By Keith Idec
Dana White was pleasantly surprised when he learned Floyd Mayweather Jr. had changed his mind about boxing Conor McGregor in eight-ounce gloves.
UFC’s president believes gloves with less padding will give McGregor an advantage when the powerful southpaw faces the heavily favored Mayweather on August 26 in Las Vegas. White never even considered the switch from the standard 10-ounce gloves for their 154-pound boxing match because Mayweather wouldn’t even consider using eight-ounce gloves when they were negotiating a deal during the spring.
The 40-year-old boxing legend announced his change of heart after McGregor claimed Mayweather was scared to use eight-ounce gloves against him. Ireland’s McGregor, a two-division UFC champion, is accustomed to using four-ounce, finger-less gloves while competing in mixed martial arts matches.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission granted what it deemed a one-time exception Wednesday for Mayweather and McGregor to use eight-ounce gloves. Association of Boxing Commissions rules require boxers to wear 10-ounce gloves in any bout contested above the welterweight limit of 147 pounds.
“When we were in the original negotiations, it wasn’t even something they would talk about, eight-ounce gloves,” White said during a conference call Wednesday. “So I don’t know what’s changed in the last however long ago we did the deal. But I’m glad it did. I think it makes it so much more fun.”
Lighter gloves generally favor heavier punchers. Despite the significant difference in their skill levels, White expects that to be the case when Mayweather and McGregor meet a week from Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena (Showtime Pay-Per-View; $99.95 in HD).
“I think it affects the contest a lot,” White said. “First of all, yes, Floyd will be faster with eight-ounce gloves. But Floyd is a defensive master and he has less glove for less defense. Conor hits like a truck. Smaller gloves favor him big-time, so it affects the fight big-time.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.