THE Nevada State Athletic Commission handed Conor McGregor a major early victory over Floyd Mayweather on Wednesday, when it overturned its own rules regarding glove size.
According to Nevada’s boxing rules, all fighters over 147 pounds must wear 10-ounce gloves. Mayweather and McGregor’s Showtime pay-per-view superfight on August 27 will be contested at the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds.
However, both fighters submitted official requests to the commission stating their desire to compete in smaller, eight-ounce gloves.
In a shocking decision, the NSAC agreed to the fighters’ request and granted an exception to its own rule.
Commission chairman Anthony Marnell said he was comfortable with the fighters using smaller gloves, but unhappy that they used the issue to sell the fight on social media.
“I do not like the Nevada State Athletic Commission being used as a pawn in a social media battle,” Marnell said.
Glove size has been a constant issue in the long war of words between Mayweather and McGregor.
From the beginning, McGregor has been pushing for the smallest gloves possible because smaller gloves have less padding and thus accentuate his significant punching power. McGregor has made a name for himself in the UFC with showstopping knockouts delivered with the sport’s traditional four-ounce gloves.
Mayweather, goaded by McGregor’s taunts, publicly stated that he’d be fine with the smaller gloves, safe in the knowledge that Nevada’s own rules would assuredly protect him.
McGregor, who is also known for making wild predictions about his fights that often end up being true, said Friday that the eight-ounce gloves would be the end of Mayweather.
“If we’re eight ounces, I’m struggling to give him two rounds,” McGregor said at his media workout. “That’s the God’s honest truth. The only reason I maybe give 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.”
Boxing: Conor McGregor has knocked out former IBF champion Paulie Malignaggi in a sparring session.
The NSAC decision came despite strong advice to the contrary from the Association of Ringside Physicians.
“Unless there is scientific evidence to support the view that such a change might improve the safety of this bout, we would strongly caution against allowing current regulation to be overruled,” wrote the Association’s Chairman, Dr Raymond M. Monsell, in a letter to the NSAC.
“To do so would also set a precedent for future bouts.”
Mayweather’s promoter, Leonard Ellerbe, said his fighter is more comfortable in smaller gloves and would use them to stop McGregor.
“The fight is going to end in a knockout, I’m very confident,” Ellerbe said. “And it will probably be early.”
Commissioners also approved veteran referee Robert Byrd as the third man in the ring for the fight.
“The referee makes a big difference in this fight, which is the specific reason I chose Robert Byrd,” said Bob Bennett, the commission’s executive director. Commissioners also approved Burt Clements and Dave Moretti of the United States and Italy’s Guido Cavalleri as judges for the bout. McGregor’s camp had asked for an international judge among the three.
Byrd will be paid $25,000 for the bout, while the judges will make $20,000. The glove issue took up much of the commission meeting, though in the end all voted in favour of the smaller gloves. There was also discussion about the padding in the gloves, with both sides agreeing to be bound by Nevada boxing inspectors approving the foam padding.
Mayweather has fought 46 of his 49 fights with 8-ounce gloves, including his last six. McGregor has never boxed before, but quickly agreed to Mayweather’s challenge on social media to fight in smaller gloves.
— with AP