Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor won’t fight for another 10 days, but McGregor walked away with an early victory Wednesday.
During today’s Nevada Athletic Commission hearing, the committee sanctioning the blockbuster boxing match between the megastars inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the panel unanimously approved the use of eight ounce gloves for their junior middleweight fight (154 pounds).
In Nevada, only fighters weighing up to 135 pounds are permitted to use eight ounce gloves in a bout. Athletes weighing over 135 pounds must wear 10 ounce gloves in competition. However, there is a stipulation where fighters weighing over 135 pounds but less than 147 pounds may wear eight ounce gloves in a scrap if both athletes agree to do so in writing.
Since Mayweather and McGregor agreed to the lighter gloves, the NAC didn’t have a problem making the exception.
Mayweather, who is currently a 4.5-1 odds-on favorite to spoil McGregor’s boxing debut, was more than happy to cater to the UFC lightweight champion’s requests for the lighter gloves.
“I’m telling McGregor, ‘Let’s fight in 8 oz gloves.’ McGregor can fight in any brand he prefers or chooses,” Mayweather wrote in last month’s Instagram post. “I’ll be wearing 8 oz Grant gloves. Whatever advantage McGregor needs to feel more comfortable in the ring, I’m willing to accommodate. Let’s give the boxing and MMA fans what they want to see.”
Mayweather may not care that the gloves will be lighter, but perhaps he should because they give McGregor all the advantages.
First and foremost, McGregor’s only chance to beat arguably the greatest boxer of all time is a puncher’s chance. If McGregor is able to cleanly land one of his trademark lefts, many believe Mayweather would be rendered unconscious on the canvas. A lighter glove means less padding between McGregor’s fists and Mayweather’s face.
McGregor, who previously predicted he’d finish Mayweather within four rounds, is accustomed to putting opponents to sleep with the UFC’s tiny four ounce gloves. Grant the Irishman access to eight ounce boxing gloves instead of 10 and he believes his workload will be even lighter on August 26.
“Trust me, if it’s eight ounces, I’m struggling to give him two rounds. And that’s the God’s honest truth,” McGregor boasted during last week’s media workouts. “The only reason I’m giving him two rounds is because, in this game the referee stops me from pounding his head into the canvas. And he has 10 seconds to recover. That’s the only reason he might get to the second round.”
On the flipside, the last person Mayweather knocked out was Victor Ortiz in 2011. McGregor didn’t worry about Mayweather’s punching power before, so swapping to lighter gloves certainly won’t change his mindset.
Secondly, piggybacking on the loss of padding point, Mayweather’s fragile hands won’t be as protected as he’s accustomed. It’s no secret “Money’s” delicate hands have plagued him throughout his illustrious boxing career, despite stockpiling an immaculate 49-0 record. Mayweather is now exposed to greater risk of hand injury during the bout with smaller gloves.
Lastly, Mayweather is the best defensive fighter boxing has ever witnessed. Smaller gloves means there’s less material at his disposal to protect his head from McGregor’s haymakers. Even if McGregor doesn’t land clean bombs, over the course of their 12-round affair even partial connection will take its toll on the 40-year-old.
So why would Mayweather agree to something where his opponent has every advantage? Simply put – because he truly doesn’t care. Mayweather is convinced there’s no way McGregor will come close to touching his face, regardless of glove size.
Mayweather not caring also gives him a slight mental edge, essentially telling McGregor that he can bring his guns to their knife fight and still lose.
But don’t tell Dana White that. The UFC president was ecstatic that his cash cow will get to wear eight ounce gloves.
— Dana White (@danawhite) August 16, 2017
Nonetheless, perhaps more important to Mayweather during today’s NAC hearing was that Robert Byrd will referee their bout and Guido Cavalleri, Burt Clements and Dave Moretti will judge their contest.