Boxing action may not quite be as big as it was during the halcyon days of Muhammad Ali, ‘Sugar Ray’ Leonard or Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr, but it’s still really popular in the United States and so is betting on the sport.
When big boxing matches happen and cross over into the mainstream, the hype is enormous and pay-per-view numbers go through the roof. And betting on fights gives added excitement and reason to pick a fighter to root for.
Nowadays the ring’s top boxing superstars are led by Mexican sensation Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. The reigning P4P king, Canelo’s fights are always must-see and draw big viewing figures.
Meanwhile the heavyweight division – boxing’s marquee weight class – is more interesting than it has been for years.
Americans Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr are both at the top end of the heavyweight rankings, trying to become world champions again. Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk now hold all the titles after Usyk shocked Anthony Joshua with a unanimous decision win in London.
The hottest division of all right now though is lightweight, with the likes of Vasiliy Lomachenko, Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, and Ryan Garcia all providing star quality.
Garcia, promoted by former boxing megastar Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, is seen as the sports’s next big thing.
Eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is still active, while former heavyweight king Mike Tyson made a sensational return in a 2020 exhibition match. He’s expected to do it again in 2021.
Now we also have the spectacle of YouTubers fighting in front of massive audiences – a prime example the two matches between Logan Paul and KSI. Logan fought Floyd Mayweather Jr on June 6, while his brother Jake outpointed former UFC star Tyron Woodley on August 29.
Boxing’s biggest problem is that all too often the best fighters don’t meet each other in the ring. There are four major governing bodies who hand out world titles:
- WBC – World Boxing Council
- WBA – World Boxing Association
- IBF – International Boxing Federation
- WBO – World Boxing Organization
To add to this mess, fighters and promoters are often affiliated to specific TV networks, again making some fights impossible to make.
For example Bob Arum’s Top Rank has a deal with ESPN+ while Al Haymon’s PBC (Premier Boxing Champions) works with Showtime and Fox.
Streaming platform DAZN – the self-proclaimed ‘Netflix of sports’ – caused a major stir in the U.S. boxing market in 2018 when it launched with a huge spending spree.
DAZN inked massive deals with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing (estimated at $1billion over eight years) and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.
The aforementioned Canelo meanwhile signed a landmark $365million pact with DAZN for 11 fights. In the end he managed just three before the deal came to an early end.
There are some fantastic upcoming boxing fights on schedule this summer, and here are the biggest ones:
- October 9: Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3 (WBC, Ring magazine, lineal heavyweight)
- November 6: Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs Caleb Plant (WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO super-middleweight)
Is betting on Boxing legal?
A number of states have opened up for legal sports betting since the Supreme Court struck down PASPA (the law prohibiting sports betting outside of Nevada) in 2018.
And betting on boxing is legal in all of those states. The general rule is you need to be inside the state to bet – and sometimes on the premises of a casino with a licensed sportsbook.
For an up-to-date take on which states are legal for sports betting, and which are not, check out our Betting Laws section and our state-by-state guides.
Many states allow betting via mobile apps – just download, sign up, deposit dollars and play. Again, check out our guides to the best sportsbooks and online betting sites, and where they operate.
If you’re a hardcore boxing fan, you probably know who you are picking for the big fight. But if not it pays to check out some boxing picks.
Everybody has an opinion on which fighter will win, from former boxers to current boxers to TV analysts and boxing writers. Many of these picks are free.
After a little while you’ll be pretty good at working out who knows what they are talking about. They’re the ones you want to side with…
Boxing odds and fight lines
The boxing lines tell you what the odds are for fighters going into a matchup. The money line is the main bet in boxing, where you pick one of the fighters to win. All you need for a winning bet, is your chosen fighter to prevail.
But there are plenty of other markets with a host of props available on the biggest fights.
Boxing money line
If you bet the money line in boxing, you’re just picking one fighter to win. Nothing more.
Example: Canelo Alvarez is fighting Gennadiy Golovkin. Canelo is -150, Golovkin is +230
- You bet Canelo and he wins, you make $100 proft for every $150 you bet
- You bet Golovkin and he wins, you make $230 profit for every $100 you bet
You can also do a 3-way money line bet in boxing which includes the draw or tie as an option (not unheard of – even in huge fights). The draw is always pretty big odds.
Boxing betting: winning method
The money line is the simplest way to bet on boxing, but hardly the most fun. The odds are often very tight and you don’t stand to win much.
If you bet the winning method though, you are likely to win more dollars for being more specific about the result. Harder to predict, but with a bigger upside.
You can bet on a fighter to win by a particular method, with popular examples being:
- KO – win by knockout.
- TKO – win by stoppage
- DQ – win by disqualification
- Decision – win on points after full distance
- Technical decision – win on points when fight stopped
Sportsbooks offer different odds about each result. If you’re betting a heavy favourite, going for the method can make it a bit more interesting.
Over/under or total rounds in boxing betting
If you bet the over/underin boxing, you are wagering on how long the fight will last.
Example: Ryan Garcia is fighting Manny Pacquiao. The over is set at 7.5 rounds:
- If you bet the over, you need the fight to go longer than 7.5 rounds
- If you bet the under, you want it to finish earlier than 7.5 rounds
You should always check your chosen sportsbook’s rules on how they deal with special markets like this. If you don’t know the details, you could end up being disappointed come fight night.
Boxing prop bets
Props (proposition) are a a really fun way of betting on all sports – and boxing is no different.
These special lines can relate to just about anything, apart from the result of the fight that is.
For example you might like a fighter to win in a specific round – an exact pick that can delivery great results. The odds are way bigger of course than the money line.
Another bet might be a certain thing to happen in a fight – maybe a fighter to get knocked down.
We would not recommend laying big money down on props. They often have pretty nice odds, but that’s for a reason…
As in other sports, parlays are a great way to boost the excitement, and potentially your bank account.
You can pick the outcome of multiple events, all in the same bet. For example you might pick three fighters to each win their fights on the same night. Harder to win, but with a bigger upside as the odds multiply as each fighter wins.
Boxing public betting
If you’re watching the fights and have no idea who to bet, public betting is other useful pointer – just like free and expert picks.
Public boxing betting will tell you which fighter is favored in terms of either pure bets placed, or money wagered. The latter is great – it tells you where the high rollers are putting down their dollars.
Most really big fights are planned months out, some years. But even the ones that aren’t confirmed, you can often still bet on.
If a big fight has no confirmed date, some sportsbooks will still post lines, putting an end date for the fight to happen. If you bet and it doesn’t – you get your money back.
For example, a lot of sportsbooks are still quoting odds for Tyson Fury fights against Anthony Joshua and for Joshua against Deontay Wilder. Even though both may never even happen…
Best sportsbooks: Where can I bet on boxing online?
There are a slew of legal online sportsbooks out there waiting for your custom. Now you just need to use that to your advantage. So which boxing betting sites are the best?
These sportsbooks offer terrific sign-up offers and bonuses for sports bettors – including big dollars in free bets.
You are not restricted to signing up with one sportsbook, you can sign up with multiple – this way you can take the best odds on offer.
Check out our online bookmakers section for sportsbook reviews, sign-up offers and full details on how to get started.