17 Aug, 2017
The Nevada State Athletic Commission approved the request from Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor for smaller boxing gloves on Wednesday, just 10 days before their highly anticipated fight on Aug. 26.
The NSAC voted unanimously in favor of a one-time exception that will allow both fighters to wear 8-ounce gloves during their 154-pound bout. Per NSAC regulations, any boxing match contested above 147 pounds mandates 10-ounce gloves.
Chairman Anthony Marnell, who strongly chastised both camps for using the NSAC as a “pawn” for social media controversy to sell tickets, noted that while he holds a strong respect for the commission’s rules, it must always “adopt it to current times.”
The issue came to light on Aug. 1, when Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) wrote on Facebook, “Let’s fight in 8 oz gloves.”
Mayweather, 40, has fought the majority of his career in 8-ounce gloves. McGregor, the UFC’s lightweight champion, is used to 4-ounce gloves in mixed martial arts.
Both fighters submitted a waiver to the NSAC this month, requesting the smaller glove size.
“I’m very happy with how the Nevada State Athletic Commission handled it,” McGregor said Wednesday after the decision. “They handled it fairly, and they listened to both requests.”
According to longtime commission member Skip Avansino, the rule for 10-ounce gloves went into effect in 2006, based on the recommendations of an advisory committee. At that time, the committee stated its recommendations were not based on scientific fact and encouraged the NSAC to fund a study on the matter.
That study is now planned for after Aug. 26. The rule will remain in place for now, with this one-time exception for the Mayweather-McGregor bout.
One point articulated by Marnell, which every other commission member echoed, is that referee selection is the most important factor in fighter health and safety, particularly in a “unique” matchup such as this. During Wednesday’s meeting, the NSAC appointed veteran official Robert Byrd to oversee the bout.
“The No. 1 line of defense is the referee,” Marnell said. “It always will be.”
Another concern regarding glove selection was the distribution of padding. The bout contracts mandate that foam gloves be used and not Mexican horsehair gloves, which are known more as “puncher’s gloves.”
In addition to regular inspections, Marnell and other commission members will inspect each fighter’s gloves before the bout. Alternative gloves not selected for the bout will be donated to the NSAC’s study.
A nonprofit organization dedicated to the health and safety of boxers and mixed martial artists indicated before the ruling that lighter gloves were a bad idea.
“This is a bout that has already been set [at] a specified weight class,” Dr. Raymond M. Monsell, chairman of the Association of Ringside Physicians, wrote to the commission on Tuesday. “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. To do so would also set a precedent for future bouts.”
Speaking to ESPN late last week, McGregor predicted he would need only two rounds to dispatch Mayweather if the commission approved 8-ounce gloves.
“If we are in 8-ounce gloves, he will be floored multiple times in the first round,” McGregor said. “I believe first-round KO in 8-ounce gloves. The fact I can’t follow through [like] 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 8-ounce gloves, he will be done in two.”
Shortly after the NSAC’s ruling, longtime Mayweather adviser Leonard Ellerbe told ESPN that Mayweather wanted McGregor’s confidence to be high going into the fight.
“Floyd wanted Conor to be as comfortable as possible, so there wouldn’t be any excuses,” Ellerbe said. “Conor has vowed he’ll knock out Floyd in four rounds. He recently corrected that and said if the commission approved 8-ounce gloves, he doesn’t give Floyd two rounds.
“I have no reason to believe he’s not feeling very confident, and I want him to continue to have that confident attitude.”
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