Well, after a stack of speculation, it’s official: Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor will be fighting with lighter gloves.
Nevada boxing regulators gave the green light for the fighters to use eight-ounce gloves, as opposed to usually mandated ten-ounce gloves used in their weight class. They’re smaller gloves than Mayweather would normally use, but still much heavier than the ones McGregor uses in the UFC.
Commissioners also approved veteran Robert Byrd as the referee for the fight. Boxing fans quickly pointed out that he’s the ref who let the first bout between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev get very rough and tumble. Whether that’s a portent of things to come or not is anyone’s guess.
Biggest thing to come out of the NAC meeting is that Robert Bryd, the ref who let Ward-Kovalev I get physical, will ref #MayweatherMcGregor
— Chisanga Malata (@Chisanga_Malata) August 16, 2017
Earlier, McGregor boasted that a fight in eight-ounce gloves would allow him to knock Mayweather out in the first round:
If we are in eight-ounce gloves, [Mayweather] will be floored multiple times in the first round. I believe first-round KO in eight-ounce gloves. The fact I can’t follow through in MMA and pound the head into the canvas and there’s a 10-count in boxing, maybe I’ll give him second round. But eight-ounce gloves, he will be done in two.
Obviously that’s classic McGregor bluster, but it’s clear that the glove change is beneficial to his technique. He declared this morning that he is “very pleased” with the decision.
The proposal for lighter gloves first came from Mayweather – unusual considering the fact that they provide no specific benefit for him. In fact, he’s said in the past that he has “brittle fists”. It came after rumours shot around sports media that Mayweather was actually blocking McGregor’s request for lighter gloves – which Mayweather show down in an extremely subtle Instagram post.
Dr Raymond M Monsell, chairman of the Association of Ringside Physicians, wrote to the Nevada Athletic Commission earlier this week to request that the gloves not be changed.
“Unless there is scientific evidence to support the view that such a change might improve the safety of this bout, we would strongly caution against allowing current regulations to be overruled,” he wrote.
“To do so would also set a precedent for future bouts.”
Other fans and boxing writers on Twitter have expressed skepticism that a change in the gloves provides any material difference to the fight – with some claiming that it’s “psychological”.
Every fighter, coach and boxer I’ve spoken with say 8oz make little or no difference, maybe more a psychological factor #MayweatherMcGregor
— Niall McGrath (@niallmcgrath4) August 16, 2017
The fight is going down on August 26th.