What Is a Floppy Glove?
By: Shane Willoughby
For years there have been debates over gloves, hand wraps and just general ways of protecting/covering fighters knuckles. It probably reached its climax when Macros Maidana fought Floyd Mayweather.
This argument has seemed to resurface due to the constant misconceptions that have been perceived from the Fury vs Wilder fights.
Majority of gloves nowadays are padded with 100% foam, which is distributed evenly around the fist.
Most fighters use either Rival Guerreros or many variations of Grants as well as other foam-based gloves. This is mainly down to the extra padding you get at the knuckle and more importantly the wrist.
If we take a pair of Grants for example which were mainly used by Floyd Mayweather, due to how comfortable and how much protection it provides.
It is no secret that Mayweather has brittle hands so the main purpose of his gloves was always to protect them.
Now, when you look at majority of gloves, they have quite a bit of padding around the wrist and the foam around the knuckles have a sponge type memory. Which means when it is pressed against it returns to its normal shape.
Now the so-called “floppy glove”. Firstly the term floppy glove is because of the flexibility the glove provides.
Probably the most common floppy glove is the Everlast MX. Now when you buy a brand new pair, what is extremely evident immediately is, it has a lot of creases on the surface.
This is because the glove is made of horsehair. Every glove that is made of horsehair comes creased because unlike other gloves the padding is man-made.
Where you will find foam in other gloves, horsehair gloves are made of exactly that, horsehair and the gloves are padded manually.
These gloves were the gloves that Mayweather refused to let Maidana fight against him in despite the fact that they where approved by the commission.
There is a big misconception that horsehair gloves are puncher’s gloves. Meaning that the glove doesn’t reduce the impact of a punch.
That is 100% incorrect every glove has the same purpose, protect the hand and reduce the impact so your not fighting with your bare knuckles.
All professional gloves weigh ten ounces. But many people still have issues with this glove. Not only due to it not having much foam.
A stand of horsehair weighs more that a strand of foam. So, therefore, gloves made from horsehair doesn’t require the same depth of padding as foam gloves.
Whilst they weigh the exact same thing, you don’t need as much horsehair for the glove to weigh 10 ounces.
Not only that, the gloves are manually padded so potentially the padding could be unevenly distrubuted. More padding on the knuckles, less padding on the knuckles, for example.
But probably it’s most infamous feature is it’s flexibility. Normal fight gloves are like a bed. You can lay in your bed for 8 hours, once you get up the bed springs back to it’s original shape.
Horsehair gloves are much more flexible in its makeup. Foam is naturally a springy compound whereas hair is naturally straight and easier to reshape and cut. Which means the padding is much easier to move.
Also, the glove once pressed on, doesn’t exactly spring back to formation, in fact, the padding slightly spreads across the glove. As if you were to push your finger in a bag full of butter or dough. Obviously not the same extent.
Which means there is a chance that after a certain amount of rounds, the knuckles may have less protection. And some parts of the glove have more padding than overs, so when throwing a much the parts that have more padding flap.
Also, there is less padding in horsehair gloves at the wrist than you will see in other gloves which means it is much easier for your wrist to rotate and flick up.
Because of these reasons many people have said that this gives fighters who use it an unfair advantage.
For one there is less padding, for two there more flexibility in the padding and for three the gloves could be unevenly distributed by the manufacturer.
Why is it legal? Or why doesn’t everyone use it? One explanation will answer both of those questions. Those gloves offer less protection for the person throwing the punch. The glove does more harm than help when using it.
The gloves don’t protect your wrist as much and because of its flexibility it doesn’t keep your hand in shape; so, therefore, it is easy to punch with the wrong part of your fist and damage your hand.
In addition to this, the gloves do their purpose. Which is to protect both fighters. It is just that the padding is easier to wear down.
Now to relate it to Fury and Wilder, Tyson Fury wore a pair of Everlast MX gloves in the first fight and in the second fight wore a pair of Paffen sport gloves. Which ironically is the gloves Klitschko wore against him.
Both of those gloves were checked by the Commission and Jay deas (Wilders head trainer) in the 2nd fight was present when the gloves were being put on Fury’s hands.
Now in terms of the unusual movement of the gloves hopefully the explanation above puts an end to the conspiracies.
Whilst it is unusual, it has been seen before. In the Horn vs Crawford fight; Crawford is wearing horsehair gloves and majority of his punches are landing like slaps like his hands are straight. There are hundreds of cases just like this.
If you have an argument against the commissions for allowing these gloves that is fair and understandable, but Tyson Fury issue shouldn’t be an isolated one. As many fighters have won the exact same way.
At the end of the day, the gloves are 100% legal and if there was any foul play against Wilder, he has used every excuse to explain why he lost and Tyson Fury’s gloves haven’t been one of them.