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Investing With Boxing Picks, Week 10: All Good Things Must Come To An End

The weekly winning streak is over. The loss was small but could (should) have been bigger. But, hey, we're not playing checkers here. "All in the game, yo."

Both of the fighters we picked last week, Joshua Franco and Mark Heffron, ended up with badly swollen eyes that brought their respective fights to early conclusions.  Heffron had trouble stopping Denzel Bentley‘s right hand and was hurt early.  His left eye had swelled up enough that his corner pulled him out after four rounds.   Franco only made it through two rounds when the ringside physician ended his fight because his right eye had nearly swollen shut.  And that’s when things went sideways.


Nevada instituted an instant replay system earlier this year to help adjudicate boxing matches.  Specifically, the Nevada Athletic Commission rules read as follows:

 4.  At the conclusion of a contest or exhibition stopped immediately because of an injury to an unarmed combatant pursuant to NAC 467.718, a referee may view a replay, if available, in order to determine whether the injury in question was caused by a legal blow or a foul. If the determination is made that the injury was the result of:

     (a) A legal blow, the injured unarmed combatant must be determined to have lost the contest via technical knockout.

     (b) A foul, it must be determined whether the foul was intentional or accidental. If deemed:

          (1) Intentional, the outcome of the contest must be determined in accord with NAC 467.698; or

          (2) Accidental, the outcome of the contest must be determined in accord with NAC 467.702 or 467.7966.


This rule doesn’t seem objectionable as it is written in this document.  But we strongly suggest the addition of the following phrase: “If, after 10 minutes, no decisive action has been taken the referee’s original decision will be upheld.  And any fans in attendance will be provided free beer for the remainder of the event on the Nevada Athletic Commission’s dime.”

26 minutes for a review is absurd.

It looked to us like it was probably a punch that caused the swelling.  But there was some contact with the head (even though no member of ESPN’s crew acknowledged it) and we think that had Russell Mora’s initial call been that a punch caused the damage it would have been upheld.  We’ve unfortunately watched enough professional sports replay reviews to be overly familiar with “inconclusive evidence.”  The commission ruled that a headbutt caused the swelling, the bout was ruled a no contest, and our bet pushed.  But we probably should have lost some money here.  At any rate, here is how our portfolio currently stands:


Boxing Betting Annualized Rate of Return (since 9/17/20):  265.63%

Mutual Funds Annualized Rate of Return (since 9/17/20):    49.10%

Boxing Betting Return On Investment (ROI):   32.65%


This week we’re betting the co-feature on Thursday’s Ring City series debut on NBC Sports Network, O’Shaquie Foster vs Mickey Roman.  This series is being sold on providing promoter agnostic competitive matchups to be held at the Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles.  The first three shows that have been booked fit the bill and this series is a welcome addition to the regular boxing schedule.  Foster was a successful amateur with over 100 fights and he faced a number of fighters who have gone on to have successful pro careers.  But in Roman he faces the toughest opponent of his professional career.  Foster likes to operate at distance and uses lateral movement, but he’s a good counter puncher and doesn’t use so much movement that he nullifies his offense.  He will have a hand speed advantage here and should have success sharpshooting Roman with a longer reach.  We’ve seen Foster stop lesser fighters with one punch but that isn’t the focus of his offensive attack.  Roman is the quintessential grizzled veteran who will come forward behind a high guard and look to grind you down.  He’s a little long in the tooth at 35 years old and has 75 fights and 470 rounds under his belt as a professional.  We look for him to try to plow ahead and work the body early in the fight but we think he’ll do more following than cutting the ring off.  Foster will likely rely on the clinch if he can’t keep separation with his feet and we think he’ll be fresher down the stretch.


$50 on O’Shaquie Foster at -253


The other fight we’re betting this week is Saturday’s main event on DAZN, Sebastian Formella vs Conor Benn.  There’s a lot to unpack for this fight.  First, this is the 4th matchup since we started where we have  the underdog rated a level above the favorite in our ceiling ratings.  Two of the three yielded nice paydays for us, Subriel Matias over Malik Hawkins and Jose Zepeda over Ivan Baranchyk.  The third was probably our biggest error in handicapping, Diego Magdaleno getting blown out by Isaac Cruz.  But for this matchup, the higher rated fighter, Formella, is feather fisted and fighting on the road which means he’ll likely need to win 9 rounds to get a decision here.  Miguel Vazquez found out how hard it is to win as the visitor while fighting on the back foot when he won 10 or 11 rounds on most observers scorecards against Lewis Ritson and walked away with a loss in the worst robbery of 2020.  The line for this fight opened even and moved sharply in Benn’s direction within 10 minutes, likely because he is at home and he’s also the son of a legend.  Benn is more aggressive and has more pop but he’s never faced a fighter as skilled as Formella.  We think he’ll have a hard time finding him, but he’ll look like the aggressor and that can be enough to win rounds if he isn’t eating power shots.  Formella doesn’t have a style quite as negative and ugly as Vazquez, so he should gain some benefit there.  He will stand his ground and fight in the pocket at times and his inside game is better than most standup European fighters.  He’s got good feet and can counter well and he’ll have to make sure he punches enough to make the case for himself in every round.  Formella’s only loss came just three months ago to Shawn Porter, who was just too strong and relentless to let Formella get off.  It’s possible that Benn can fight a similar style fight, but Porter is world class and we don’t think Benn is.  If this fight was taking place in Germany and Formella was getting these odds (he wouldn’t be), we’d place a 5 unit bet.  In this case we’re sticking with a 2 unit bet in a fight that should be very close on the cards.


$25 on Sebastian Formella at +189


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