have a fighting chance

novice_81

Senior Member
German
Hi

Reading boxing news I came across such a sentence:

As long as Mr X has power in his right hand, he will always have a fighting chance.

Does it mean he will always have opponents to fight with or the chances to win a fight?
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    This is an idiom that is used not only in boxing but in all aspects of life.

    To have a fighting chance = to possibly have a fair chance.

    The indication is that Mr X is not the favourite to win but he possibly has a fair chance of winning [with a little luck].

    "The weather is against us, this car is running badly, but we have a fighting chance of reaching the hotel by 8 o'clock."

    "In the coming election the People's Party are gaining ground slowly but they have only 2 weeks to reach 51% support; some optimists say they have a fighting chance of achieving this."
     
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    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    A fighting chance usually means a reasonable chance, i.e. better than 50%. So the question, with regard to the above becomes 'a fighting chance of what?'. It could be that the journalist, in writing about Mr. X, was attempting in some way to be funny - it's hard to tell.
     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Interesting, Beryl. I usually interpret it as having a small-but-possible chance - say a 10%-30% chance of winning. A possibility of winning if you really strive for it.

    If your chances are better than 50% you are a favorite to win; much better than a fighting chance.

    <Just a moment>
    From my Mac dictionary (New Oxford American): a possibility of success if great effort is made: "they still have a fighting chance of clinching the title".
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes PW, I was surprised to find that my dictionary has that too:
    fighting chance n a chance of success given supreme effort.
    To be honest, I'm not sure that's how it's conventionally used in the media (but of course, it could just be me), so I'll let post#3 stand so that people can think about it - I shall also remain vigilant.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    'A fighting chance' means you have a chance provided you genuinely do fight.
    Thus a boxer with 'a hammer in his hand' (an exceptionally hard punch) still has a chance even if he is fighting a taller, heavier, younger, quicker opponent.
    That was exactly the situation of Henry Cooper against Cassius Clay (Wembley 1963). When Cooper floored Clay
    The opponent will outbox him and score more punches, but the man with the really hard punch always has a chance of catching the opponent and knocking him out with one blow.
     
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    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi

    Reading boxing news I came across such a sentence:

    As long as Mr X has power in his right hand, he will always have a fighting chance.

    Does it mean he will always have opponents to fight with or the chances to win a fight?
    It means that he will have a chance of winning the fight, not a very good chance necessarily, but a chance which might make the fight worth betting on, if the odds are right.

    The point is that the power in the right hand will always threaten to put the other man out for the count, and that means that Mr X, while he may get knocked around a lot and not win many rounds, will always have a chance of winning by knock-out.
     
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