Latest on Mayweather vs. McGregor: The Malignaggi video and the NSAC ruling

After weeks of back and forth arguing, Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor will indeed fight using 8-ounce gloves after all.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission ultimately ruled in a meeting 10 days before the fight that the two fighters are approved to compete using 8-ounce gloves and not the 10-ounce gloves that the commission usually forces boxers competing at 154 pounds and above.

Also in that meeting, the NSAC has appointed Robert Byrd as the official referee for the fight as well as add Dave Moretti, Burt Clements and Guido Cavalerri as the official judges for the fight.

The issue of the glove size started all the way back during the world press tour in mid-July when McGregor made a comment possibly alluding to Mayweather demanding McGregor wear a certain type of boxing glove for their fight.

Weeks after the press tour, Mayweather posted on social media saying that the two will fight using 8-ounce gloves, which the commission initially ruled out because 8-ounce gloves are only for fights at 147 pounds and below. Mayweather vs. McGregor will be contested at 154 pounds, which requires the fighters to wear 10-ounce gloves.

NSAC executive director Bob Bennett said on August 10 that the commission had a change of hearts of sorts and that the NSAC would rule on the glove size at the August 16 meeting.

During the meeting, all commission members deliberated for about 25 minutes, making their own personal comments as to whether or not the fight should have 8-ounce gloves or not. All five members unanimously voted in favor of the rule exception, but when they all had a turn to speak, they weren’t necessarily thrilled to make the exception. Some of the highlights of that discussion period included one member commenting that rules do change and evolve with time, as if the commission needed to convince itself they were doing the right thing.

McGregor has been training at around 160 pounds, which is about as good an indication as any that the UFC champion will make weight the night before the fight at the weigh-ins.

One thing that I thought was interesting was when the commission announced that the gloves being used in training and in the fight will be relinquished to the NSAC for further study. This is odd as a demand like this is uncommon and the commission failed to specify the reasoning for the ruling.

Even with the ruling and the period where the commission members spoke their minds on the matter, they never really explained any reasoning or justification for the change in glove size, even after a day passed since Dr. Raymond Monsell, chairman of the board of directors of the Association of Ringside Physicians, wrote a letter to the NSAC strongly advising against changing the glove size, ‘unless there is a scientific evidence to support the view that such a change might improve the safety of this bout.’ Monsell is worried that the ruling would set a precedent for future situations and it is a legitimate concern. Perhaps this unknown study the commission is conducting after the fight could lead to a potential amendment in the rule and allowing future junior middleweight bouts to fight using 8-ounce gloves and have the middleweight be the minimum weight class to have to use 10-ounce gloves. At this point, it’s still too early to tell what the commission has planned.

According to commission member Skip Avansino, the rule for 10-ounce gloves went into effect around 2006. The rule was implemented based on the recommendations of an advisory committee. At the time, the committee did admit the recommendations were not based on any scientific fact and encouraged the NSAC to fund a study on the matter. With the way head trauma has been so heavily studied, it's likely that the study from 2006 and the potential study the NSAC will conduct after Mayweather vs. McGregor may be linked in some manner regarding head trauma and concussion protocol.

For as much as the commission preached fighter safety at times during the meeting and the members speaking so awkwardly about the matter, the NSAC stood to lose a bit of their reputation from approving the decision. The commission openly said they were being planned and metaphorically taken for a ride by this matter, with even chairman Anthony Marnell admitting the NSAC was used as a "pawn" by both camps. Dana White said that glove size was never an issue during fight negotiations and so the matter kind of went unnoticed until Mayweather made that social media announcement.

The boxing card itself, as expected, is littered with Mayweather Promotions fighters and as far as pay-per-view boxing cards are concerned, this is actually a decent lineup. Mind you, this isn’t the best pay-per-view card, but, given the circumstances and the type of fighters that were expected to compete, this may have been the best possible card.

Although one thing I don’t see a lot of coverage is certainly the timing of the cards. As previously reported by myself and various other boxing reporters, Gervonta Davis was likely going to be fighting Roman “Rocky” Martinez in the co-main event with Davis’ IBF junior lightweight title on the line. That ended up not being the case as it is Francisco Fonseca fighting Davis for the title instead.

Looking at when the junior lightweight title fight was announced, there is a chance, and I would wager on this being the case, that Showtime and Mayweather Promotions had penciled their plans for what the August 26 card looked like, but most of the card had not been approved yet by the commission and governing bodies involved.

Take a look at the Nathan Cleverly vs. Badou Jack WBA “regular” light heavyweight fight that will also be on the pay-per-view card. As far back as late July Stephen Espinoza stated on record, and I was present when he said this, that the full card was already done. The reason why it wasn’t announced was in late July that Showtime didn’t want to take attention away from the July 29 fight between Adrien Broner and Mikey Garcia.

The issue with Espinoza’s claim is that, if he is to be believed, then Cleverly vs. Jack was already official, but the governing body had said weeks prior that Cleverly was to defend his title against mandatory challenger Dmitry Bivol. Days after the July 29 non-announcement, Cleverly’s promoter Eddie Hearn had said that he was still trying to negotiate a step-aside deal so that Cleverly would fight Jack on August 26.

If Hearn had been trying to negotiate a deal after July 29, then there was no way that the full card was already done and it’s official. In the time between the Brooklyn leg of the Mayweather vs. McGregor press tour, which is when the card was still not finalized, and July 29, there was some shuffling around for the card.

Like a wrestling promoter taking out a pencil and erasing someone’s name on a match card days before the show and making last minute changes, Espinoza and Mayweather Promotions called an audible on the co-main event. It’s hard for the switch of Martinez being in the co-main event to Fonseca to be a coincidence, given the timing, or that Fonseca was the plan all along.

On July 29, Davis held a press conference that was essentially a waste of time as the only thing people cared about was who he was facing. No opponent was announced at that presser, but the switch to Fonseca being the opponent happened on that night with Tevin Farmer’s hand injury that came as a result of a gunshot wound. Farmer and Fonseca were ordered to fight in an eliminator to become the mandatory challenger to Davis’ title prior to July 29.

With Farmer out of the running for the title eliminator in the immediate future, Davis’ representatives took to the IBF and try to get Fonseca as Davis’ next opponent. Fonseca became an unofficial defacto mandatory challenger on July 29.

The switch from Martinez to Farmer is a smart move on the part of Davis’ representatives. Governing bodies like it when their champions fight ranked opponents that the governing body would likely order the champion to fight. Fighting Fonseca gives Davis leeway in the future should Davis decide to forgo a mandatory challenge and go for a unification fight in the future.

It’s still way too early in Davis’ career to have a unification fight, but building experience by fighting the IBF’s ranked fighters helps prepare him for a potential mega fight somewhere down the line, maybe in late 2018 at the earliest.

Moving onto the Paulie Malignaggi video, two videos did surface last weekend that actually have disputed Malignaggi's claims that he was pushed down instead of knocked down by McGregor during their sparring session. Malignaggi is still on a social media crusade to Dana White about releasing the full video of the sparring session, but at this point, it's highly unlikely he'll release the full thing even after the fight on August 26 is done.

Whether or not it was a push or a knockdown, the craze surrounding this video actually has fans wanting to see a McGregor vs. Malignaggi sometime in the future, which is par for the course for McGregor. McGregor has masterfully crafted this scenario where he has set up another boxing fight down the road in case he wants to get back into the ring, a thought that McGregor has said wants to entertain.

When Malignaggi came in to help McGregor spar with Mayweather, McGregor has worked everybody into wanting to see McGregor box again after the Mayweather fight and although fighting Malignaggi is far less lucrative deal than Mayweather, there is almost just as much genuine interest as there is for the Mayweather fight.

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