The sports wagering industry fears that Briggs’ first round loss to Danny Green last night was premeditated.
Paul Briggs went down 29 seconds into the first round of his IBO cruiserweight title fight with Danny Green last night in Perth. Centrebet spokesman Neil Evans called the outcome “highly, highly dubious” after hundreds of bets were made on a first or second-round knockout in the morning and afternoon prior to the fight. He added, ”we’ve never ever in the history of boxing seen so much money go on a specific decision outcome, as in a first or second-round knockout.” One punter bet $50,000 with Centrebet, which is almost unheard of for such a high odds bet. Centrebet odds started at around 5.00 but fell to 2.00 as a result of heavy betting.
Dubious betting activity was also recorded on Sportsbet. Odds for Green to knock-out Briggs in the first round shortened from 7.00 to 2.00 after a ten minute period of significant betting activity. One punter tried to place $10,000 on a first-round knockout, but was turned down because Sportsbet deemed the bet to be suspicious.
Danny Green appeared to be furious at the result, and apologised to the crowd. He promised that Paul Briggs would not be paid for his appearance.
Apparently Sportsbet will pay all winning bets and refund all losing bets, which is disappointing. I think that for suspicious activity on any level, bookmakers should refund all bets, win or lose.
Betting scandals are by no means new to sport. In 2007 Davydenko retired hurt from a match against Martin Vassallo Arguello . Prior to his retirement a huge number of bets on his opponent poured into Betfair. Over ten times the usual amount had been bet on the fixture, which forced Betfair to void all bets. Some other recent betting controversies include horse racing in Australia, sumo wrestling in Japan, Starcraft in Korea, and football in Europe.
There are numerous opponents to online sports betting, and scandals such as this don’t help the industry’s cause. I hope the sports betting industry and the IBO get to the bottom of what happened, and punish anyone who is proved to be involved in cheating. Ideally, every punter who placed $10,000 or more on the fixture should be questioned. The precedent should be set that it’s not worthwhile to attempt results rigging. If the only outcome is some bets are refunded, then this will only send the message that you need to smarter next time you cheat.
Boxing writer and commentator Paul Upham has defended Briggs, saying the knock he took to the head was actually worse than it looks. Even if he’s right, it will be interesting to see everyone’s interpretation of the betting activity prior to the fight.