1. #1
    It's all about the clinch. The clinch, I said. supporting member
    JP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    SAMBO, mma, jiujitsu

    From the Finger Tips of a New York Pugilist

    From the desk of the Brooklyn Eagle, an analysis of famous fighting men by New York pugilist, Billy Edwards.

    The article speaks at length about the age at which a fighter can expect to see serious deterioration of his skills, and juxtaposes that against an upcoming fight between John L. Sullivan and Peter Jackson, a black fighter from Australia that Mr. Edwards refers to as a "giant."

    Mr. Edwards, in his expert opinion, believes that a pugilist of the time hit his prime at age 25. Now, none of that is germane to this post, you can read the balance of the article here in the archives of the Brooklyn Eagle now available from the Brooklyn Public Library.


    It should be the first of a long list of articles. For what it's worth, those pages from the above link all deal with bare-knuckle prize-fighting in some fashion, between the years of 1840 and 1906.

    The reason for this post is to bring to light an early example of the debate or gloves, their size and bare knuckles. This article was evidently written at the time when there was an ever increasing adoption of the Queensberry rules, and consequently, the wearing of gloves. At the time the gloves weighed 4 ounces.

    To quote Mr. Edwards:

    "In ten years there have been few material changes in the methods of the prize ring. Gloves are now more frequently used and Queensberry rules prevail at the matches. Fighters for knocking out more than they did previously and they take greater chances than before. I regard knocking out as an undesirable feature in the sport. It might not be fair to say that there is not so much real science exhibited nowadays as was formerly the case, but it is undeniable that the use of skin tight gloves as a substitute for bare hands has led to a much rougher style of fighting. If pugilists had only their bare knuckles to fight with they would not go at each other so viciously, and the result would be a more scientific display. You can cut harder with a glove and inflict more damage than with the bare fist, saving your own hand meanwhile, for the glove is a protector also."

    So in the above, we see possibly a precursor to the current medical concerns about the use of big gloves in boxing having a greater contribution to TBI and injury in general. Allowing fighters a greater facility with which to hurt each other.

    In addition, the above would see to suggest, directly from the horses mouth, the futility of the debate over gloves somehow easing the experience of sparring and fighting realistically. Or, if it does not void that debate, it shows that using those "protective measures" does not in any way lessen the pain or danger for the participants and in fact heightens it.

    Mr. Edwards continues:

    "And so, in proportion, with a four ounce glove more chances are taken than with a skin tight glove. Each man knows that he is capable of inflicting more damage on his opponent with less risk to himself than if he had no gloves, and that the result is that it becomes dangerous fighting when the avowed purpose is to knock your man out. It would be an improvement on prevalent methods to use less force and more generalship and not to lose sight of the scientific aspect of the sport int he desire to overcome an opponent. As the illustration of the danger a pugilists incurs when he indulges in this desire I ma mention the case of McCaffrey when he fought Farrell in Philadelphia recently. McCaffrey when in to win with a rush and he fought so fiercely that he lost his self-control and the match. A cool head is everything in a fight."

    I swear to go if this thread devolves into another sport vs street debacle I'm going to send the person responsible a box of dog ****. This is just an interesting early perspective on the glove debate.

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible, without surrender,
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even to the dull and ignorant;
    they too have their story.

    -excerpt of the poem called "Desiderata," by Max Ehrman, 1927.

  2. #2
    DdlR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Cool, thanks.

    Arguments re. gloves and damage typically center around the introduction of the Marquis of Queensberry rules, which simultaneously mandated gloves and banned standing grappling and throwing. Under previous rule-sets (Broughton's, London Prize Ring, etc.) the actual rallies of blows had tended to be short; pugilists were inclined to spend most of their time out of distance, lunge in with bombs, sometimes exchange blows at close quarters and then either break out of range again or close in to clinch and throw.

    Under Queensberry rules fighters were able to spend more time exchanging punches at medium/close quarters (in fact, they had little choice) and their hands were protected from the worst damage, hence the subsequent rise in knock-outs. This is partly why at least one modern doctor has, semi-seriously, suggested a return to bare-knuckle pugilism in order to make boxing safer; the suggestion was also that a lucky boxer's hands might give out before he suffered permanent brain damage.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    windsor UK
    aikido, medieval fencing
    I think the real problem with the gloves vs bare knuckles is that there is so much martial art general politics (sport vs street, Cork screwing vs flat, and so on) that any reasonable and well documented argument is blown out of context and used a general truth.

    It is really obvious that boxing gloves protect the hands and the other fighter.

    If you punch a heavy bag with you bare hands, wrapped hand and gloved hand.
    There will not be any significant difference between the wrapped hand and gloved hand in terms of discomfort and the length of time you can go on. But there will be a significant one between bared handed and those two.
    If we want to be pedantic glove do not really protect the hand, it is more the wrapping/skin tight gloves but well.

    The bigger the surface the more spread is the force, the less likely superficial trauma is. So bare knuckles (or wrapped hands) are much more likely to cause bruising or cut than heavy boxing glove.

    It may be debatable if on a single punch with conditioned hand and a punch with a boxing glove will show significant power difference. However I do not think this is where it really maters.

    There are really no doubts that you can punch full blast much longer with gloves than with bare knuckles.
    If we look at modern boxing injuries to the eyes and brain, they seem to be repetitive trauma injuries. We see much less cuts to zigomatics, black eyes and matches stoppages due to bleeding.
    So in modern boxing fighter are in average subjected longer to heavy punches.
    If you punch bare knuckled and you will have to do so for 40-70 minutes, you need to be much more conservative with you punches.
    IE what Ddlr mentions.


    PS you probably have seens that but


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