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Click Debate: Does glove size matter in Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor?

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather will try to get the commission to agree to let them wear 8-ounce boxing gloves.
Esther Lin, Showtime

LAS VEGAS — Owen Roddy isn’t sure what Floyd Mayweather’s angle is when it comes to glove size.

Last week, Mayweather posted on Instagram about wanting to reduce the 10-ounce gloves agreed to for his boxing match with Conor McGregor to 8-ounce ones. His team followed through and now both sides will go before the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) on Wednesday in an attempt to get a waiver to make the gloves lighter.

Roddy, McGregor’s striking coach, thinks Mayweather might have made a misstep in trying to promote the Aug. 26 bout at T-Mobile Arena.

“I don’t know whether he put that out there and now it’s backfired,” Roddy told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani on Friday after McGregor’s media workout. “I honestly think he’s said some stuff over the period of the camp, that I think he just put out there not thinking it would stick and it has stuck. He’s made a few mistakes.”

Like Roddy, most people thought Mayweather’s social media post was posturing, or a way to get some more attention on the blockbuster fight in between the MayMac World Tour and the workouts, which were held Thursday and Friday. McGregor fired back a day later on Instagram and made more buzz. But now it could be a real thing.

NAC executive director Bob Bennett confirmed with MMA Fighting that both sides will argue in front of the commission Wednesday to reduce the glove size. Nevada rules prevent it — the fight will be contested at 154 points, which stipulates 10-ounce gloves — but a waiver can be obtained if NAC chairman Anthony Marnell and the commissioners vote for it “with the health and safety of the fighters being the number-one priority,” Bennett said.

Mayweather stated before his workout Thursday that he’s trying to give McGregor another “advantage” by reducing the glove size. McGregor said during the World Tour that Mayweather had demands for glove attributes and he agreed to whatever Mayweather wanted, because he didn’t care either way.

On McGregor’s side, they think that the smaller gloves will favor the UFC lightweight champion, because of his prodigious power. McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh said his pupil will finish the fight in the first round with 8-ounce gloves, while McGregor himself predicted the second round.

To no one’s surprise, The Money Team thinks the lighter gloves will be better for Mayweather because of his increased hand speed.

“His hand speed is crazy,” Mayweather sparring partner Daquan May told MMA Fighting. “Man. He spars with 14-ounce gloves, sometimes 16s, sometimes 18s. ... The 8-ounce gloves are gonna hurt. There’s gonna be a lot of pain in those 8-ounce gloves. That’s gonna be a big advantage.”

Added sparring partner Maurice Lee on Mayweather: “You don’t see his shots. And those are the ones that hurt you. I’m predicting a knockout. Eighth, ninth-round knockout. I feel like McGregor is gonna fade. He’s a great fighter, but I feel like coming into the boxing world, it’s totally different. The punches from a boxer are totally different.”

The commission might not like Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe’s take on the lighter gloves, especially from a health and safety standpoint. Ellerbe believes the 8-ouncers will be more conducive to a knockout.

“Both guys have agreed that they want to fight in 8-ounce gloves,” Ellerbe said. “Both guys are looking to knock each other out. The smaller the gloves, the better. Conor is used to fighting in 4-ounce gloves, Floyd is used to fighting in 8-ounce gloves.

“I think it’s a good thing. I think with the mindset that both guys have, they’re looking to knock each other out. … This isn’t a game or anything. If the commission approves it, both guys will be wearing the same ounce gloves. I think the probability increases if both guys are wearing 8-ounce gloves that somebody is getting knocked out.”

It’s unclear how the commission will rule. Across the board in boxing, 154-pound fights use 10-ounce gloves and a waiver would be unusual. The NAC has already received some heat from pundits for even sanctioning this fight. Mayweather is 49-0 and one of the greatest boxers of all time. McGregor, while an elite MMA fighter, has no professional boxing experience.

Of course, Mayweather vs. McGregor has a chance to generate the most revenue of any combat sports event in history. The mainstream buzz has been robust. The two men are the biggest moneymakers ever in their respective sports.

To Jacob “Stitch” Duran, the legendary MMA and boxing cutman, the size of the gloves doesn’t really matter all that much.

“Guys get knocked out with 10s as well as they do with 8s,” Duran told MMA Fighting. “Guys get knocked out with 4s. I don’t think it’s gonna be an issue. If you hit somebody in the right spot, that’s it. It doesn’t matter.

“Two ounces isn’t much, man. It’s not like the 2 ounces is concentrated in one area. It’s spread out over the whole glove.”

Even if it does go through and they wear 8s, Duran maintains the whole discussion is likely just a part of the build up, another thing generating headlines and getting people talking.

“Definitely the hype,” Duran said. “Right now, it’s psychological warfare.”

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