of cases.
So the bout hasn’t even occurred yet, but if it’s a big one, the sportsbook might throw out the possibility of a rematch–especially if a title is on the line.
This one is usually a good one to bet on if the fighters are top-notch. I can think of a number of bouts that had rematches including:
It does seem silly to have this type of bet because a number of matches never have rematches and there’s the possibility of a rematch 5 years apart.
If you place this bet, just remember to keep the betting slip somewhere secure. You may need to keep it for a few years.
Yet another Mayweather vs. McGregor prop bet, this bet was on the number of the entourage that would lead each fighter to the ring.
Most sites thought that Mayweather would have more people in his entourage.
But this bet isn’t just limited to the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight. Many high profile fights will offer this bet as the bigger the star, the more people will generally surround them.
This obviously is reserved for fights on a pay-per-view. Pay-per-view matches are fading in popularity with the advent of internet streaming and the number of cord cutters around the country.
One thing to check on this bet is if a relatively new technology called i-PPV (internet pay-per-views) count towards this total.
A number of internet services like Fite TV offer alternative ways to legally buy a pay-per-view, but the numbers may not be looked at in the same way because the pricing structure could be different.
When offered, this bet is listed as an over/under bet for the fight. A fight that’s a run-of-the-mill pay-per-view may have numbers in the 300,000 to 400,000 range. A fight that’s a blockbuster may have the bar set at a few million.
In all honesty, this bet usually pays close to even money in most cases, so it’s not worth the bet. But it is an interesting offering.
This one is always an interesting bet. I like it best on heavyweight fights because they hit harder. And the harder they hit, the more likely they’ll bleed.
Boxing today isn’t like it was 30 years ago. For instance, 30 years ago, a full fight was 15 rounds, today, it’s only 12 rounds.
This was done in the interest of boxer safety.
We simply know a lot more about the body than we did back then.
Boxers that bleed can force a match to be stopped in some cases. It’s a safety issue for both boxers and the referee. Blood flying around can spread disease.
But a minor cut is usually handled by the corner man. They throw some Vaseline on it and send him back into the ring.
You won’t see bleeding anymore like you would in the movie Rocky. You would have in a fight in the 70s or earlier, but not now.
Part of the protective gear a fighter uses is a mouthpiece to protect his teeth. In a fight, teeth can take a severe beating. Between a fighter gritting and clenching his teeth when throwing a punch to him getting hit directly in the jaw, fighters can risk losing their teeth or worse.
But the mouthpiece isn’t held in with glue. A punch can knock it out. A weaken fighter may ease up on the tension needed to keep the mouthpiece in.
So it is entirely possible to see a mouthpiece fly out.
If it happens the referee will pause the bout while he gets the mouthpiece back to the fighter and then the match restarts.
This bet can be a pretty good one to make. A few dollars can make a few hundred on some bouts. So check the odds and see if it’s worth it.
Back to the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight.
Keep in mind, this was the highest grossing pay-per-view in boxing history, so sportsbooks had numerous crazy bets to accommodate a thirsty betting public.
Part of the reason for the popularity of this fight was it was the first major fight between a boxing champion and an MMA champion. Add to it that the boxing champion was undefeated, it had all the makings of a great bout.
As part of the arrangements and the contract that McGregor agreed to was that he would refrain from using MMA tactics and stick strictly to boxing.
It was rumored that if McGregor used an MMA move the contract called for an automatic disqualification, and there would be a financial penalty (that would go from McGregor’s side of the purse to Mayweather’s). I’ll say that this is conjecture because the terms of the contract were never released.
We do know that McGregor has to stick to boxing. So the sports world (as well as the gambling world) was wondering if McGregor would revert to MMA, even out of instinct.
The bout ended with McGregor not using any MMA moves and Mayweather retaining his undefeated record, increasing it to an astonishing 50 wins and 0 losses.
Boxing seems tame to me most of the time because I follow both MMA and professional wrestling too. If you want to see crazy, odd, and strange, follow those industries.
But boxing is cut from the same cloth. It’s like the older brother. The whole family is crazy, but the oldest boy has the most sense.
In most cases, you’ll see 2 fighters that are just getting in the ring to see who’s better. But sometimes you get to see 2 combatants that have an issue that needs to be settled and throwing gloves is the only way to do it. Lucky for us, we get to be part of the fight without getting hurt, we plop our money and back our gladiator.
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