By Charles Jay
The Nevada State Athletic Commission is going to allow Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor to box with eight-ounce gloves when they meet next Saturday night in Las Vegas. Of course, the regulations state that ten-ounce gloves are mandatory for everything from junior middleweights on up, so it follows that this has stirred up some discussion on a couple of different fronts.
Purportedly, this was by request or agreement on the part of both of the fighters. Well, as they say in the Hertz commercial, not exactly. McGregor’s camp was more anxious to have the smaller gloves, in the belief that they would have a better chance of imposing some power on the naturally smaller Mayweather. After all, he is used to four-ounce gloves in UFC competition. And Floyd appeared to go along begrudgingly. He is, of course, playing them, whether they know it or not. Mayweather is the guy who actually will feel more comfortable – if you count that kind of thing as a factor – because 46 of his 49 professional fights have taken place with eight-ounce gloves.
And like lambs being led to slaughter, many sports bettors flocked to the McGregor side upon the announcement, to the point where it actually brought the odds down. An informal survey shows us that there are a number of international sportsbooks, operating online, where you can lay just -400 (4/1) on the undefeated Mayweather, with a few at -450. You can find -450 at a couple of U.S.-facing books as well, although many of them have more realistic numbers, going up to -600 or more on “Money.”
Mayweather’s “official” position on the smaller gloves is that if McGregor thinks they will give him more of a shot, why the hell not. And maybe they’ll have something of a placebo effect; McGregor is posturing that this will enable him to knock out Mayweather in two rounds. Glancing at a story in the New York Post, they refer to McGregor’s “perceived punching advantage.” So it seems like everyone is going along with the gag.
And it’s effective; if there is a considerable impact on betting, you know it’s going to wind up selling more pay-per-view subscriptions. Floyd’s game for that.
On a more serious note (but only slightly), yes, we agree that the Nevada commission is bending their rules here (and by unanimous vote, we might add). But how big an issue is it, really? They are already sanctioning a bout between a mixed martial arts without any professional boxing experience and someone who has won 49 fights in a row without defeat and done so as something of a technical master. Their standards shouldn’t allow for something like that in the first place. They might as well go all the way with it.
Dr. Raymond M. Monsell, chairman of the Association of Ringside Physicians – bless his heart – is another character moving this script along, unwittingly or not. He recently published a letter including this passage: “Unless there is scientific evidence to support the view that such a change might improve the safety of this bout, we strongly caution against allowing current regulations to be over-ruled.”
Now, we admit that this isn’t as strong a marketing vehicle as when some do-gooder group recommends that you DON’T go see some movie, thus spiking ticket sales, but he has to realize that HE’S HELPING THEM, doesn’t he?
So how much of this whole thing is illusion, and how much is real? Well, first of all, there are some commissions that are flexible on this eight-round thing for 154-pounders, so it’s not like it’s a life-and-death issue. Secondly, it is a fair assumption that for people who understand the difference between what it is to be a “striker” in MMA and a professional boxer, the general consensus is that Mayweather, if he so chooses, is going to make himself nearly impossible for McGregor to hit cleanly, if it all. So if we can use plain English for a moment, if McGregor can’t hit Mayweather in the ass with ten-ounce gloves, is it going to make any difference if they use eight-ounces, or even six?
Logic would dictate that if the size of the gloves helps anybody, it’s the guy who is going to be CONNECTING. And seriously – who do you think that is going to be?