McGregor vs Mayweather: Safety fears over eight-ounce gloves
Fighters will wear smaller, lighter gloves, despite opposition from doctors
The upcoming fight between mixed martial artist Conor McGregor and undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather has produced yet another controversy – this time over the gloves they will wear in Las Vegas next week.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has confirmed a one-off rule change to allow the men to wear eight-ounce gloves, rather than the standard ten-ounce, for fights at 154lb, despite opposition from medical experts in the ARP (Association of Ringside Physicians).
"The move to allow lighter gloves came as a surprise as the 154lbs bout is considerably over the 147lbs limit at which eight-ounce gloves can be used. The lighter gloves have less padding over the knuckles and are believed to favour the heavier puncher," says the BBC.
That is likely to be Irishman McGregor, who's used to wearing fingerless four-ounce gloves in UFC bouts. He has welcomed the decision.
Last week he told ESPN: "If we are in eight-ounce gloves, [Mayweather] will be floored multiple times in the first round." McGregor predicted the bout would end in a first-round knockout.
"The fact I can't follow through [as I can] in MMA and pound the head into the canvas and there's a ten-count in boxing, maybe I'll give him second round. But eight-ounce gloves, he will be done in two."
Perhaps surprisingly, Mayweather also gave his support to the application. He has spent most of his career boxing at 147lb or below and has worn light gloves in 46 of his 49 fights.
But the move goes against the wishes of the ARP, which aims to protect the welfare of boxers.
"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 regulation to be overruled. To do so would also set a precedent for future bouts," said the organisation.
Despite their plea, the Nevada authorities have approved the smaller gloves, "but not before chastising the two camps for using the issue as a pawn in social media to try and sell tickets for the event", says The Guardian.
Both sides have been active on Instagram and Twitter in recent days as the build-up to the fight intensifies and rumours of sluggish ticket sales persist.
At the meeting this week, the Nevada State Athletic Commission also confirmed Robert Byrd as the referee for the clash. It glossed over concerns about glove weight by insisting that the official in the ring was the most important factor in ensuring the health and safety of the fighters.