For a sport that should be so brutally simple - two men stand in a square and try to knock each other down - boxing is all-too-often anything but a straightforward contest of pugilistic prowess. When placing any bet on a boxing match, you have to remember that around a third of professional fights are decided on points. Whilst it's true that the heavier weight divisions tend to deliver fewer points' decisions, it's also worth remembering that championship bouts
deliver more than non-championship bouts, presumably because fighters are better matched at that level.
So, when placing a bet on the winner of a boxing match, remember that your success may be determined not by any definitive action from within the ring, but by three human beings sat at ringside, who do not have the advantage of the CompuBox-driven statistics delivered to your screens by boxing broadcasters which demonstrate which fighter is in the ascendancy. Instead, they have to make a subjective decision, in a short amount of time, under a lot of pressure.
This has led to some howling decisions. And just as Manny Pacquiao may have benefitted from judging irregularities in his first three fights with Juan Manuel Márquez, he was, conversely, robbed when losing on points to Timothy Bradley in June 2012.
Judging frailty is, in part, demonstrable. For example, in a 2005 study, Balmer et al showed that judges in European bouts are significantly more likely to award a fight to a home boxer. Butboxing judges are frequently accused of a lot more than simply being overly influenced by the support of a partisan crowd: being biased towards the incumbent in championship matches; over-rewarding work-rate against punches landed; and ensuring that the fighter the promoters want to win (the one who is more profitable in terms of future pay-per-view television deals), duly does so.
Home advantage aside, little of this is provable, of course, but it should serve as a cautionary note before placing any boxing bet. Make sure you've considered the impact the judges may have on the outcome of the fight, and adjust your stakes accordingly.