On Wednesday the NSAC made a ruling that very few people in Combat Sports Society saw coming. They ruled in favor of 8 ounce gloves to be used in the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight only a little over a week away. Any change made by the NSAC is headlining news because it is rarely seen, but in regards to the fight, does it matter?
The answer here is a tricky one. Although 2 ounces does not seem like much, over a twelve round fight it could prove to do a few things. The first of these being it could add a bit more punching power. Scientifically speaking, even a two ounce change in glove weight is going to slightly increase acceleration, speed, and power on impact of the punches. The more difficult thing to determine here is if the small amount benefits either fighter. The consensus seems to be that Conor’s most logical method of victory would result from his power. On the other hand, many argue Floyd doesn’t have the power to knock him out. In this instance, nothing really changes other than the fact Floyd will now have a little more power. Everyone is already assuming a clean shot from McGregor has enough juice to cause a problem regardless of glove weight.
The next issue to address with smaller gloves is defense. Boxing gloves are much bigger than MMA gloves. This is part of why the sport is so much different in terms of punching technique. The gloves are often used to cover up while staying in the pocket. A switch from 10 ounces to 8 ounces will take away a little bit of this defense, but not enough to matter in the slightest bit. It’s highly unlikely Conor will be taking a defensive approach to this fight and Floyd is a defensive mastermind. Unless the NSAC can find a way to shrink Floyd’s lead shoulder, prevent him from moving his head, and shackle his feet, this ruling will make no difference defensively.
Lastly, there is an effect on cardio with any changes in glove weight. This is likely the most significant of them all, although still unlikely to play a role in the outcome of this fight. Regardless of whether punches land or not, many are thrown in a 12 round match. Any small weight change in the gloves will help a fighter last longer. By no means will a change as minor as this transform bad cardio into great cardio, but every little bit matters when it comes to elite athletes. Cardio issues do not necessarily mean a fighter is bent over gasping for air, but it may mean a punch moves a quarter of a second slower. In a matchup of the best Boxing and MMA have to offer, those inches are miles. Although this is likely the most significant impact we will see from the ruling, it will again hold virtually irrelevant in this fight. There could be many outcomes, but a razor thin 12 round decision victory for either seems extremely unlikely.
In the end, does this ruling matter in a ordinary boxing match? Yes, but this fight is far from ordinary. The fight will be determined by the men, not the equipment, and it won’t take long to figure out who the night will belong to.