The history and evolution of boxing betting

Boxing is counted amongst the earliest forms of organised sports known to mankind. In fact, at one point of time horseracing and boxing were the two most popular sports in the world. A major reason why these sports enjoyed massive popularity was because of the kind of adrenaline rush they brought to the spectators. However, another important aspect that made boxing famous was betting. Betting on boxing matches further boosted the popularity of the sport.

Photo Credits:  Fresquez Promotions/Courtesy

 Nowadays, you can take advantage of free bets offered by a large number of online bookmakers and actively bet on boxing fights in any part of the world. However, what sets boxing and such contact sports apart is that you can’t easily predict the outcomes. Hence, boxing betting can be full of surprises.

The beginning of boxing betting

No one can pinpoint the exact time boxing betting came into being. It is widely believed that people started betting on boxing around the same time that the sport came into existence, which was in the 1700s. It witnessed a decline later on, and returned to its old popularity in the early part of the 20th century. Although boxing underwent all kinds of highs and lows, and variations in its rules, one thing that never changed was the people’s interest in boxing betting. Betting on boxing fights was banned in the United Kingdom and United States during the early 20th century. This resulted in boxing bouts moving to the gambling centres, the reason why all the famed fights happened in Las Vegas.

Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey were the earliest stars of this sport. Johnson won the heavyweight championship in the year 1908, becoming the first-ever African-American to win the title. Betting on boxing matches grew massively during this time as champions were expected to fight the other top fighters of the world, to keep their championship belts.

Courtesy photo: Fresquesz Promotions

The title went to Jack Dempsey in 1920, around the same time when boxing became the most popular sport in US alongside baseball. Dempsey became the first boxer to cross the million-dollar mark, with huge amounts of money flowing into the sport. The game witness another decline thereafter, until the arrival of Sonny Liston on the scene during the 1960s. But it was when Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) beat Louis twice, against all odds, and won the heavyweight boxing champion title, that boxing betting became systematic and bettors actively started shopping for boxing betting tips. It was Muhammad Ali who made the entire world sit up and take notice of the sport. He increased boxing’s popularity to such a level that different boxing centres opened-up in all parts of the world, witnessing major boxing bouts and big money. Here’s all that you wanted to know about the legend.     

The earliest types of bets placed on boxing bouts were the round bets, involving betting on the number of rounds in the boxing matches. People then started betting on the way in which fights would be won – points win, technical knockouts, decision and split decision.


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