The most anticipated boxing match in decades in less than 12 hours away, pitting undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. against Ultimate Fighting Championship superstar Conor McGregor. The fight has been greatly hyped, and for good reason. McGregor’s background with UFC and mixed-martial arts makes him a unique candidate to step in the boxing ring against a fighter as accomplished as Mayweather.
The contrasting backgrounds and fighting styles are a large part of what makes the Mayweather-McGregor fight so intriguing. That contrast is also relevant when it comes to the important ruling the Nevada Athletic Commission made this past Wednesday. The Commission ruled, via a 5-0 vote, to reduce the weight of the gloves used in the bout between Mayweather and McGregor from 10 ounces to 8 ounces.
Both Mayweather and McGregor are listed at 154 lbs. Typically, fighters at that weight will wear 10-ounce gloves. It’s only in lower weight classes that 8-ounce gloves are used. Yet, the Nevada Athletic Commission decided to make an exception for the Mayweather-McGregor fight and have both participants wear 8-ounce gloves.
The decision by the Commission is a compromise of sorts. Mayweather is well accustomed to fighting with 10-ounce gloves, although he has won five world championships in five different weight classes, giving him some experience with lighter gloves. Meanwhile, as a UFC lightweight fighter, McGregor is used to fighting with 4-ounce gloves, making a potential fight with 10-ounce a significant step up in terms of glove weight.
Perhaps more important than being a compromise between two fighters who come from different fighting cultures, the decision to reduce the gloves from 10 ounces to 8 ounces is also likely to level the playing field. Ever since the Mayweather-McGregor fight became official, most have viewed Mayweather as the heavy favorite to win. In fact, many have given McGregor little chance of toppling Mayweather inside a boxing ring.
Now that the weight of the gloves has been reduced, it could give McGregor a legitimate chance against Mayweather. Lighter gloves figure to play into the hands of a punch-heavy fighter like McGregor who wants to be aggressive and attack from the start. A fighter as experienced as Mayweather should be able to make the necessary adjustments to a lighter set of gloves. That being said, 8-ounce gloves won’t work to his advantage as much as the customary 10-ounce gloves would have.
Since the Commission announced the change last Wednesday, UFC President Dana White has spoken about the edge that such a change could give to McGregor.
“Now we are fighting in 8 oz. gloves and it is going to be a fight,” White said. “Anything can happen in a fight. I think it affects the contest. Conor hits like a truck. Smaller gloves favor him big time. It affects the fight big time.”
Even with the weight of the gloves being reduced from 10-ounces to 8-ounces, Mayweather remains a favorite to beat McGregor. Nevertheless, a good bit of support is starting to swing toward McGregor, and that has only continued since the Commission’s decision to reduce the weight of the gloves. Of course, whether it will be enough for McGregor to pull off the upset over Mayweather remains to be seen.