Say, Who Wants To Play A Prediction Game?

I first flirted years ago with the idea of a friendly competition whereby friends of the site and myself would see who could predict fights most accurately. (I almost suggested this would be a game of wits, but anyone who regularly predicts fight outcomes knows that the sport quite delightfully can make fools of us all with unexpected outcomes.)

Thanks in part to the prodding of friend of the site/contributor Scott Kraus, as well as the dawning of a new year, the time has come to test interest out there in just such a feature.

I have in mind a loose structure. In any prediction post I write, participants would submit their own predictions in the comments section – with a deadline of, perhaps, midnight the day of the fight. The prediction would name the fighter who would win, as well as the method of that victory, such as KO-4 or SD-12. Points would be awarded for picking the winner correctly (say, 5 points, because being correct matters most); a correct upset call (say, 1 point, because correct upset calls are neat); and the most accurate call of the how the winner won (say, 1 point — so if you predict KO-4 and it goes down that way, you get an extra point… or if it’s KO-5 and KO-4 is the closest call, you get an extra point… or if it’s KO-3 and someone else had it KO-2, you each get an extra point). I’m flirting with making the whole thing more awesome by awarding points on a more absurd scale, like 500 points instead of 5.

I’m thinking we’ll do a trial period of, say, six predictions (like a six-round fight for a prospect, get it?), to see how it goes. Then, if that’s successful, i.e., we have strong participation and interest in continuing it, we’ll renew for another 12-prediction (like 12 rounds for a big fight, get it?) tournament, and if successful, another and another. That way, anyone who wants to get in but is concerned about starting too far down the standings can hop in for the next round. We’ll award small prizes — likely, very small — for each round except the initial trial run, then look at some year-end awards, too. To give you a sense of how much predictin’ might get done, I wrote prediction posts for 72 fights in 2009. Standings would be posted periodically.

Here’s what I need from you: a commitment to participate. I need 10 people to say they’re in, and we’ll go — in fact, we’ll start with a special prediction post kicking off the trial tournament for this weekend’s HBO doubleheader and finalizing all rules (or if there aren’t 10 people interested, I just won’t bring it up again). And if you have feedback on the structure and rules, please offer them.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.