November 6th, 2013 By Kevin Perry


Las Vegas, NV- Much can be learned from the recent events in boxing in the last month. A fortnight ago journeyman Frankie Leal (20-8-3, 13 KOs) died from injuries sustained in a featherweight (126 lb.) bout in Mexico. Saturday night, heavyweight prospect Magomed Abdusalamov (18-1, 18 KOs) waged a vicious battle and lost a decision (UD 10) to Mike Perez (20-0, 12 KOs) on HBO.


Magomed Abdusalamov

Magomed Abdusalamov

As a result Abdusalamov, a Russian born fighter now fighting in the US, lays in a medically induced coma due to swelling in his brain brought about by a brain bleed. His condition according to reports from his team has likely worsened as he also suffered a stroke while in critical condition. Many theories have arisen on whether or not his corner should have stopped the bout, and there is much blame being thrown around. It seems rather unfair considering while possibly concussed throughout, he always appeared to be in the fight and while absorbing punishment, got in his fair share of blows in every round. The significance of the bout has to be taken into context. The winner would become a significant player in the heavyweight landscape. While many can say they should have saved their fighter from further peril, it would have been impossible for them to know his internal condition.


A view taken by Pedro Fernandez, and one that I concur with is that the main reason for brain injury and or concussions in boxing is due to the size of the gloves. Fighters over 147 lbs. must use 10 ounce gloves. Any fight below 147, fighters use 8 ounce gloves.  To bring things in perspective, gloves were brought into boxing largely in part used to protect a fighters hands. However, the larger gloves also tend to inflict more damage to opponents. It seems illogical to have a 240 lb. man for example, wear the same sized glove as a figh ter of 154 lbs. In comparison, a 147 lb. fighter wears the same sized glove as someone engaging in a 108 lb. bout, a 39lb difference in weight. Discretion needs to be taken. I don’t think that it can be anymore clear and there’s evidence to support this theory.


It is rare that you see a fighter knocked out early in a fight and sustain a career or life threatening injury. In boxing, the larger gloves allow fighters to absorb more blows. In essence, the big pillows that fighters wear on their hands prolong bouts. In many of the bouts the inevitable is that a fighter will lose a lopsided decision and take more blows than necessary. Smaller gloves will lead to more knockouts, more decisive and conclusive outcomes and save some fighters from taking round after round of sustained punishment. As Fernandez has noted numerous times on Ring Talk radio that , in a five year Nevada study, MMA fighters only suffered concussions in 2% of their bouts, in boxing around 20%. It is common knowledge that MMA fighters wear a smaller 4 ounce glove, where their fingers are free to allow for grappling. I will add that in boxing that the target area for boxing is only above the waist, but one must believe that the smaller sized MMA gloves aids in fighters not gaining long term head injuries. MMA fighters take less blows, but they are still sustaining some punishment to the head nonetheless.


A logical conclusion is that you may see less controversy in fights. There will be more KO’s, and if a fighter is actually taking punishment it will be more pronounced and will occur earlier in fights. There is no reason for fighters to go twelve rounds and in some instances absorb over 200 hard punches from an opponent whose main mission is to inflict damage to the head and body. I ask the question here; what is more important to a fighters future? Their hands or their head?

-Kevin Perry

Mr.Perry plans on starting a weekly mailbag column: Questions for Mr.Perry can be sent to kevgperry@yahoo.com.




  1. Just thought about this the other day in the wake of what happened to Mago. Smaller gloves are absolutely essential in boxing. More precautions need to be taken to protect these guys.

    Zak on November 6th, 2013 at 2:41 PM
  2. Smaller gloves will help in some instances. What happens when you have a fighter that can take the punishment from smaller gloves? Also in MMA if a fighter gets hurt and falls to the ground the other fighter will jump on quickly and the ref stops the fight. In boxing you can get knocked down and get a count, get back up and fight again. I don’t think changing the glove size is gonna help too much. What needs to be done is the corner needs to realize when to stop the fight. That guy was saying things to his corner that should of triggered something. His face was a little swollen but the way he made it sound was like it looked like a balloon. His corner should of stopped it right after he started saying that. When he went back to the corner and stood there looking at the crowd instead of sitting, that would of been it.

    PJ on November 7th, 2013 at 9:59 AM
  3. PJ, I don’t think you realize the impact of the large glove sizes. Think of getting hit by a bat, and getting put away immediately, or getting hit by a stick, over and over and over and over. Yeah the stick might not hurt as much initially, but the fact that the larger gloves add to someone being able to sustain blows over a longer period is the problem. Also in the gym, fighters wear much larger gloves, 16oz I believe and this punishment they endure as well. Also the headgear that is used the gym. Many people think that the headgear is mainly to help absorb blows, but often they are there to stop fighters from getting cut in training. The extra weight of gloves plus headgear many times is a detriment. Smaller gloves is a step in right direction and the evidence supports that.

    Kevin Perry on November 7th, 2013 at 10:49 AM
  4. I understand. But what I am saying is what about those fighters that can withstand the punishment? Then the same issue will be a problem. The heavyweight guy the just got hurt was never really hurt during the fight. So are you saying smaller gloves would of helped in this fight? I’m not so sure. What about a fighter like Ray Mercer who has granite in his chin or a Vitali Klitchko? They can keep taking the punishment. With smaller gloves it would be like them getting hit with a bat over and over again instead of a stick. Boxing is a dangerous sport, we all know you don’t play boxing. And I hate saying this but every person that fights knows the dangers of this brutal sport. I hate seeing guys injured and I don’t wish that apom nobody but smaller gloves is not the answer. There really isn’t an answer in this situation. Other than the corner needs to recognize some things. Not saying all fights there is a clear cut sign but in this last fight there was

    PJ on November 8th, 2013 at 6:32 AM
  5. You guys don’t get it. Boxing cannot be reformed. Everything has been attempted in the past, but money supercedes health and safety. The countries that have abolished the sport are the most humanistic ones.This sport should not continue in a civilized world

    Mike on November 8th, 2013 at 6:35 AM
  6. good column Kevin. The big fat gloves are a good idea that had unintended consequences. It’s time to take a hard look at glove size.

    Santa Cruz Jim on November 8th, 2013 at 7:50 AM
  7. Great article KP

    MadManny on November 8th, 2013 at 10:12 AM
  8. I don’t know if smaller gloves are the solution KP. How would they apply it? Does everybody wear the same sized gloves, meaning 108 lb. fighters and 240 lb. fighters wear the same gloves? That sounds wrong too. Would the gloves be 4 ounces? Would it be a universal glove? Reyes gloves uses different filling than say Winning gloves, so would the glove filling be univeral? There are so many different related issues when you start changing up the glove sizes for safety reasons. These ring tragedies have unfortunately been happening since boxing has been around, but with more easy access to social media they are being reported more often than ever. I don’t know if the rate has gone up since say, the 1980s.

    T. Hung on November 9th, 2013 at 11:10 AM
  9. Not a perfect solution but it is better. I had to write a paper some years back and there are afew good studies out there that take all sides into cosideration. I beleave the 2 studies where from 2 colleges in England and Germany, cant remember what universities. Getting knocked out isn`t good for your health but taking a prolonged beating is a hell of alot worst.

    Mac on November 9th, 2013 at 11:33 PM

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