Champions League Boxing: Fantasy Boxing and Wagering
By Derek Bonnett: Anyone looking to add a little excitement and friendly competition to their boxing schedules for 2010 needs to venture over to www.championsleagueboxing.com and sign up for some fantasy boxing.
Champions League Boxing is a little known gem on the web that was put together by Lorne Tradeau, a 31 year old software designer currently living in Laguna Beach, CA. Originally from Victoria, BC, Canada, Tradeau had a brief stint working with Yahoo! Sports on their fantasy games, a job that was landed largely because of his work on CLB. The site was created in 2005 and Tradeau’s goal was to offer a way for boxing fans to become more engaged in the sport.
"I found that many of my friends would ask ’when’s the next big fight?’" Tradeau explained. "The site was supposed to offer a place for them to go to find out. I was also hoping to simplify the weight classes and champions such that a casual fan could easily understand who the fighters are and how they fit into the overall picture, particularly as fighters jump between divisions."
Ultimately, Tradeau wanted to make boxing more engaging for fans. He found that the amount of time that takes place between fights and the relative infrequency of any particular fighter fighting made it very difficult for new fans to get engaged. Tradeau felt that if he created a game that offered constant fan participation then fans could quickly get up to speed and enjoy the sport.
"Since boxing is always happening without a specific season, it is tough for a casual fan to maintain interest," Tradeau stated. "By creating yearly seasons and awarding points to fighters, the theory is that we can create a more consumable product."
So, what are some of the features Champions League Boxing currently has operating?
There are two main sections: Champions League and the Fantasy League. The Champions League is a competition among actual boxers. Throughout the year, boxers are awarded points for each fight they participate in. At the end of the year, the boxer with the most points is crowned the "victor." It is very similar to the Super Six Tourney points system. Fighters earn extra points for competing against top opponents, knocking opponents out, and defending Ring Magazine Championships.
Boxers earn five points for a KO, four for a UD, three for a SD, two for a win by DQ, and one for a Draw. If they are fighting a member of the Champions League then they earn up to five points bonus. If they successfully win or defend a Ring Magazine championship then they will earn another five bonus points.
"Pacquiao has been the victor the last two years largely based upon his strong opposition," Tradeau observed. "His last six opponents have been Champions League members. This is a big advantage when it comes to points. Adamek has also done well because he’s been fairly active and has defended a Ring Magazine championship. In 2007, Somsak Sithchatchawal stole the show by fighting ten times in one year. No one else even had a chance. However, his opposition was so poor that the Ring dropped him from their rankings that year."
The Fantasy League is for fans to predicts the outcomes of bouts. They choose who will win and how - by stoppage (with approximate round) or decision (UD or SD). Points are awarded for each prediction with bonuses for accuracy. Fans compete over four, three-month quarters to ultimately have a yearly winner. However, new fans can sign up at anytime throughout the year and participate in any quarter.
"Fights are selected primarily based on the Champions League roster," Tradeau stated. "Boxers who are in the Champions League will almost always have their bouts listed. To get into the Champions league, boxers must be ranked within the top five of their division by Ring Magazine at some point during the year. Other fights are added based on fan interest or significance."
Correct predictions will also earn members fake "money" that they can bet using the Wagering System. Members can wager this money against other fans on any bout they want. They also can also escalate the dispute by talking trash to one another through the wager message board.
How serious does the competition get among Champions League Boxing members?
"Some fans certainly take it more seriously than others," Tradeau laughed. "I think that mostly it is just a fun way to show off your knowledge of boxing. Some new users get a little discouraged when it is clear that they aren’t quite as good as picking bouts as they think they are."
Right now, Champions League Boxing is very small. Tradeau has about 175 registered users with around 30-40 actively predicting bouts. Champions League Boxing has members from the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Singapore, Australia, and a few others. Tradeau is hoping to see these numbers grow in 2010.
"I’d love to see some of these professional boxing analysts participate. I know that Kevin Iole at Yahoo! always takes a lot of flak when he gets a prediction wrong," Tradeau said. "It would be interesting to see how well they do over time."
So, how does one go about signing up for 2010’s fantasy boxing league at CLB?
Go to www.championsleagueboxing.com and click the "Sign Up" link in the top right corner of the site. The rest is self-explanatory.
"I’d recommend checking in once a week around Tuesday or Wednesday to see make sure that you get all your picks in," Tradeau offered to new members. "You can predict bouts as far ahead as you want, but new bouts are always being added. No predictions can be made on the day of the fight. It can also be a little tricky to recover in the game if you miss a week or two."
This is strictly because it is very difficult for me to know the actual starting time for fights. So I cut it off the day before as a safety mechanism. Even so, the Japanese fights sometimes screw me over.
"CLB is the best fantasy boxing site around," exclaimed Matthew Branch, 2008’s Fantasy League Winner. "It’s very easy to use, the administrator is up for adding fights that members think should be included, and it’s just a great site."
How about it, Secondsout fans? Are you willing to put your picks to the test?
January 2, 2010