Boxing has experienced several positive changes this year, the biggest being the return of high level boxing to primetime network TV. With the introduction of the Premier Boxing Champions and Friday Night Knockout series, boxing fans can watch high level fights for free on a consistent basis. The increase in televised cards has opened the path for boxing fantasy leagues.
I had a chance to speak with Nic Canobbio, the vice president of Compubox and founder of ThrowdownFantasy.com. Nic spoke about the launch of the new boxing fantasy league which allows players to draft fighters, play in cash and free roll games, and win big prizes. In addition, Canobbio talked about the basic rules and strategies for playing fantasy boxing. Lastly, Nic talked about working with Compubox and addressed the scoring for the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao match. Here is what Nic Canobbio had to say.
Jenna J: You currently working on a boxing fantasy game in which players can play, score points and make some cash. Can you talk a little about ThrowdownFantasy.com?
Nic Canobbio: It’s a game that we have been developing for a couple of years now. We officially launched it on the Mayweather-Pacquiao weekend. It’s very similar to any other fantasy sports out there, it’s a weekly game or biweekly game, depending on how many fights are in a specific weekend.
You draft five fighters, you’re given a salary cap and each fighter is given a salary based on their past experience and what we can assume for the match up. You draft five fighters and you get points if a fighter wins. You get bonus points for knockdowns, knockouts, you get points for the Compubox strikes. The players that accumulate the most points at the end of the week get a piece of the cash prize.
Jenna J: There’s fantasy games out there for the big sports like football, basketball and baseball. How important do you think it was to bring this to boxing?
Nic Canobbio: I’ve always been a fan of boxing, I grew up with boxing. I’m the Vice President of Compubox, my father is the President and founder of Compubox. I’ve been around boxing my whole life and in recent years we’ve seen the explosion of fantasy sports and we thought, why not implement this into boxing?
It really started to blow up and really make sense once the Premier Boxing Champions series was announced. That opened the door for a lot more fights each weekend and it’s to the point where there’s three or four different cards in a matter of two or three days. It really opens the door to more exposure to the sport and it allowed us to create this game so we can fit a good sized game inside of a week or two weeks, rather than a month or two.
Jenna J: How important was it for you to launch this for a big event like the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight?
Nic Canobbio: We really had it going since last January, it was more of a test the first year, figuring out what works best as far as scoring and how long games should last. When they announced the Mayweather fight, we ramped up everything and we redesigned the site, we really cleaned up all the bugs.
It was important to get it launched for that initial game because we had a $10,000 game for that Mayweather fight and we had 600 people enter into that game. We were able to fill that game up just on the exposure of that fight. That wasn’t just boxing, it was a universal event, that was the Super bowl of boxing and it really helped us get a lot of exposure to our game.
Jenna J: Who is an ideal fighter for this type of game? Who would you say is a fighter who is strong in all the areas that score the most points?
Nic Canobbio: The type of fighter is someone who is gonna throw a lot of punches, is going to land a lot, and has a good chance of knocking the guy out. For example, Gennady Golovkin is a guy that will throw and land at a high percentage and he’ll wear his guy out and eventually knock him out. A fighter like him, he’s going to score a lot of fantasy points.
The fighter on the co-main event, Roman Gonzalez, he was able to land a tremendous amount of punches in a short period of time and was able to score a lot of fantasy points. A guy that is gonna land a lot of punches and is gonna land at a high connect percentage and has a good chance of knocking a guy out.
Jenna J: In the current game, you have Deontay Wilder on the list and he’s a fighter that seems like he can win you a lot of points. Would you say that you can win the biggest amount of point with a first round KO?
Nic Canobbio: We try to set it up so that if a guy does knock someone out in the first round, he’s gonna get the most points that you can get. You’ll get 30 points for the knockout win, you’ll get 80 points for the first round bonus and you get 0.1 point for every punch landed.
You can expect to get a tremendous amount of points for a first round knockout, and if he decides to go a couple of rounds and get breaks the 80 punches landed mark, then he’ll get credit for the connect percentages and that’s when the real points come in.
Jenna J: You’re the Vice President of Compubox, can you talk a little bit about what Compubox has done for the sport of boxing?
Nic Canobbio: This is our 30th year and in recent history, it’s tough to watch a fight and not see the stats show up in between rounds or the final stats at the end of the fight. What we’ve done is created a box score for boxing, where the next day you can go and see how much activity a fighter has and who dominated as far as the stats.
We never have claimed that whoever lands the most punches will win. It’s not meant to judge a fight, it’s simply a barometer of activity. If a guy does throw and land more, then chances are he’s going to win the fight and that’s what we’ve brought to the sport of boxing with Compubox. It’s a great tool for the fans and the commentators and it’s just a way to show the activity of the fight.
Jenna J: People asked a lot about the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight. Some people did a slow motion replay of the fight and they said that the stats didn’t quite add up. What do you have to say to the people who complained about the way the Compubox numbers showed up?
Nic Canobbio: With that fight, there were a lot of Mayweather fans and there were a lot of Pacquiao fans. Pacquiao fans were the ones putting it in slow motion and counting what they thought landed and what they thought was thrown. The bottom line is, we’re not biased.
We sit there and we watch a fight, if a guy throws a punch, we count it, if it lands, we count it. There’s no bias, we don’t have favorites, we’re not Pacquiao fans or Mayweather fans, we just sit there and count. It’s very easy for people who are die hard fans of a particular fighter to go and count in slow motion a fight after the fact and say, “This punch landed and this didn’t.” The numbers didn’t determine who won the fight, the judges did. The judges don’t see these numbers, they’re the ones who watch the fight and scored it.
If you want to dive deeper into those numbers and look at Mayweather’s previous twelve fights, you will see that his opponents over those fights averaged 19% punches landed. Pacquiao landed 19% of his punches. That should prove how accurate our punch stat was, because Mayweather made Pacquiao look like every other opponent that he has ever faced, especially over the last twelve fights. Pacquiao did exactly what every other opponent did and it showed, the numbers showed that he landed the same exact percentage as the other twelve fighters.
Jenna J: In closing, can you let the fans know how fans can sign up for Throwdown Fantasy and any other details involved in playing?
Nic Canobbio: You simply go to ThrowdownFantasy.com and when you sign up for free, we’ll give you enough Throwdown points to enter into our free roll game in which you can win up to $250 in cash prizes. That’s free to play, all you have to do is sign up.
We like to have people play the free roll games first so they can get familiar with the site and with the scoring and then you can move to our cash games where you can win upwards of $10,000 and hopefully $20,000 to $30,000 prizes in the future when the game gets bigger and we have more contestants. Go to ThrowdownFantasy.com and start playing for free, then work your way into our cash games.