Betting on Baer, Louis Go Light, Says Runyon

Damon Runyon

San Francisco Examiner/September 23, 1935

 If you care to find out how much betting there is on the Louis-Baer fight, take a $1,000 bill into the betting marts and try to get it down on either man. 

If you haven’t actually got the $1,000, just go around making a noise like a $1,000 bill. You will discover that nearly everybody else is offering to bet in the same kind of currency, in short, that the betting is largely conversational. 

You can always tell how much betting is going on by the price on any event. When one man is a topheavy favorite, that means that there is very little wagering. In this case of Louis and Baer, the Baer admirers are asking a price that precludes any considerable betting on Louis by the discreet gamblers. 

Want 9 To 5

They want as high as 9 to 5. No one who knows anything about fistic form is going to lay that price for any large amount. Louis perhaps figures to be favorite, not only off his record, but off Baer’s last fight. However, the price should be no stronger than 7 to 5, tops. 

The popular form of betting just now seems to be to take a good long price that Baer will flatten Louis inside of four or five rounds, and then bet on Louis to win on general results. We do not agree that this is a logical way of reasoning, but we have heard of a number of comparatively small bets on that basis. 

Louis Has Chance

In other words, the bettors figure that Baer will win by a knockout early in the fight or not at all. They think that he will die away in the later rounds just as he did with Braddock. 

Our view is that Louis has just as good a chance as Baer, if not better, to land the early knockout. He is younger, fresher, and probably a better hitter. Certainly he is more accurate. The only thing that makes this a contest at all in the minds of the Louis supporters is the question as to Joe’s ability to take a good smack on the chin.


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