Reviews

Review: Everlast Powerlock 16oz Synthetic Velcro Gloves

Review: Everlast Powerlock 16oz Synthetic Velcro Gloves

27 February 2020

Boxing is a meaningful activity for the boxer. The ideal of boxing – what we call “the sweet science” – is a unity of science and art in which the efficient and effective fistic striking of another person gives expression to the strange beauty of human combat. This makes it one among many modes of creative struggle, a project or endeavour which demands our choice and commitment, challenges us to make something new and better out of ourselves, and opens up one possible pathway to meaning in life. Boxing is existentially potent.

Of course, for a miniscule percentage of boxers, boxing is also more or less financially potent. It puts food on the table and Lamborghinis in the garage. The financial aspect of boxing almost always eclipses the more widespread existential one in mainstream discussions of the sport. Indeed, it often seems as if money is all there is to it. But not even Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jnr, whose post-boxing celebrity life appears to be utterly devoid of meaning, is truly empty. There is still a residue of substance in the money man, left there from his days as a boxer.

Many who partake in boxing never make the existential leap into it (and possibly won’t make such a leap into anything else). They stand forever transfixed on the edge of the abyss, uncertain and fearful. To box or boxfit, that is the question for these inveterate Hamlets of pugilism. It’s boxing’s either/or. As I’ve suggested elsewhere on this blog, when you put on the gloves, you must choose between doing serious boxing (i.e. training for fighting, or at least training as if you fight) and doing some boxing-like things for your general health and fitness (i.e. boxfit).

A prince of Denmark contemplating whether to box or boxfit

In that same post, I also observed that the glove requirements of serious boxers are generally not the same as those of boxfitters. Serious boxers require good quality gloves; boxfitters don’t. This is because serious boxers tend to punch more and punch harder than boxfitters do. Accordingly, they require highly protective and highly durable gloves, whereas most boxfitters can happily get away with using landfillers. But what about the Hamlets of pugilism? What about the people paralysed by uncertainty and fear on the edge of the abyss?

We all know that Everlast’s noble mission on this earth is to help each and every one of us manifest the Greatness that is Within. And no segment of the glove market needs more help manifesting it than the Hamlets of pugilism. So, in the early 2010s, the whitecoats at Everlast’s secret Bronx laboratory set about developing something just for them: the synthetic Powerlock training gloves. Not much, if anything, is known about the “Powerlock technology” inside them. But these gloves are both the perfect representation of, and the perfect palliative for, existential angst in boxing.

Description

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Everlast has implemented the Powerlock technology in several models of glove for training as well as professional fighting. The model I’ve been putting to work over recent months is the synthetic Powerlock 16oz training glove with a velcro strap. This is the basic or standard model of Powerlock glove, and by far the cheapest as well, which is probably why you can find it on the shelves of every single big chain sports store in the suburbs of the western world.

One of my Powerlocks on one of my hands

Everlast intends the standard Powerlocks to be all-purpose training gloves. More specifically, it claims to have “engineered” the gloves for bagwork, mittwork, and sparring at the skill level of “intermediate training.” In Everlast’s tripartite system of boxing training, this means that they sit above the abominable Pro Styles, which are only intended for “basic training”, and below the leather Powerlock Pros and the MXs, which are intended for “advanced training”.

The marketing descriptions of the standard Powerlocks and the Powerlock Pros are pretty much identical. Although the precise wording sometimes varies in trivial ways, the essence is that both models

…were designed with a modern, anatomical foam construction that guides your hand into a natural fist position. The compact design provides superior fist closure for the perfect balance of comfort, speed, and protection while delivering a powerful punch.

The “foam construction” comprises “high quality 5 layer foam padding protection.” In the case of the standard Powerlocks, Everlast adds that “the premium synthetic leather construction ensures long-lasting durability and superior performance.” In the case of the Powerlock Pros, it adds that “premium leather ensures long-lasting durability, functionality and performance.”

Given these almost identical marketing descriptions, it’s an interesting question whether there’s any significant difference between the standard Powerlocks and the Powerlock Pros other than the covering material and the price. And since Everlast further describes both models as featuring a “unique Powerlock design and fit inspired by the professional competition product”, it’s also an interesting question what, other than obvious things like weight, sets them apart from the professional fight gloves.

If you’re like me and you don’t want to commit the time, effort, and money required to obtain and reverse engineer all the different models of glove in which the Powerlock technology has been implemented, then I suspect that the only way to ascertain the truth involves infiltrating Everlast’s secret laboratory in the Bronx, kidnapping a few of the whitecoats, and torturing them until they divulge everything. I, for one, don’t care enough about the truth to undertake an enterprise of that kind myself; but I’m willing to provide sincere moral support to anyone who does.

Spy drone image of Everlast’s secret Bronx lab

Like Everlast says, my Powerlocks are quite sleek and compact, even with their (almost exactly true-to-weight) 16oz padding. They’ve got a grip bar to help with proper fist formation. There’s also an attached thumb, as you’d expect, as well as a short elastic strip on the underside toward the palm to pull the closure together and improve fit. My Powerlocks are fully black, but you can find the standard model in a wide range of colourways, including a good-looking black and gold one. The obligatory stupid slogan printed on them is “Choice of Champions”.

Evaluation

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Performance

The key feature of the standard Powerlocks is of course the Powerlock technology. That’s what Everlast believes, or at least tells us, distinguishes the standard Powerlocks from all the similarly-priced and similar-looking training gloves out there in the marketplace. The impressively cutting-edge, serious-sounding name “Powerlock”, which also features on the pro fight gloves, is directly targeted at the Hamlets of pugilism wandering down the aisles in their local big chain sports store, looking for the answer.

And it’s then that the biggest problems with the Powerlock technology are the least apparent. The first is that no one, including Everlast itself, seems to have a clear and distinct conception of what it is. Does it pertain to structure or size or substance or what? How does it work? What distinguishes it from other glove technologies? This leads straight into the second, and perhaps more serious problem, which is that actual use of the Powerlocks fails to clarify anything. You never get to the point where you think to yourself, “Ahah! That must be what Everlast has in mind.” 

The Powerlock technology is here, somewhere…
…or maybe it’s here

The performance of the standard Powerlocks is similar to similarly-priced and similar-looking training gloves. As intimated by Johnny at ExpertBoxing, this may well be because many of the latter gloves are not only similar to the Powerlocks but identical to them: the same gloves from the same factory, only with another brand name printed on them. However that may be, there’s meant to be something special about the Powerlocks. Everlast won’t tell us what it is, so we can only judge on the basis of actual use. But that doesn’t tell us anything either.

The form or structure of the glove hardly strikes me as unique or noteworthy in any way. It certainly doesn’t provide an especially solid “lock” of the hand into a fist, if that’s what Everlast was intending to convey by the name “Powerlock”. Indeed, after a few months of use, I’m inclined to say that the Powerlocks are somewhat lacking in structure. The best gloves have a determinate yet accommodating structure for the fist, one which holds up even during the longest and hardest sessions on the heavy bag. The Powerlocks don’t have a structure like that; they tend toward hot and sweaty amorphousness with hard use.

This feeling is probably exacerbated by the feedback delivered by the padding. Feedback, in my opinion, lies on a spectrum. At one extreme of the spectrum is lively and definite feedback. Gloves with this feedback speak to you, as it were, about the quality of your technique and the power of your punches. At the other extreme are gloves with dull, or even dead, feedback. They mumble unintelligible nonsense or simply grunt at you. The Powerlocks are not extreme in either sense; but they do sit much closer to the dead than the lively end of the spectrum. They often land on the heavy bag with a dull thud.

The padding over the knuckles is only moderately protective for a 16oz glove. I don’t find the Powerlocks too bad for bagwork, but I think they’d frustrate harder punchers than me. They’re very well-padded on the backs of the hand and wrist. The protection and support on the underside of the gloves, however, is appallingly flimsy, almost non-existent. I’m really not sure what Everlast was thinking here. The flimsiness around the palm and underside of the wrist encourages a feeling of vulnerability which it’s very hard to shake, particularly while sparring. You don’t want to go catching or parrying stiff, forceful punches in these things.

This flimsy wrist might be the Powerlock technology

More generally, I’d recommend against hard sparring with the standard Powerlocks, despite Everlast’s usual thoughtless, indiscriminate advice to the contrary. The knuckle padding is just too firm. Although you’ll be protected enough (as long as you don’t go catching or parrying hard shots), your sparring partner will be put in the unenviable position of absorbing dull thuds like the ones these gloves so mercilessly inflict upon the heavy bag. Hard sparring is a useful method of training, but we shouldn’t make it harder than necessary for improving our skills. The Powerlocks aren’t rocks, but they’re far indeed from being pillows.

The lining in the standard Powerlocks is wonderfully luxurious – at least initially. The first few times I put them on, I was astonished by how much better they felt than gloves costing several times the price (including Winning). Unfortunately, it’s an illusion, one that surely serves its purpose whenever the Hamlets of pugilism try on new gloves at their local sports store, but soon vanishes with use. It’s then discovered that the lining is too loose and tends to bunch up in a steaming, damp mess in the finger compartment. This is not luxurious.

Durability

I’ve been using my Powerlocks for several months now, predominantly on the heavy bag. Although they’ve held up well enough so far, I’m doubtful about their durability over the longer term.

The standard Powerlocks, unlike the Powerlock Pros, are synthetic gloves. Now I’m not one of those reviewers who simply takes it for granted that leather is superior to synthetic materials. I own several high-end synthetic gloves, including Rivals and a pair of synthetic Winnings, and they’ve all proved extremely robust over years and years of regular use. But although the standard Powerlocks are obviously better quality than the worst synthetic junk gloves, I can’t imagine them lasting that long. 

First of all, there have been reports of the padding compacting and/or decaying after only several months of regular use, and I’m convinced that the padding on my own Powerlocks already feels significantly denser than it did originally. Another consideration is that the stitching on the inside of my Powerlocks has started loosening up and coming apart, as I discovered the other day when a mysterious object kept flicking my cheek whenever I brought the left glove up to my face. The culprit turned out to be a thread hanging out of the glove.

Perhaps this thread is the Powerlock technology

Although it hasn’t seriously affected the performance of the gloves (and may never do so), a big loose thread like that doesn’t inspire confidence.

Having said all that, I’m the first to admit the tentativeness of these judgements of durability. Many reviewers make definitive judgements of durability after only a few days or weeks of testing out a glove. Setting aside the worst of the junk gloves, I’m inclined to think that it’s pretty hard to make reasonable and truly informative judgements about the durability of a specific model of glove without using it as your primary glove until it fully gives up the ghost. But that’s not how most reviewers test gloves, myself included.

So what I will say is that, when you take a pair of brand new Powerlocks out of the packet, they don’t look and feel like they’re going to fall apart the first time you put them to work on the heavy bag. The build quality is exactly what’s required for all the Hamlets of pugilism in the sports stores turning these gloves over in their hands, pressing on the padding, sliding them over their hands, and wondering why some other guys at the gym spend so much on gloves when you can get these.

Aesthetics

Despite being made out of synthetic material, the standard Powerlocks are stylish gloves with a sleek, relatively compact form. My own fully black pair of Powerlocks look good, combining attractive branding (I admit to having always liked the Everlast logo) with the severe simplicity of old-school gloves. Everlast can do nostalgia very well when it puts its mind to it. Even many of the less subdued colourways look quite good, in my opinion, such as the black and gold one.

This aesthetic is testament to the mastery of Everlast’s marketers. No one knows the mass market for boxing gloves better than they do. Down in the secret Bronx lab, they’ve dissected the market, analysed each of its segments, and tested out gazillions of designs on it. The nice balance of sophisticated modernity and old-school simplicity is a direct appeal to the sensibilities of the the Hamlets of pugilism, who, in general, strongly feel the pull of both the latest flashy gimmicks and the severity of tradition.

Value

Th price of the standard Powerlocks is Everlast’s coup de grâce, the master stroke which fulfills the company’s marketing intentions by uniting the language, look, and feel of these gloves into a total product verging on what Venkatesh Rao has aptly labelled premium mediocrity. As premium mediocrities, or something close to that, the standard Powerlocks are not particularly cheap (A$90/US$50) for what they are, which is ultimately just another generic model of synthetic glove, many of which you can buy for lower prices on eBay and Amazon. 

But the price is on point for the Hamlets of pugilism. On the one hand, it’s high enough to reassure them that they won’t be embarrassed in the gym, that they’re more than mere boxfitters, that their shiny new pair of gloves won’t end up in landfill after one hard session on the heavy bag. On the other hand, it’s low enough to avoid the psychological pressure to get serious, the nagging feeling that you’re not really into it or up to it, that you’re pretending, that you might’ve spent too much cash on stuff for your hobby.

Overall

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If you were once a Hamlet of pugilism who one day made the existential leap into boxing as a serious life project, then for you the standard Powerlocks will be more akin to artwork than boxing gear. You will behold them as an ideal representation of past existential angst, just as many who have experienced and overcome a personal crisis behold Munch’s The Scream. And you will not buy them (again).

The standard Powerlocks mean something else for those currently suffering as Hamlets of pugilism. For them, the gloves are a highly efficacious palliative for existential angst in boxing. They’re a kind of sedative or analgesic for alleviating the uncertainty and fear of the abyss – but they’re not a cure. The choice must actually be made one day. Either you’ll make it consciously and deliberately yourself, or time will make it for you.

Posted by ScepticalBoxer in Gear, Reviews, 0 comments
Is Fit2Box fit to review?

Is Fit2Box fit to review?

4 November 2019

The YouTube ecosystem is crawling with so-called “influencers”. This cultural honorific is bestowed upon popular YouTubers who post videos of themselves expressing opinions on products, services, and/or trends, thereby influencing the consumption choices of the thousands or even millions of people subscribed to their YouTube channels. Nowadays there seem to be YouTube influencers for everything under the sun. If you can think of it, then someone has already expressed an opinion upon it.

The world of boxing, of course, has its share of these YouTube influencers. Indeed, you would be hard pressed to identify something under the sun of the boxing world upon which one influencer or another has not expressed an opinion. This is especially so for boxing equipment. Boxers need good gear and many of them (myself included) are willing to spend substantial sums of money to get it. So they turn to Google for advice. And the influencers are there, ready and willing to give it.

In general, the phenomenon of influencers is potentially – and perhaps in many cases is actually – socially beneficial. This is because very many markets are subject to information failures. The market for boxing equipment is obviously one of them. The vast majority of consumers know next to nothing about the design, materials, manufacture, and everyday performance of boxing equipment. Influencers are well-positioned to help us ignorant consumers overcome the problem of informational asymmetry.

Yet influencers are also well-positioned to mislead and deceive us ignorant consumers, and, in fact, there are powerful incentives for them to do so. Influencers make money from advertising and affiliate marketing programs, but consumers won’t click to buy negatively reviewed products. Influencers often receive free products from companies, but companies won’t keep up the supply if all they get in return are bad reviews. (I can appreciate the power of such incentives because they also apply to me.)

“The No.1 boxing equipment review channel on YouTube”

And that brings me to the YouTuber Fit2Box (aka Simon Higgins). Fit2Box is the self-proclaimed top YouTube influencer on the highly vexed topic of boxing equipment. He has produced hundreds and hundreds of reviews of gloves and other gear, and his YouTube channel has thousands and thousands of subscribers. There is also a separate website designed to aid in navigating his extensive YouTube back catalogue. Fit2Box even has plans to introduce his own range of merchandise, starting with branded hand wraps.

Fit2Box aka Simon Higgins

But is Fit2Box really YouTube’s No.1 gear reviewer? It depends what Fit2Box means by “No.1”. If Fit2Box simply means that his channel has more subscribers than other gear review channels, then his claim to be “No.1” may well be true. There are more than 10K subscribers to the Fit2Box channel. As far as I can determine, Fit2Box’s main rivals on YouTube are csquared with 4.8K subscribers and ratethisgear with 3.44K. (The ExpertBoxing channel has a whopping 231K subscribers, but it’s mostly focused on training and fighting, with relatively few gear reviews.)

Quantity is not quality, however. If Fit2Box means that his channel provides better reviews than other gear review channels, then his claim to be “No.1” is both more interesting and more controversial. Let us consider what Fit2Box takes to be his own raison d’être:

I set up Fit2Box channel to help people make more informed decisions when buying their boxing equipment. Boxing is my passion and equipment is my area of expertise. My reviews are honest, unbiased and informative, to give my viewers my take on the best boxing equipment available, whatever your budget. I am totally independent and don’t receive any payment for any reviews, I do it for the love of the sport and to help people make the right choices for them.

This suggests that Fit2Box himself is deeply concerned with providing high quality reviews of boxing equipment. So that is how I shall understand his claim to be “No.1”. Is Fit2Box the best gear reviewer? Are his reviews of boxing equipment better than those of others? Should you base your gear purchases on his reviews? 

The short story is No, No, and No. In general, Fit2Box produces not reviews so much as uncritical, uninformative, and occasionally incoherent infomercials. If it were not for his amiable online persona, I would be tempted to say that Fit2Box intentionally designs his anodyne reviews to generate affiliate clicks and maintain a steady flow of free gear from the companies. But I won’t go that far. Fit2Box seems like a nice enough guy and I have no desire to impugn the man’s character.

What I will do is argue that Fit2Box is not fit to review. I shall do so by critiquing a selection of typical reviews. I must confess that I haven’t watched each and every review produced by Fit2Box. Not only are there hundreds and hundreds of them, but many are excruciatingly tedious (especially the “head-to-head” comparisons) and I’ve got better things to do with my life. Even so, I think I’ve watched enough of his reviews to put myself in a position to rationally identify problems with his general approach.

Let’s get into it.

Fit2Box is Unfit2Review

Everlast Powerlock Boxing Gloves 14oz Review

Fit2Box begins this review by distinguishing the Powerlocks from the cheap and nasty Everlast gloves sold in department stores. This distinction, while quite legitimate, serves as Fit2Box’s introduction of the central message his infomercial, that the Powerlocks are “top-end… top quality Everlast gloves”. Fit2Box then moves into an earnestly inane presentation of the branding Everlast has plastered all over the Powerlocks, taking the utmost care to point out the Powerlock logo on the thumb, the Powerlock logo on the grip bar, the “Choice of Champions” slogan and 14oz tag on the cuff, the Everlast and Powerlock logos on the wrist strap, and finally the big Everlast logo on the back.

A vague gesture is made toward something actually of interest to potential users of the Powerlocks when, pointing at the Powerlock logo on the thumb, Fit2Box tells us that “that is the Powerlock which is actually one of the design features.” But he immediately drops the ball and continues on with his tedious aesthetic rundown, leaving the nature and function of this key feature utterly unexplained. What is the Powerlock feature and what does it actually do? Fit2Box does nothing to clarify the mystery, probably because, like Everlast itself, he doesn’t know how.

The final half of the infomercial is a veritable encomium, in which Fit2Box heaps praise after praise upon the Powerlocks almost without end. He tells us that the Powerlocks are “a very nice top-end Everlast glove”, “an absolutely beautiful glove” which Everlast apparently “put out to challenge your Cleto Reyes, your Grants, and your Winnings”. (If this latter claim is true – and I highly doubt it given the existence of the MX line – then Everlast is even more delusional than Fit2Box.) Of course, there’s not the slightest mention in this infomercial of the complaints voiced by ordinary consumers in online gear forums about the irregular stitching, fragile padding, and other quality issues with the Powerlocks.

So what else is there for Fit2Box to do than “fully recommend” you buy them? 

Everlast Protex 3 Boxing Gloves Review


In this abysmal effort, Fit2Box stumbles along hopelessly for three-and-a-half minutes, propped up by little more than the adjective “nice”, which is his favourite linguistic crutch. He naturally begins by discussing one of the chief gimmicks of these gimmicky gloves, their velcro closure system. He enthuses over the “nice three parts to the velcro” on the cuff, telling us they’re something “which I really do like” but conspicuously failing to tell us why he likes them. And, in fact, there’s nothing at all to set those three small strips above or apart from the larger single strips standardly found on velcro gloves. 

Next, and apparently without realising it, Fit2Box proceeds to identify the obvious flaws of the gimmicky Protex3 velcro closure system. He observes first that the wrist strap is too short to be wrapped around your wrist for solid support, adding that, like the flimsy one on the Protex2s, it’s likely to split or tear off the glove if you pull it too hard. He then brings out the cuff sheaths and tells us that they “would make a nice fit that would cover over the velcro”. Despite the fact that the utility of the sheaths is as unclear as their inconvenience is clear, Fit2Box makes no attempt to explain why we should care about them.

As the review progresses, Fit2Box only clutches more desperately at the gimmicky straws put there for him by Everlast. He points out “a little rubbery part” on the thumb, telling us that “that’s EverGel”, but makes no attempt whatsoever to explain the nature and function of the mysterious substance. He then blurts out, as if by accident, that the Protex3s are “one of the better, more quality gloves that Everlast do”. This leads into one of the most pathetic moments in any of the Fit2Box infomercials. Desperate for something to justify his enthusiasm, Fit2Box suddenly tells us that “you’ve got there the EverCool, which is a feature of the glove, and you’ve got ‘Greatness is Within’ on there as well” – i.e. look! there’s some mesh and there’s a slogan. Wow.

In the end, things comes full circle as Fit2Box once more praises the “very nice three velcros there, which I think is a nice touch”, before concluding that Everlast has “obviously thought a lot about the look of the glove and they are a nice glove”. But I doubt whether even Everlast itself has thought as much about the look of these “nice gloves” as Fit2Box.

AquaBag as used by Canelo Alvarez Review


This is a perfect illustration of the total absence of critical acumen in many of Fit2Box’s reviews. The whole video is a kind of paean to the AquaBag, nearly four minutes of constant praise and admiration in which Fit2Box tells us, among other things, that AquaBags are “absolutely superb… absolutely brilliant” training devices, and he “would recommend an AquaBag to any gym or anyone”. 

There can be no mistaking the fact that this alleged review is really an infomercial. Text describing the sizes and prices of the various models of AquaBag appears throughout, ostensibly for our enlightenment. But the AquaBag company itself would be hard pressed to produce a more gushing, self-indulgent advertisement for its own products. Not without a blush, anyway.

Water bags are great. I agree with Fit2Box that they’re superb and brilliant training tools. As I have discussed in another post, however, AquaBags are simply marine buoys that you can buy for a fraction of the price from your local marine supply store or Amazon. The AquaBag company is perpetrating a marketing scam on the boxing community, and unthinking patsies like Fit2Box are enabling it.

RDX BGL-T9 Boxing Glove Review

Fit2Box goes right off the rails in this incoherent mess of a review. As usual he kicks things off with an aesthetic rundown. The tediousness gradually lulls you into a sort of living death, until Fit2Box points out that the wrist strap has “some nice badges on there as well to indicate the different features of the glove… on there it says RDX Giant Inside BGL-T9”. At that moment there is no knowing whether to laugh or cry at the inanity of it all; for my own part, I’m sure I was at least feeling something, and maybe even thinking too. I wasn’t dead.

And then the strangest thing happens, enough to jolt even me out of my sardonic musings. Fit2Box proceeds to actually criticise the T9s, as follows: 

As soon as I put these on I notice straight away that the thumb is a very short thumb, but also very compacted… so your thumb is actually sort of pushed in… which is not great comfortable wise… my thumb is right at the end there and it’s also being pushed in… the knuckle area and thumb are almost locked in position, so there’s no movement to open the hand… okay for the bag but not for sparring. I wouldn’t use these for sparring. There’s not enough hand movement in these for me to catch shots and that thumb is a little pressed in to the hand for me to use. They’re not as comfortable as a glove that I would want, very stiff, very tight in the fingers and thumb area and everything is sort of locked in place.

It’s unclear to me why Fit2Box would believe that uncomfortable, badly designed gloves are ok to use for bagwork but not for sparring. And I don’t believe he really does believe it. Perhaps he made the bagwork comment because he felt guilty about all the flood of deprecatory observations coming out of his mouth. However that may be, the gist of his criticism is obvious: the T9s are junk gloves, and you shouldn’t waste your money on them.

But being the amiable chap that he is, Fit2Box cannot bring himself to just say it. And as soon as he falls back into his default mode of anodyne positivity, he’s forced into the most absurd incoherence. For Fit2Box goes on to conclude that the T9s are “a decent pair of gloves for very little money”, “a bit of a steal really”, and “totally fit for purpose”. All of that, despite his having just demonstrated the exact opposite.

Velo Leather Boxing Gloves Review

Ok, one more. This one provides a good example of the aesthetic-functional-structural mishmash so common in Fit2Box’s reviews. It begins like a full-blown late night infomercial, complete with a host who is ostensibly astonished by the low price of the product he’s trying to sell. “Let me give you the price,” says Fit2Box, “and the price of these gloves is 29 pounds 99 pence. That’s right, that’s 29 pounds 99 pence… That is fantastic value for money”. 

Next Fit2Box turns to the gloves themselves. He refrains from indulging in one of his tedious aesthetic rundowns, choosing instead to focus on the functional and structural aspects of the Velos. This is commendable, at least while it lasts; but his attention is suddenly drawn to the stitching on the back/rear of the glove, which he sincerely informs us is “quite unusual… but it shows the attention to detail, and the fact that they have actually thought about what they’re doing with this glove. It shows effort, they’ve not just done sort of a stock glove, they’ve tried to put some design cues on there as well…” And so it goes. 

But what is the meaning of this drivel? Is Fit2Box making an aesthetic point? Or does he think that the stitching is functionally and/or structurally significant? Why does the stitching show that Velo has put thought into the glove? Why does it show effort? Does Fit2Box even know what he is saying and believe it? And why am I even asking such questions? It’s so much easier to just smile and nod along. After all, “at 29.99 these are fantastic value for money!”

Ugh.


What do you think about Fit2Box’s reviews? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted by ScepticalBoxer in Analysis, Reviews, 30 comments
Review: Winning NG-2 Knuckle Guard

Review: Winning NG-2 Knuckle Guard

29 October 2019

My struggle with knuckle pain began shortly after my first ever training session on the heavy bag.

I’d trained with the frenzy typical of beginner boxers, utterly absorbed by the sensation of my own power, and utterly ignorant of technique. It was haymaker after haymaker for a full thirty minutes, all delivered in my A$20 pair of Rock bag gloves from Rebel Sports. And I shall never forget it. For the megalomania of working out on the heavy bag is perhaps the closest ordinary men can get to experiencing the mental lives of extraordinary men like Alexander, Caesar, and Napoleon.

But there’s no escaping reality, especially the reality of one’s mediocrity.

As the delusional intoxication of my megalomania waned, the real pain in the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint of my left ring finger waxed. It felt as if the knuckle bones and cartilage had been crushed into paste, though of course they hadn’t. My knuckle was simply very sore and tender as a consequence of the blunt force trauma I’d repeatedly inflicted upon it over a period of thirty minutes. If you’ve ever had serious knuckle pain from punching the heavy bag, you’ll know what I mean.

I thought the knuckle pain would eventually go away with further “conditioning” of my hands. But although it did come and go, it never disappeared completely, not even as my gloves progressed from Rock to Punch, Hayabusa, Rival, Cleto Reyes, and finally Winning itself. It seemed as though knuckle pain was my destiny. In desperation, I invented crazy coping mechanisms. For example, I imagined that the degree of my knuckle pain was somehow indicative of my commitment to the sport.

And then one day I read about knuckle guards on the Internet, probably somewhere on the Sherdog gear forum. The knuckle guards in question were Winning NG-2s.

Description

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The Winning NG-2 knuckle guard is a very simple device. It comprises (apparently two layers of) gel padding encased by some kind of stretchy, elasticised fabric, with a strap or loop to hold the gel padding down.

One of my pairs of Winning NG-2s

The gel padding is intended to sit on top of the four MCP joints involved in striking. The rectangular pads are roughly 11cm long, 5.5cm wide, and 1cm high, which is presumably enough for most people’s knuckles.

To use the Winning NG-2 knuckle guard, you must insert your fingers through the loop until the lengthwise axis of the gel padding roughly aligns with the four MCP joints involved in striking.

Lengthwise axis aligned with MCP joints

You then apply your hand wraps. If you normally run your wraps between your fingers, you may find that doing so while wearing an NG-2 pushes it up and onto the back of your hand, thereby defeating the purpose of wearing it. In that case, it it’s easiest to forget about your fingers and simply run the wrap all the way around your hand, though it’s also possible to first make a “barrier” behind the NG-2 with the wrap and then run the wrap between your fingers.

You can simply run the wrap around your hand…
…or you can make a wrap barrier…
…and run the wrap run between your fingers.

Winning is famous in the world of boxing for its understated – even non-existent – marketing claims. The company doesn’t have much to say about the NG-2s, other than that they’re gel pads which provide protection for your knuckles in addition to that provided by your gloves. And, indeed, that’s what the NG-2s are, and that’s what they do.

Evaluation

| Amazon AU | eBay AU | Amazon US| eBay US |

Performance

The NG-2s provide superb protection for the four MCP joints involved in striking. They are highly effective in both preventing the development of knuckle pain and alleviating pre-existing knuckle pain.

My own experience with the NG-2s was almost magical.

When I first got them, I made sure to give my battered and bruised knuckles a week or two to recover. Then I got back into hard training. For someone obsessed with boxing, it was like being born again.

The NG-2s had an incidental benefit for me as well. I’ve always preferred the fit of my gloves to be snug, but as I have small hands, this preference has often gone unsatisfied. Not now. The gel padding of the NG-2s makes my wrapped hands bulkier, thereby making the fit of my gloves snugger in general. I like it.

Of course, one man’s pleasure is another man’s pain. Many people with larger hands complain that the NG-2s make their wrapped hands too bulky for their gloves. More specifically, if you have big hands, the use of NG-2s may make it harder for you to put your gloves on, or even prevent you from doing so altogether. 

Another common complaint is that the NG-2s can be a bit fiddly to get right, especially compared to gel quick wraps like these:

Sting gel quick wraps

That may be true, but it’s a trivial issue in my opinion. It’s also outweighed by countervailing considerations. Gel quick wraps are notorious for lacking the support of traditional hand wraps. The NG-2s, on the other hand, are intended to complement traditional hand wraps, not replace them; so with NG-2s you don’t have to compromise support for your hand.

Durability

The gel padding inside the NG-2s seems pretty much indestructible to me. Of course, it’s not really, but I’ve had several pairs of NG-2s for years now and I have not detected any changes whatsoever in the effectiveness or structure of the gel padding. The stretch fabric covering the gel padding, on the other hand, does show some signs of wear and tear, but nothing beyond what one would reasonably expect from that kind of material.

Wear and tear on fabric loop

Aesthetics

The NG-2s are only available in baby blue and they tend to get slightly discoloured with regular use – none of which is really worth knowing, let alone worrying about. After all, the NG-2s are purely functional devices and you wear them under your wraps whenever you use them.

Value

Taking into account that they’re Winning products, the NG-2s are actually reasonably priced – if you know where to get them.

In the USA, things are straightforward enough. You can just buy the NG-2s from Amazon US. They only cost US$22, which is nothing relative to the utility they confer on those with knuckle pain. You can also get them cheaply on eBay US.

In Australia, as usual, you need to be a bit more circumspect in your dealings. MMA Fight Store, the leading rip-off merchant of the Australian boxing scene, sells the NG-2s for a whopping A$55! In this case as in most – but not all – others, I would advise against giving MMA Fight Store your custom. Instead, go to eBay and get NG-2s from Japan for only A$35 inclusive of shipping. You can also import them through Amazon Australia, but that’ll cost more than eBay with shipping.

Overall

| Amazon AU | eBay AU | Amazon US| eBay US |

If your hands are not big, and either you suffer from knuckle pain or you want to prevent it, then you should give serious consideration to buying the Winning NG-2 knuckle guard. It’s an effective, durable, and reasonably priced device for protecting your knuckles.

Posted by ScepticalBoxer in Gear, Reviews, 0 comments
Review: Lace N Loop Glove Enhancing System

Review: Lace N Loop Glove Enhancing System

11 August 2019

The two basic systems of glove closure are the lace-up system and the velcro system.

Professional boxers seem to prefer lace-up gloves for training, and they always fight in them, probably owing to the requirements of sanctioning bodies. Gear aficionados tell us that the dominance of the lace-up system in pro boxing ultimately stems from the fact that lace-up gloves provide superior fit and support. The laces run from the forearm, over the wrist, all the way to the lower or mid palm, and you can tie them as loose or tight as you like. The downside, of course, is that tying laces is massively inconvenient, especially if you’re training alone or you don’t like the idea of asking the guys at your gym for assistance.

Velcro gloves, on the other hand, are widely used by almost everyone else in the world of boxing, even at the highest levels of amateur competition. According to the gear aficionados, velcro gloves provide inferior fit and support because of the narrowness of their straps, which only wrap around the wrist. You can pull the straps as tight or as loose as you like, but they do not disperse support as widely or evenly as laces do. The velcro system is really convenient, however, as even the gear aficionados must and do acknowledge. You can attach and detach the straps without any assistance in seconds.

I currently own five high-end pairs of lace-up training gloves: Cleto Reyes, Rival, and Topboxer, as well as two pairs of Winning. Although, like most amateur boxers, I’ve previously trained in many different models of velcro gloves, nowadays I only train in lace-ups. But I confess I don’t really know whether, in general, lace-up gloves actually do provide better fit and support than velcro gloves.

Indeed, if what the gear aficionados mean by “support” is “wrist support”, then I’d be inclined to say that the most supportive gloves I’ve ever used are Hayabusa Tokushus/T3s with dual velcro straps (“Dual-X”) and quad-splint design (“Fusion Splinting”). Don’t get me wrong: I really dislike Hayabusa Tokushus/T3s, but that’s for reasons other than their extraordinary support of the wrist.

Why then do I only train in lace-up gloves?

That question calls for a bit of honest introspection. First of all, I’ve read so many times that the lace-up system is better than the velcro system, that I probably now believe it, or at least take it for granted. The superiority of the lace-up system is just one of those things that everyone who knows about gloves “knows”. What’s more, the aesthetic of old-school traditional boxing strongly appeals to me, and there’s nothing more redolent of that than a pair of lace-up gloves (ideally an old, filthy, worn-out pair of leather ones hanging from a hook on the wall of a gym).

So, in short, I train in lace-up gloves because I can’t think for myself and I think they look cool.

I use lace-up gloves partly because of cool photos like that

But there’s something else I haven’t mentioned. And it’s absolutely crucial. My lack of independent thought and my aesthetic preferences were not sufficient, on their own, to get me to give up velcro in favour of laces. More specifically, since I often train alone, I couldn’t seriously entertain the prospect of training with lace-up gloves in the absence of a practical solution to the aforementioned and very serious problem of inconvenience. The difference-maker was my discovery of the Lace N Loop Glove Enhancing System.

Description

| eBay AU | Amazon US | eBay US |

The somewhat extravagant name “Lace N Loop Glove Enhancing System” belies the simplicity of the product. Lace N Loops are just synthetic straps with velcro on them. They’re functionally divided into three sections.

A pair of fully open Lace N Loops

The longest section, accounting for slightly more than half the strap, is made of a sturdy inelastic material with a strip of velcro loops sewn on the topside and a reinforced hole in the end. You attach the strap to your glove by first threading the laces through this metal eyelet and then tying a knot in them.

The short mid-section is elasticised, allowing you to close the strap as tightly or loosely as you like.

The third section is used for grasping, pulling, and wrapping the strap. It’s made of a sturdy inelastic material with a strip of velcro hooks sewn on the underside. There’s a little tab at the end of this section which, I think, is meant to facilitate the process of grasping, pulling, and wrapping.

And that’s pretty much it.

The way you use a Lace N Loop strap is by grasping the unattached end, pulling on it to tighten your glove’s lace-up closure mechanism, then wrapping the laces and eventually the strap itself around the cuff of your glove. Finally, you secure the strap by way of the velcro strips.

This process is best illustrated by Lace N Loop’s own infographic:

How to use a Lace N Loop

Lace N Loop tells us that its straps are “designed enable a lace-up boxing glove wearer to lace up their own gloves without help from another person.” It adds that they’re “designed to utilize all the benefits of a lace-up glove, without changing the fit, performance, or function.”

Evaluation

| eBay AU | Amazon US | eBay US |

Performance

For the most part, Lace N Loops do what they’re designed to do, and they do it well.

They enable you to put on and close up your lace-up gloves without the help of another person. And they seem to enable that while preserving the (allegedly) superior fit and support of lace-up gloves. This, I suppose, makes them much better than standard converters which, owing to certain structural factors, notoriously fail to preserve those superior qualities. So the company’s claims about its straps are not fantasies. This is a welcome respite from the torrents of marketing bunkum dumped on us everyday by most other gear companies.

Lace N Loops, however, do not entirely overcome the problem of inconvenience. Initially they can be very awkward to use indeed. One reason is that the velcro easily sticks to the laces. This necessitates tearing the velcro from the laces, which can damage the latter especially if you do it frequently. Another, more significant, reason for the initial awkwardness is that the process of grasping, pulling, and wrapping Lace N Loops around the cuffs of your gloves is much more difficult for the second strap than the first one.

The first glove is easy-peasy. This is because you can start with loose criss-cross laces and you always have an ungloved fingers at your disposal. The loose criss-cross laces allow smooth insertion of your hand in the glove. You can then adjust the criss-cross laces as you like with your ungloved fingers. This means that when you finally pull the Lace N Loop strap and wrap it around the cuff, you’re very well-positioned to achieve optimal or near-optimal closure of the glove’s lace-up mechanism. No problems here.

The second glove, however, presents something of a dilemma. If you start with sufficiently loose criss-cross laces for smooth hand insertion, you won’t be able to adjust them as you like with ungloved fingers. This is problematic because pulling on the Lace N Loop strap generally only tightens the lowest criss-cross laces over the forearm, not up at the wrist and palm, thereby making optimal closure of the lace-up system impossible. But if you start with tight criss-cross laces, insertion of your hand rapidly degenerates into a clumsy struggle, and you may not be able to insert it at all.

Of course, practice goes a long way toward alleviating the severity of such inconveniences. But it never does away with them entirely. Even now, after two years of using Lace N Loops on my training gloves, I not uncommonly find myself either tugging on overly loose criss-cross laces with my bare teeth, or struggling to shove my hand past overly tight ones.

Durability

A sad fact about me is that I own six – that’s right, six – pairs of Lace N Loops, one for each of my five pairs of lace-up gloves, as well as a spare set just in case I spot yet another pair of awesome lace-up gloves at a bargain price on eBay or Gumtree. (The idea here being that I won’t have to wait until I get Lace N Loops before I give the hoped-for awesome cheap lace-ups a whirl on the heavy bag; I’ll be ready to rock’n’roll straight away.)

My long-standing collection of these useful little straps, though a bit weird in itself, does at least afford me rare insight into how well this product tends to hold up over extended use. In particular, I’m able to base my judgement on more than just one sample. Most of my Lace N Loops have in fact held up very well, exhibiting no defects beyond reasonable wear and tear. I’d even go so far as to say that functionally they’re the exactly same as they were on the first day I got them. That includes the elastic mid-section.

But two pairs of my Lace N Loops have not held up so well. They began developing rust on their metal eyelets after only a few months of use. Not only is the rust unsightly, it is also abrasive, thereby threatening to mark, scratch, or even cut into the cuffs when these straps are pulled tightly against them.

Rust on the metal eyelet of an old model, an issue Lace N Loop has apparently resolved on the new model

The best explanation of this rust is that it was caused by sweat. Of course, if you’re going to sweat doing any sport, you’re going to sweat doing boxing – and gear companies like Lace N Loop should take that into account when selecting the materials from which their products are to be made.

NB: In late 2019, several months after this review was first posted, Lace N Loop informed me that it was aware of the rust issue and had already taken positive action to remedy it by upgrading the metal eyelet to stainless steel. This is a great credit to the guys behind Lace N Loop, and sets it apart from the vast bulk of gear companies who will stop at nothing to pollute the world of boxing with their crappy products and accompanying marketing bunkum. As I undertand things, the upgrade applies to all Lace N Loop straps produced as of late 2019.

Aesthetics

Lace N Loops are available in several simple and inoffensive colour schemes, each one of which is dominated by either black or white. The Lace N Loop logo, which features prominently on the largest section of the straps, is not a paragon of the art of graphic design; but it’s hardly obnoxious either.

So you shouldn’t have any difficulty selecting a pair of Lace N Loops to go at least tolerably well with your gloves. And if you do find it difficult, well, maybe your priorities have gone awry and you put too much emphasis on aesthetics. These things aren’t meant to be fashion accessories.

Value

Lace N Loops are good value given their utility.

If you live in the United States, Lace N Loops will cost slightly more than standard converters, such as those offered by Title and Ring-To-Cage. Lace N Loops go for US$20-$25, depending on the colour scheme, whereas you can get R2C’s converters for US$15-$20 and Title’s converters for only US$10 on Amazon. In this regard, however, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re comparing apples and oranges (as I suggested above under Performance).

In Australia, there aren’t really any alternatives to Lace N Loops, unless you’re willing to order something from Amazon US. So it’s fortunate you can buy Lace N Loops domestically for only A$35 inclusive of postage from MMA Fight Store on eBay. I’ve done that, and I’ve also bought them directly from Lace N Loop’s US-based online store. As always, you should make your own decision on the basis of the exchange rate and your delivery-patience threshold.

Overall

| eBay AU | Amazon US | eBay US |

I strongly recommend Lace N Loops to anyone who, like me, prefers to use lace-up gloves for training over velcro ones (even if, like me, your justification for that preference is utterly pathetic). Lace N Loops are not a panacea for the inconvenience of training with lace-up gloves. They do, however, significantly mitigate that inconvenience. If you understand their quirks and limitations, Lace N Loops won’t disappoint you and you’ll get a lot of utility out of them.

Posted by ScepticalBoxer in Gear, Reviews, 0 comments
Best synthetic / non-leather boxing gloves

Best synthetic / non-leather boxing gloves

22 June 2019

If you’re a boxer and your values and beliefs rule out buying products made of leather, then what synthetic/non-leather boxing gloves should you buy?

This is a genuine problem for vegan and vegetarian boxers who abstain from eating animals on ethical grounds (though perhaps not for those who do so purely on health grounds). You don’t need to be a professor of philosophy to appreciate that such commitments don’t sit well with the consumption of leather products.

I’m a vegetarian myself (on ethical grounds) and I really do love a good quality pair of gloves. Although I occasionally buy leather gloves, I only ever buy them pre-owned as that way I avoid directly contributing to the demand for leather. And if I buy a brand new pair of gloves, I first make sure they’re synthetic/non-leather.

There’s certainly no shortage of synthetic gloves on the market. Synthetic gloves are everywhere. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them are overpriced generic junk. If you’re a boxfitter, then just about any of these synthetic junk gloves will do as long as you adequately control your power and technique.

It’s not so simple, however, if you do serious boxing training, by which I mean you train to fight, or at least you train as if you intend to fight. In that case, you can’t get by with just any synthetic gloves. Boxers punch harder and more often than boxfitters do. You need highly protective and highly durable synthetic gloves.

So what are the best synthetic/non-leather gloves for serious boxing training?

That’s the question of interest to me in this post. Given the nature of online lifestyle discussions, it’s worth noting that that’s the only question of interest to me here. My purpose is not to justify or defend veganism, vegetarianism, or any other lifestyle choice. If you’re eager to debate those things, please take your arguments and invective elsewhere!

You can buy both stock synthetic gloves (i.e. ready-made off the shelf) and custom synthetic gloves (i.e. made to satisfy your functional and aesthetic specifications). I set out here what I take to be the top three of each kind as well as a few other options you might want to consider. Since I’m only interested in the best synthetic gloves, I ignore the cheap and crappy models typically found on online lists of synthetic/non-leather gloves.

Best stock synthetic gloves

1 – Rival RB10 Intelli Shock Bag Gloves and RS100 Pro Sparring Gloves (US$180-190)

| eBay – RB10 | eBay – RS100 |

Rival divides its high-end models into bag gloves and sparring gloves. The RB10s and RS100s are not only Rival’s best synthetic bag and sparring gloves, they’re the best (stock) synthetic gloves from any brand. The padding is fit-for-purpose, they provide great wrist support, and the “super microfibre” from which they’re constructed is durable. They also breathe pretty well for synthetic gloves owing to the mesh palms. I usually despise mesh because for the most part it’s flimsy stuff used purely as a cost-cutting measure. But I’ve never had any problems with the mesh on my Rival gloves. The only potential downsides of the RB10s and RS100s, in my opinion, are that they’re expensive and neither is an all-purpose training glove. The latter is not a big deal, however, if like me you’re sympathetic to the idea that boxers should own one pair of lighter gloves for bagwork as well as a heavier pair for sparring.

2 – Fly Superlace X (&pound180/US$230)

| Fly UK |

Fly is a relatively new brand founded in the UK as recently as 2017. Its standard leather gloves are made in the UK and they’re extremely expensive. Despite Fly’s relative youth, its gloves have already been used for training and competition by several well-known professionals (including Tyson Fury, Joseph Parker, Dillian Whyte, Dereck Chisora, and Michael Conlan). This is because either the pros were paid to use them or the pros love them (or both). Either way, Fly’s gloves are definitely up there with many other top brands. The Superlace X model is identical to the standard leather Superlace, only it’s synthetic and made in China (though “finished” in the UK, whatever that means). The Superlace X is an excellent, albeit very expensive, all-purpose synthetic training glove. If it were not for the high price and recurrent concerns about the durability of Fly’s padding, I’d probably have put the Superlace X at the top of my list.

3 – Rival RB11 Bag Gloves and Rival RS11V Sparring Gloves (US$140-150)

| eBay – RB11 | eBay – RS11V |

If you feel that the Rival RB10s and RS100s are overpriced, you should give serious consideration to these two models from Rival instead. The RB11s are sleek, firmly padded bag gloves with the same wrist support mechanism as the more expensive Intelli Shocks. They give off a really nice pop on the heavy bag. The RS11Vs share the RB11s structure (including the same wrist support mechanism), but they’ve got more and softer padding for sparring. Both models have mesh palms to help them breathe. I normally despise mesh because it’s flimsy, but as I said above with regard to the RB10s and RS100s, I’ve never had any problems with the mesh used by Rival. If you’re happy to forego the premium look and feel (and price!) of the RB10s and RS100s, then the RB11s and RB11Vs will serve you well while also saving you lots of money.

Best custom synthetic gloves

1 – Winning MS-series (US$385)

| Kozuji |

The Winning MS-series training gloves are the best training gloves you can buy in the world. It’s widely known that Winning offers custom colour and name options for its MS-series gloves; but what seems to be hardly known at all is that Winning also offers custom material options as well. I made this discovery while in the depths of a glove-induced moral crisis. I really wanted a pair of Winning. But I knew that the MS-series is made of leather and I couldn’t find any reasonably priced pre-owned ones for sale at the time. Then it occurred to me that almost all of Winning’s other gear is synthetic. So why not inquire as to whether Winning could make me a pair of synthetic MS-series training gloves? I asked Steve at Kozuji about it and, much to my surprise and joy, he said that it’s possible. The big downside, of course, was the cost. Custom gear from Winning is astronomically expensive, even when it’s synthetic. Another downside was the long wait time of around six months. In the end, though, I got my synthetic 16oz lace-up Winning MS-600s, dumped my girlfriend, and married them.

2 – TopBoxer Win1 (US$130-200)

| eBay |

This outfit is run by Muhammad Irfan in Pakistan and produces really good quality gloves at reasonable prices. TopBoxer has many stock leather gloves in its lineup, but it’s best known for its custom gear. TopBoxer is able to make almost any glove you can imagine. In particular, Muhammad will gladly make synthetic gloves to satisfy your functional and aesthetic requirements. Although the range of customisation options is greatest for leather gloves, you still have a lot of choice when it comes to synthetic gloves. Muhammad will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may wish to ask about materials or construction. I personally own custom synthetic 12oz lace-up TopBoxers with “Win1” padding. The latter is a Winning-style padding, but there are also Mexican-style and other paddings from which to choose. My TopBoxers are certainly some of my favourite gloves. If it weren’t possible to get custom synthetic Winning MS-series, TopBoxer would be at the top of this list.

3 – UMA RT-41 (US$150-200)

| UMA Custom Gear |

Another good operation working out of Pakistan and selling to the world. Like TopBoxer, UMA has a range of stock gloves, all made of leather, but it’s best known for its custom gear service. UMA’s custom RT-41 gloves are pretty well-regarded. UMA will happily make a synthetic pair of RT-41s for you, though the range of customisation options will be smaller than for a leather pair. You should beware that the RT-41s are very heavily padded gloves. This makes them bulky. UMA also has another model, the IR model, which is supposed to be more of a “puncher’s glove”, but it looks pretty bulky to me as well. Bulky gloves make me feel slow and lethargic. I personally prefer gloves with a sleeker profile for the (subjective) feeling of speed and athleticism they somehow convey to me. This is one reason why I’ve put TopBoxer ahead of UMA. But UMA is a great choice for your next pair of synthetic gloves if you like wearing bulky gloves for the feeling of extra protection.

What do you think are the best synthetic gloves? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted by ScepticalBoxer in Gear, Reviews, 0 comments
Guide to buying boxing gloves in Australia

Guide to buying boxing gloves in Australia

13 June 2019

The boxing glove market in Australia is a pretty dismal sight to behold. The gloves marketed by Australian brands are almost all generic models made with cheap materials and even cheaper labour in Pakistani (or sometimes Chinese) factories. They are stocked by Australian retail outlets alongside similarly generic models from global brands. In general, the price-to-quality ratios of both the Australian and global generic brands are unsatisfactory.

The Australian glove market is another case of what I call the Nguyen principle, in honour of its original propounder Johnny Nguyen at ExpertBoxing: 99% of the gloves out there are overpriced junk. The Nguyen principle holds with as much certainty in Australia as it does in the United States. It simply cannot be doubted, not even by a sceptic about the world of boxing like myself. The vast majority of gloves on the market in Australia are nothing but costly landfill.

Even so, the Australian glove market is not the US glove market. Australia’s population is relatively small and interest in the sport of boxing is low. The Australian dollar is often quite weak. And Australia doesn’t share a land border with any other country at all, let alone a country which manufactures many of the best gloves in the world (viz. Mexico, of course). Most guides to buying gloves are written for Americans and don’t straightforwardly apply to the Australian market.

So what is the best approach to buying training gloves in Australia?

The present guide is my answer to that question. It’s mostly based on my own experiences in the Australian glove market as both a boxer and a trainer. I’ve personally used or inspected many of the models put out by the major Australian and international brands. I’ve also personally used or inspected many of the better brands around, like Cleto Reyes, Fairfax, Hayabusa, Rival, TopBoxer, Twins, Winning, and so on. And I’ve consumed more time, effort, and money than I’d like to admit (to my family, anyway) on researching gloves, browsing online and traditional stores, and finding the best deals possible.

Before charging into the smoke-and-mirrors of the Australian glove market, however, it’s necessary to elucidate what I have in mind by “the best approach”.

The target audience of this guide comprises men and women who are serious about the sport of boxing, i.e. people who both train and fight or people who at least train as if they intend to fight. I’ll call this group boxers for convenience, even though not all of them actually box in the sense of fighting in a ring. The glove requirements of boxers will generally not be the same as those of people who only do “boxfit” or the like. This latter group I’ll call boxfitters. Boxers punch more and punch harder than boxfitters do. They therefore require highly protective and highly durable gloves. Of course, boxfitters require protective and durable gloves also, but not anywhere near the same degree as boxers do.

The distinction between boxfitters and serious boxers is not the same as that between beginner boxers and more experienced boxers. I don’t subscribe to the popular idea that beginner boxers should buy low quality gloves just because they’re beginners. Indeed, in an ideal world, beginner boxers would always use the best gloves, since they’re much more likely than experienced boxers to go hard on the heavy bag with defective technique. Of course, in reality, most beginners aren’t going to splash out on a brand new pair of Winning. But it doesn’t follow that they should start out with junk gloves. The idea that beginners, simply in virtue of being beginners, should start out with such gloves, is what I call the beginner gear fallacy.

Another important consideration is price. I am strongly of the view that most training gloves in the Australian market are overpriced. Put simply, they’re rip-offs. This is obvious for the generic junk gloves, some of which retail for upwards of one hundred dollars! But the point holds for many of the better gloves as well. A brand new pair of good quality gloves from an Australian retail outlet will often cost significantly more than the exact same pair of gloves in the US. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to any Australians. We’re already all-to-familiar with this phenomenon from our years of being ripped-off with consumer electronics. We even have a name for it: the Australia tax.

My aim here, therefore, is to provide boxers with guidance on buying good quality and reasonably priced training gloves in Australia. The first part gives a critical overview of the main Australian brands. The second part does the same for the main Australian retailers and online shopping platforms. I then set out what I take to be the best approach to buying gloves Down Under.

1. Australian brands

2. Australian vendors & platforms

Brand new

Pre-owned

3. Best approach to buying


Australian brands

The Australian brands generally market low quality generic gloves made in Pakistan (or, less commonly, China). My use of the noun “brand” and the verb “market” in describing these companies and what they do is entirely apt. They’re predominantly just brands marketing generic gloves with logos printed on them, though a minority seem to be involved in designing gloves as well (rather than just using whatever generic Pakistani/Chinese moulds happen to available at the time). As far as I’m able to determine, only one of them – VIP Sports – actually produces gloves in Australia. The other brands may be Australian, but their gloves are not Australian products.

If, like many well-meaning Australians, you intend on buying an Australian brand because of romantic nostalgia for the Australia manufacturing sector, your choice is ultimately between idiocy and self-delusion. Buy gloves made in Australia and then you’re an idiot (because VIP is crap). Buy another Australian brand and then you’re not supporting the Australian manufacturing sector; rather, you’re supporting the Australian marketing and retail sectors and in certain cases the product design sector as well. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course; I’m not intending to downplay those sectors. They employ people and pay taxes. But don’t delude yourself about what you’re doing when you hand over your cash.

In general, the problem with Australia brands is that they simply don’t offer good quality gloves for serious boxers at reasonable prices. You can almost always find pre-owned gloves from Fairtex, Rival, TopBoxer, Twins, and other good quality brands on Gumtree and eBay at lower prices. You can buy them brand new on eBay and elsewhere for prices similar to those charged by the Australian brands for their best gloves. And you can often buy top quality Cleto Reyes at those higher price points as well, even pre-owned Winnings.

Jim Bradley Speedball Co.

Jim Bradley is well-known in the Australian boxing community for its range of speedballs, heavy bags, double-end bags, and bag stands, all of which it manufactures itself at its factory in Melbourne. Jim Bradley makes some excellent quality, albeit rather expensive, boxing equipment. I currently own a Jim Bradley tri-functional bag stand (for a heavy bag, double-end bag, and speedball), and I really do like it a lot. It’s strong, solid, and durable. I’ve also owned a Jim Bradley heavy bag and a Jim Bradley speedball before. They were excellent pieces of equipment. Jim Bradley is the only extant manufacturer of high quality boxing equipment in Australia.

But Jim Bradley doesn’t make its own gloves, and you can tell. The basic synthetic gloves are obviously just overpriced junk from Pakistan. The pricier leather gloves also look like generic models to me, but they were allegedly designed by “a boxer for Australian boxing conditions”. The boxer-cum-designer is apparently Bobby McLeod, a former Australian pro with an undistinguished record both inside and outside the ring, and no known skills in product design. Jim Bradley doesn’t explain what “Australian boxing conditions” are or why anyone needs gloves specially designed by Bobby McLeod to train under them.

The marketing bunkum Jim Bradley uses to describe its gloves is revealing. Jim Bradley typically describes the products it makes itself in confident, matter-of-fact language. This, I think, is a reflection of Jim Bradley’s justified confidence in its own craftsmanship. But deep down Jim Bradley knows, or at least suspects, that it cannot have such confidence in the gloves it imports on the cheap from Asia, so it describes them using the same pseudo-technical language as all the other Australia brands. It’s all to no avail, of course.

Jim Bradley Men’s/Ladies’ Gloves (A$79)

Generic junk gloves with “double wrist strap for added wrist protection and stability”, “extremely strong PU textured skin”, and “superbly handcrafted, ventilated mesh passages” – all of which you can get for a fraction of the price on eBay and Gumtree and none of which should trick you into parting with eighty bucks.

Jim Bradley Leather Gloves (A$99.00)

Jim Bradley says these are “top of the range” gloves and “designed by a boxer for Australian boxing conditions”. The first claim is unjustified and false. The second claim may well be true, but I don’t know why anyone would care about it. I suppose you’d like to know that the gloves come with an “SAS (shock absorption system) for increased strike energy management”, “atmosphere airflow designed for comfort”, “Sportline 3D inner lining with contoured design”, and an “embedded oversized Velcro wrist strap”. Well, now that you know it all, go spend your one hundred bucks on something else.

Jim Bradley Leather – Signature Edition (A$155)

They are identical to the leather model discussed above, only they have the name and signature of the utterly obscure Australian boxer Bobby Mclean printed on them. That makes the gloves worth fifty-five dollars more. Yes, it really does.

Killa

This is a relatively young Australian brand, having produced its first glove in only 2012. It’s also highly ambitious. Killa claims that its gloves “are of the same high quality as your Winning and Grant” but “at a more affordable cost for fighters who are looking to develop their careers in the sport.” Killa’s intention is to “surpass Winning and Grant as the world’s most used boxing gloves in the next five years.” The company has already expanded into the US glove market, though I’ve got no idea how well it’s doing there.

Killa’s hyperbole should be taken with a grain of salt, as its gloves are made in Pakistan. But whatever you think about that, the founders of Killa really do seem to have put in the time, effort, and money necessary to develop some genuinely good quality gloves for serious boxing training. And indeed Killa gloves have been used by several genuinely high-level professional boxers during training and/or competition, including the former world champions Austin Trout and Billy Dib, and the rising prospect Tim Tszyu (yep, good ol’ Kostya’s son). This sets Killa apart, I think, from every other Australian brand.

Killa 2Sharp (A$79.95-129.95)

These perform well given the price, but their durability is questionable. I’ve got a 12oz pair (AU$79.95) and they’re ok for bagwork and padwork. The lining in one of them came apart pretty quickly (after a few months), exposing the padding underneath. The price goes up with oz weight (like the price of Winning do). I wouldn’t spend a hundred and thirty bucks on the 14 or 16oz ones.

Killa Elite (A$199)

| eBay |

They’re good quality gloves with triple-layer padding comprising polyurethane, foam rubber, and quilted foam. The 8 and 10oz ones are “approved for use by all professional and state sanctioning bodies.” You can get bigger sizes with velcro straps for training, if you like. But they’re fairly expensive for stock gloves made in Pakistan. If you can get them on sale and you like the look of them, go for it.

Killa Prestige (A$249)

Another good quality model for serious boxing training. But like the Elites, this model is very expensive for stock gloves made in Pakistan. And it’s unclear why they cost fifty dollars more. There’s more padding in them, I think, so maybe it’s that. But you can buy brand new stock TopBoxer gloves with Winning-style padding for substantially less than these cost. Custom TopBoxers are likely to cost you less also, depending on the options you select, and they will be made to satisfy your personal aesthetic and functional requirements. You can buy brand new Cleto Reyes on eBay, and even pre-owned Winnings on Gumtree, at this high price point. If you can get Killa Prestige at a more reasonable price on sale, they’re definitely worthy of your consideration.

Madison

This brand is truly the Australian leader in overpriced junk gloves. Madison offers a large selection of gloves at price points ranging from A$50 all the way up to A$170, but the price-to-quality ratio at every point is simply appalling.

The cheapest Madison gloves provide little or no protection and fall apart very quickly. I can say without exaggeration that it’s dangerous to use them for any kind of serious boxing training. The padding is too hard for sparring and they’re too flimsy and unsupportive for work on the heavy bag and pads. You wouldn’t even want to buy them for boxfit. They’re not “economy” or “budget” gloves; they’re rubbish. They’re made only to be thrown away.

Madison’s many mid-range gloves are better quality, which is not saying much. Most would be fine for boxfit, if you can get them on sale. The only gloves Madison seems to intend for serious boxing training fall within the A$100-$170 range. But even these dearer ones are just generic Pakistani models. You can buy similar models, perhaps even the exact same ones with different brand names on them, brand new on Gumtree and eBay for a fraction of what Madison charges.

Madison Fighting Fit Training Glove (A$49.95)

| Amazon |

These deformities have a strong claim to being the worst gloves you can buy in Australia. They boast a thin layer of concrete padding and a service life of about ten seconds (or a month if you’re lucky). The retail price is unjustifiable. There’s not really any price at which these gloves are not a rip-off. I hate them.

Madison Platinum (A$99.95)

| Amazon |

These are way better than the previous model, but they’re still crap. Not only are they obviously generic Pakistani gloves, they’ll set you back a whopping one hundred bucks. For less than that you can get a pre-owned pair of Fairtex, Twins, or Rival on Gumtree or eBay. You could also just save up a bit more and buy a brand new pair.

Madison Pro Sparring Gloves (A$170)

Madison’s idea of a practical joke. I’d rather cut off my own head than lay out A$170 for these gloves.

Mani

There’s not much to say about Mani after having just reviewed Madison. Both trade in generic junk models with little or nothing to set them apart other than the designs on them. But Mani is the better of the two brands, even if it’s for no other reason than that the best Mani gloves cost much less than the best Madison gloves. They’re still rip-offs, though.

Mani’s pseudo-technical language rivals Jim Bradley’s, and really does constitute an original and worthy contribution to the comedic strain within the literature of marketing bunkum.

Mani Synthetic Gloves (A$39.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

Generic junk gloves targeted at boxfitters. They have “3GCOOL2” and “cX3”. Of course, the benefits of those technologies are so well known Mani doesn’t need to explain them.

Mani TuffX (A$54.99)

| eBay |

For fifteen dollars more than the basic model, you not only get “3GCOOL2” and “cX3”, but “WS System” and “MCH Injection”. At least you don’t get elastic wrist straps.

Mani Pro-Sparring (A$99.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

The same mould as the TuffX model, this time covered in leather. And it costs forty-five dollars more. This is your cue to open up Gumtree and eBay.

Mani Delux (A$104.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

Oh, you’re still reading? You must be wondering about the amazing technical features of these even more expensive gloves. Well, you won’t be disappointed: these gloves have been “specifically designed” with “room for wrapped hands.” Gosh. What will they think of next?

Mani Gel Boxing Gloves (A$119.95)

| Amazon | eBay |

You must be a veritable tech-head. Well, hold onto your hat! These babies combine the fabled “WS System” with cutting-edge “X-3 Gel for extra absorption.” There are also two massive seams running down the striking surface of these generic Pakistani gel gloves, which must do wonders for their durability.

Morgan

Yet another purveyor of generic junk gloves from Pakistan. Like Mani, Morgan is better than Madison simply because the best Morgan gloves cost much less than the best Madison gloves. I personally prefer the aesthetics of Morgan to that of Madison and Mani, but not even the human weakness for style over substance can assuage the feeling of being ripped-off by this brand.

The cheapest Morgan gloves are obviously too expensive at A$50, but they’re better quality than Madison’s Fighting Fit Training gloves. The padding isn’t as bad, and they’re not made with that flimsy mesh stuff so common these days on junk gloves. They would be ok for boxfit if you can get them at a big discount.

Although the quality of Morgan gloves does improve as the prices go up, the price-to-quality ratio remains bad and the marketing bunkum gets entirely out of hand. The best Morgan gloves may well be intended for serious boxing training, but they’re obviously just overpriced generic gloves from Pakistan/China. Morgan insists its best gloves are “the safest training boxing gloves in the industry” and “the finest boxing gloves in the market”. This means the company is either lying to itself or lying to you. Take a guess which it is.

I find all of this unfortunate because some of Morgan’s other equipment is solid. I personally own two Morgan heavy bags and they do the job well enough. But serious boxers should avoid this brand’s gloves.

Morgan V2 Classic (A$49.95)

| eBay |

They’re better quality and value than Madison Fighting Fit Training Gloves! Sigh.

Morgan Endurance Pro V2 (A$69.95)

| Amazon | eBay |

Supertight. I have small hands and I can barely get into my 12oz pair. But these gloves are more like a weird magic trick than boxing gloves anyway. You pay seventy dollars for them and then – hey presto! – they fall apart before your very eyes. I’ve witnessed it myself and it’s really quite amazing.

Morgan Sparta (A$79.95)

| eBay |

They’re “ergonomically designed to perfectly fit your hand”, which seems sensisble. And since these use Morgan’s “innovative Ergonomic True-Fist Construction”, they “may be the snuggest, most secure fitting sparring and heavy bag glove on the market today.” Perhaps. But they may also be generic junk gloves you can buy brand new on eBay for a lot less, or find second hand on Gumtree for almost nothing.  

Morgan B2 Bomber (A$119.95)

| eBay |

These are the best training gloves in the world, according to Morgan: better than Cleto Reyes, better than Grant, and better than Winning. If you believe that, you deserve to throw away one hundred and twenty dollars on them.

Punch Equipment

The people behind this brand are masters of the art of marketing boxing gloves. None of the other brands, except for Sting, comes close to Punch in this regard. Punch’s range includes several “cool” looking gloves. You often see guys sporting them in boxing gyms. Many people in the Australian boxing scene seem fully convinced that Punch is a very high quality brand indeed.

The reputation of Punch, however strikes me as an instance of a more general phenomenon (common in politics) where lots of people come to believe that something is true simply because they’ve been told over and over again that it is true. Punch feeds its own mythology by plastering “AAA Grade” all over its more expensive gloves and other gear. It even produces online “reviews” of its own gloves in which a guy tells you what you’re meant to use them for (boxfit or serious boxing training) and why they’re the best gloves for that purpose.

Punch gloves are made in Pakistan. The company claims to have a team of “full-time designers and commercial product development managers” lurking about somewhere in sunny Queensland. But it’s hard to believe Punch’s low-end models are anything other than generic Pakistani junk gloves. Even Punch’s more expensive gloves seem like generic models to me, or at best minor modifications of such models. I’ve owned quite a few pairs of Punch, and although they’re certainly not the worst gloves you can buy, there’s nothing particularly great about them either.

Punch Urban (A$69.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

A massively overpriced generic Pakistani model. Not suitable for serious boxing training. Aesthetically they’re not too bad; they remind me a bit of the synthetic Everlast Powerlocks. But you shouldn’t buy Powerlocks and you shouldn’t buy these gloves either.

Punch Trophy Getters (A$109.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

The brand’s “flagship boxing gloves for the past 20+ years.” These are the ones every second or third guy has at your gym. I’ve owned several pairs of Trophy Getters and they’re ok if you’re in a hurry and you can get a pre-owned pair in near new condition on Gumtree for around forty or fifty bucks. I’d never pay the retail price for them, however. They’re padded with a simple injection mould like gazillions of other gloves. And their durability is dubious. Although the striking surface is (mediocre) leather, the palms and cuffs are made of “Punchtex”, a synthetic material which Punch absurdly claims to be “the most durable material ever used.” I’ve witnessed this super-material crack and peel within only two months on a brand new pair of Trophy Getters.

Punch Fuerte Elite (A$189.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

A sad attempt to jump on the Mexican-style band wagon. The gloves were allegedly “Disenado en Mexico”, but they’re certainly not made there. It’s not improbable that they fall off a conveyor belt in the same Pakistani factory as Title’s widely despised Pro Mex gloves. I initially thought they were one and the same model. Other than one line of stitching on the palm, they appear to be structurally identical. But Pro Mex gloves at least have layered padding, as Title is eager to point out. The padding in Fuerte Elite is just another injection mould. This makes the price of nearly two hundred bucks beyond all reason. Fuerte Elite are targeted at newbie yuppies who’ve heard something positive about Mexican gloves and Mexican boxers like Canelo, but otherwise know nothing about the sport. If you want Mexican gloves, then buy Mexican gloves: Boxeo, Campeon, Casanova, Cleto Reyes, GIL, Hernandez… just don’t buy Punch.

Rock Boxing

This is the house brand of Rebel Sport, a big (the biggest?) Australian retailer of sporting equipment. Rock is one of the cheapest junk brands anywhere in our wide brown land. My first pair of gloves were Rock and I must confess I have secretly harboured something of a soft-spot for the brand ever since. I punched away madly at a heavy bag for months in my Rock gloves, never wrapping my hands or thinking about technique for a moment. Yet I emerged from this episode of newbie delirium with only mild soreness in my right wrist.

Given the low prices Rebel usually charges for Rock gloves (A$20-$30, even less on sale), they’re by no means the worst gloves out there. They’re cheaper and better than the appalling Madison Fighting Fit gloves, for example. Rock padding is also superior, insofar as it’s not a thin layer of concrete. You can easily get away with using a pair of Rock gloves for boxfit. But the padding doesn’t last, the mesh is flimsy, the stitching is dodgy, and the gloves come apart sooner rather than later. They’re not suitable for any kind of serious boxing training.

Rock Boxing Gloves (A$19.95)

Rebel says these gloves have “performance enhancing fit with superior impact protection”, “superior synthetic leather outer”, and “full wrist wrap with torsion bolsters”. Although that’s all marketing bunkum, the truth is that Rock gloves are just as good as several other generic Pakistani gloves retailing at much higher prices. Of course, despite the ridiculous soft-spot I have for them, you should cast these gloves out of your mind and do everything you can to avoid buying them.

SMAI

SMAI is a pretty well-known fitness brand in Australia. It does big gym fitouts and that kind of thing. You may well have seen SMAI equipment in your local suburban gym. And if you have ever used SMAI equipment it a gym, I’m sure it was perfectly adequate to the task.

I wouldn’t bother with SMAI boxing gloves, though. The company just imports generic Pakistani gloves like almost all the other Australia brands. Contrary to what SMAI would have you believe, they’re most certainly not “top tier boxing gloves.” SMAI’s best model isn’t too bad and might serve you well enough, but it’s too expensive for what you get.

SMAI Essentials (A$69)

| eBay |

Massive rip-offs. Despite the very high price of these gloves relative to other low-end gloves, SMAI reckons it developed this model “to offer a cost-effective boxing glove option.” It also reckons this model is “the best boxing glove when looking for an all-rounder option for sparring, training, and competition.” This is on a par with Morgan’s stupid lie about its B2 Bomber gloves.

SMAI Elite85 (A$99)

| eBay |

SMAI’s version of the obligatory one hundred dollar generic Pakistani gloves. They have “signature matte leather and crimson detailing.” You can buy brand new gloves like this for half the price on eBay. Or, for a similar price, better pre-owned gloves on Gumtree.

Mexican Hybrid V3 (A$129)

| eBay |

Another product of the modern craze for everything Mexican-style in boxing. They’d be ok to use for a little while, I think, but they’re not Mexican and you’d have to be ignorant or crazy to pay the asking price. If you really want generic Pakistani Mexican-style gloves like these, you can get them on eBay for less than one hundred and twenty-nine dollars. You could also save up a little bit more and buy brand new Mexican-style gloves from good quality brands like Fairtex and TopBoxer. Or try keeping an eye out for pre-owned genuine Mexican gloves like Cleto Reyes on Gumtree.

Sting

Sting is the most successful Australian brand. It’s grown from just another small-time Australia marketer of overpriced generic junk gloves into a semi-global operation with a presence in the US and UK glove markets and a couple of major sponsorship deals with the International Boxing Association (AIBA) under its belt.

That’s all great for its owners, but Everlast is also a global operation, and a much bigger one at that, yet most of its gloves are landfillers. So what should we make of Sting?

The guys at Sting are supreme masters of marketing generic Pakistani models with “cool”, even sophisticated, designs on them. Not even Punch rivals Sting in that regard. But unlike Punch and most other Australian brands, Sting has done the work required to produce some decent gloves.

Sting Armalite (A$49.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

Overpriced generic junk glove for boxfitters. Better quality and value than Madison Fighting Fit, though.

Sting Armaplus (A$79.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

These are the second pair of gloves I ever owned and they’re just another generic Pakistani junk glove. Although they’re aesthetically superior to the Armalites, I’ve never understood why they’re so much more expensive. Not bad for boxfitters if you can get them at a heavy discount.

Sting Titan (A$99.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

Sting gave this leather model the groundbreaking technologies of “high performance T3”, “Hi Flow Core system”, and “Sportline 3D”, which as everyone knows have revolutionised the boxing glove industry. This is not Kansas anymore, Toto.

Sting Orion (A$129.99)

| Amazon | eBay |

Another leather model with the “Hi Flow Core” and “Sportline 3D” technologies, but for some reason it lacks “high performance T3”. I have no idea why these glove cost thirty bucks more than the Titans, and I doubt Sting does either. The cuff on one of my Orions literally detached from the hand compartment in about three months.

Sting Viper (A$249.99)

A good pair of dedicated sparring gloves. They require a bit of breaking-in before you go hard at it, however. They’re also way, way, way too expensive for stock sparring gloves made in Pakistan. Topboxer is a Pakistani outfit and you can buy its stock gloves on eBay for much less than the Vipers. TopBoxer will even make a custom pair of Winning-style sparring gloves for less than the Vipers, depending on the options you select. I’d personally go for TopBoxer over Sting any day: not only would I (probably) save money, I’d also receive good quality gloves from tried-and-trusted Pakistani craftsman. Even setting TopBoxer aside, there’s Cleto Reyes and (pre-owned) Winning to consider as well.

Sting Predator (A$249.99)

| eBay |

A good all-round training glove, certainly one of the best from any Australian brand. The padding is five foam layers infused with a “Neo-Gel layer”. The gel is a stupid gimmick, of course, but the move up to multi-layered padding is commendable. The inner lining is very nice. The performance and quality of the Predators is adequate for serious boxing training. They’re better than the Vipers because they’re more versatile. Like the Vipers, though, they’re way, way, way too expensive for stock gloves made in Pakistan. You should only buy them pre-owned or brand new at a discount, in my opinion. Otherwise you’re risking two hundred and fifty bucks on relatively untried-and-untested Pakistani gloves. At around that price point, you can buy a brand new pair of Cleto Reyes, custom TopBoxers made to satisfy your aesthetic and functional requirements, or even pre-owned Winnings.

VIP Sports

This brand is one of several owned by the Australian company GPI Sports & Fitness. All VIP gloves have “Made in Australia” printed on the them and, indeed, it’s the you-beaut truth that GPI manufactures its small range of boxing gloves in Australia. They’re fine for boxfitters, and even better for serious boxers who also happen to be insane martyrs for the Australian manufacturing sector.

VIP Classic (A$30)

| eBay |

These gloves are the really cheap synthetic things you see in the sports department at Big W. You could get away with using them for boxfit as long as you control your punches.

VIP Challenger (A$45)

| eBay |

Big rip-offs because they’re practically identical to the Classics, only they have “Challenger” printed on them.

VIP Professional (A$99)

They’re leather. Wow. An economist might point to the existence of these gloves as ample justification for the relative collapse of Australian manufacturing.

Xpeed

Our variety show of Australian brands is sadly coming to an end, ladies and gentlemen. But for our last exhibit, I’ve got something something completely different for you: three overpriced generic gloves from Pakistan!

The marketer of the last three gloves on our list, Xpeed, describes itself as a “premium Australian fitness brand.” Although it’s predominantly just an importer, Xpeed does have the capacity to “manufacture, modify, and provide maintenance services for a variety of equipment”; and for all I know, its general fitness equipment (bars, weights, racks, and so on) might be good quality stuff at reasonable prices.

I can’t take Xpeed seriously, however, as a boxing brand. The brand has, and I think still does, sponsor several young fighters in boxing, kickboxing, and MMA. You can find a few photos on the internet of people fighting in Xpeed gloves. But we all know sponsorship doesn’t count for much. Top brands like Cleto Reyes and Winning are used by pros around the world, but those companies don’t pay anyone to fight in their gear.

Xpeed Contender (A$50)

The same price but better quality than Madison’s Fighting Fit gloves. They’d do for boxfit. They come with a crappy elasticised wrist strap, which is common on bad gloves, and pretty much guarantees they’re going to fall apart sooner rather later. Xpeed informs us that “whatever goal you are trying to reach the Contender range is designed to take you there.” And this is indeed true, provided your goal as a serious boxer is to reach a rubbish bin.

Xpeed Professional (A$100)

Rip-offs. This leather model seems to have exactly the same mould in it as the much cheaper synthetic Contender model. At least the wrist strap is bigger and inelastic. There’s a huge section of crappy mesh on the strap, though, which weakens it considerably. You can buy brand new generic gloves like these for half the price on eBay. Or for a similar price get pre-owned Fairtex, Rival, or Twins on Gumtree.

Xpeed Fighter (A$125)

Another leather model, this time with “a composite of 4 foam layers and an additional Gel infused layer of padding above the knuckle.” The four layers of foam are definitely an improvement over the padding inside the Contender and Professional models. The gel layer, however, is just a stupid gimmick taken seriously by no one. If for some reason (which I could never appreciate) you actually want a pair of generic Pakistani gel gloves like these, eBay has lots of them and they don’t cost anywhere near one hundred and twenty-five bucks.


Australian vendors & platforms

There are not many places to buy boxing gloves in Australia. All of the Australian brands sell their own gloves on their websites, except for Morgan and VIP, which are wholesalers only. You need look further afield if you want to buy something else or at least check out what else is available (which by now you probably do). Your options comprise Amazon Australia, eBay Australia, Rebel Sport, and a handful of specialist combat gear stores. Amazon and especially eBay provide glimpses into the US market, a mystical dreamland of big choice and small prices, where Cleto Reyes grow on trees, ordinary working men can afford Grants, and the state issues every male with a free pair of Winnings on his eighteenth birthday. Or so it sometimes seems to us down here at the arse end of the world.

The relatively high prices of good quality training gloves in Australia is a first world problem, of course. We are among the richest people in the whole history of the human species. Most working men could actually afford to buy a brand new pair of Grants if they really, really, really wanted to do so. At worst they’d have to endure a few days or weeks of infelicity on the home front; at best, they’d have to deal with nothing more than raised eyebrows, sighs, and withering shakes of the head. There’d still be roofs over their heads and food on their tables. But a first world problem is still a problem, and no one likes either the vague feeling or the definite realisation of being ripped-off. The fact of the matter is that good quality training gloves are expensive in Australia.

The key factor is the exchange rate. If the value of the Australian dollar is high, then it’s cheaper to import stuff and the retail prices of imported stuff should be lower (other things being equal). Our experience has been mixed, though. The value of the Australian dollar was very high over the decade 2004-2014, yet many retail prices didn’t drop – or not by as much as we’d all hoped. Thus we turned en masse to Amazon and eBay and simply imported the desired stuff ourselves, while the traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers came to be regarded as nothing more than unscrupulous farmers of the despised Australia tax. In recent years, the dollar has been quite weak, and Australia’s 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been extended to small overseas purchases. Even so, you should always check the prices offered by overseas sellers, regardless of whether you intend to buy brand new or pre-owned gloves.

Brand new

Amazon Australia

Most Australians would probably agree that Amazon Australia has been a disappointment. Neither the range nor the prices are what we were anticipating. Boxing gear is no exception. But Amazon Australia is gradually improving and it’s always worth checking out if you’re in the market for a pair of brand new gloves.

Amazon Australia is an excellent source of generic Pakistani gloves at reasonable prices. So it’s great for boxfitters. You can also find top quality Cleto Reyes for AU$245-280 inclusive of international postage, which is somewhat cheaper than other online Australian retailers. Amazon Australia’s range of other good quality brands is quite limited, however. (You can’t buy Grant, Fly, or Winning on Amazon Australia, for example.)

There are two important things to keep mind when shopping for gloves on Amazon. One is that you should not block global search results. The best prices for most gloves, whether generic junk or topshelf, almost always come from the Amazon Global Store. Obviously you’ll need to factor into account the cost of international postage when comparing prices from the Amazon Global Store with those of Australian retailers.

Another thing is that you must beware of dropship scammers. These guys list items they don’t even have in stock at very high prices, order them from real suppliers at lower prices after you make your order, and then pocket the difference. There are vendors on Amazon offering, for example, Cleto Reyes for upwards of A$400! The worst dropship scammer for boxing gloves is BuyGlobal. Do not buy anything from BuyGlobal, ever.

Boxing Gloves Online

This store stocks some top quality gloves, but it’s expensive. It sells Cleto Reyes for A$300-310 exclusive of shipping cost, which adds on another A$20. It also has Everlast MX Training Gloves for a whopping A$375, to which you may again add twenty bucks for postage. I’d never pay four hundred bucks for a pair of Everlast MX.

In addition, there are lots of massively overpriced generic gloves available here, like ACE, Adidas, Bad Boy, low-end Everlast, Leone, Punch, Onward, Sting, Title, and Xpeed. You probably shouldn’t buy any of those gloves unless you’re broke and they’re heavily discounted.

Boxing Warehouse

This store appears to be a retail front for Punch. I’m not sure, though; that’s just what it looks like. It stocks the entire range of Punch gloves and charges a flat rate of A$9.90 for postage. The only other gloves it stocks are Adidas AIBA competition gloves, which are not recommended for training. I don’t think Punch’s retail prices are reasonable, so I wouldn’t recommend buying gloves from this store unless it’s holding at least a 50% off discount sale and, for some weird reason, you really want a brand new pair of Punch Trophy Getters.

eBay Australia

This is always my first stop when I’m looking for a brand new pair of good quality gloves. The reason is twofold: eBay Australia opens up access to many international vendors offering better value than Australian retailers, and you can sometimes find even cheaper pre-owned gloves in as new condition.

You seem to be able to buy almost every brand of glove on eBay. It has pretty much every generic Pakistani glove under the sun. It has most of the good brands as well. There are always brand new Grant, Cleto Reyes, Fairtex, Rival, stock TopBoxer, custom TopBoxer, Twins, and Winning for sale on eBay. Sometimes you can find high-end Everlast gloves and Mexican brands like Casanova. Fly, however, doesn’t seem to be sold brand new on eBay.

One important thing to keep in mind while shopping on eBay is that the prices displayed for gloves from international sellers are generally exclusive of Australia’s 10% GST. But even once the GST and shipping costs are factored in, it’s still very possible you’ll save money. So, as with Amazon, you must ensure you don’t block global (“worldwide”) search results on eBay.

Scammers are prevalent on eBay. You must beware of dropshippers. Even worse, though, are the gazillions of fake gloves, especially fake Cleto Reyes, Grant, and Winning. eBay seems to have a bigger problem with fakes than Amazon. If you are unsure about the authenticity of what you’re looking at, do not buy it until you seek independent third-party advice. In my personal experience, one of the best sources of advice (other than verbally asking someone knowledgeable about gloves) is the gear forum on Sherdog.

The Fight Factory

This store has a very big range and some good quality gloves, but nothing, I think, that you can’t find brand new for less on eBay. There are Cleto Reyes for AU$295 and velcro versions of Venum’s high-end, but relatively untried-and-untested, Hammer Pro, Shield Pro, and Giant 2.0 gloves for A$250. Add A$10 to those prices for shipping.

There are also good quality Fairtex and Twins, though you’d want to check eBay before buying either of those brands from this store. And then there are many rip-off gimmicky gloves from Fighting Sports and Title, and the usual overpriced generic Pakistani junk gloves like ACE, Adidas, Morgan, SMAI, and gaudy low-end Venums, all of which I’d avoid.

Fight Life

It’s got small range of overpriced Pakistani junk gloves from Adidas, Morgan, and Sting, as well as the utterly appalling Last Round. You should not buy gloves from here. Avoid.

MMA Fight Store

This is the Australian retailer with the widest selection of top quality training gloves. It has Cleto Reyes and Everlast MX and it’s the only Australian retailer of Winning (though often it doesn’t have them in stock). It also has other pretty good quality brands like Fairtex, Hayabusa, and Twins.

MMA Fight Store is a slick operation, with a cool online store and a couple of equally cool bricks-and-mortar stores that make you think you’ve died and gone to heaven. But it’s gloves and other gear can be really, really, really expensive, especially gloves from the top brands.

This is best illustrated by considering the top of the top: Winning. MMA Fight Store sells 16oz lace up Winnings for A$600 and 12oz lace up Winnings for A$559, with free postage. But Rakuten Global Market has the very same gloves for around A$450 and A$350, respectively. You can expect to add another A$50 for shipping, but for that your package will be delivered to your door by Japan’s famously fast and reliable Express Mail Service (EMS). And you’ll have saved a hundred bucks, maybe even more.

Rebel Sport

This ubiquitous retailer only stocks overpriced Pakistani junk gloves from Everlast, its house brand Rock, and Sting. It’s good for boxfitters when it has one of its big discount sales. That’s all it’s good for, though.

Ringsport

This is the only Australian retailer of Rival gloves. Its selection of Rival gloves is excellent, ranging all the way from Rival’s low-end boxfit gloves to Rival’s high-end bag and sparring gloves. Ringsport doesn’t stock the Guerrero models, however. I’ve previously purchased a great pair of Rival bag gloves from Ringsport. The cost is roughly on a par with, or even better than, buying brand new Rivals from overseas. So if you want a brand new pair of Rivals, you may as well buy from Ringsport.

Pre-owned

eBay Australia

I’ve already discussed eBay as a source of brand new gloves. But eBay is also an excellent source of pre-owned gloves at reasonable prices. You can get pre-owned gloves on eBay by paying the price set by a seller, just as you do on Gumtree. You can also, of course, get pre-owned gloves on eBay by bidding in auctions. In my own experience, auctions provide the best opportunities to get a great bargain, as long as you set yourself a limit and don’t get carried away. Last year I won an auction for a pair of 16oz lace up Cleto Reyes in as new condition. I’d decided beforehand that my limit was A$150 exclusive of shipping. The total cost, including shipping, ended up being only A$125! If you intend to buy pre-owned gloves on eBay, you should keep in mind the risks I point out below in my discussion of Gumtree. I think, however, that eBay provides more protections for consumers buying pre-owned items than Gumtree does.

Gumtree Australia

This online classifieds platform is the best source in Australia of pre-owned good quality gloves at reasonable prices. You can almost always find pre-owned Fairtex, Hayabusa, Rival, and Twins in great (sometimes new or near-new) condition for well below their retail prices. You can sometimes find pre-owned Cleto Reyes and Winning in great condition for well below their retail prices as well, though naturally they don’t come up as often as other brands do. I’ve personally purchased pre-owned lace up 12oz Winnings in great condition on Gumtree for only A$240, inclusive of postage.

If you’re to find a good bargain on Gumtree, though, you need to go about it the right way. First of all, you must run searches within the boxing category for the whole of Australia, not only your neighbourhood, and you must do so regularly throughout the day. Do not use keywords and do not apply any geographical restrictions. This will prevent people’s weird and garbled descriptions from hiding things you might like and give you the widest possible range of items. Although you’ll have to scroll through lots of rubbish, at least you won’t miss anything in Gumtree’s boxing category, no matter where it is located.

If someone’s selling a pair of gloves at what you take to be a high price, don’t simply dismiss the ad and move on. You’ll probably find that the gloves have already been sitting on Gumtree for weeks or even months. (Gumtree tells you how long ago ads were posted.) You can use information like that to your advantage. You might do any or all of the following: remind the seller that the gloves haven’t sold for X weeks/months; point out that the price is really close to the retail price using a hyperlink to an online retail outlet; compare the price of the seller’s gloves with similar pre-owned gloves on Gumtree; let the seller know that at that price you’re not really interested because you already have lots of gloves, but you might be interested if the price were lower. Or you can just make an offer and see what happens.

There are risks. If you require the seller to post an item to you, you’ll have to pay in full for both the item and the cost of postage before the item is sent. This is typically done by means of PayPal or direct deposit into the seller’s account. Either way, if the seller disappears, you may never receive your item or get your money back. That hasn’t ever happened to me, though, and I’ve purchased many gloves and other items on Gumtree.

Another risk is that fake high-end gloves occasionally appear on Gumtree. The most common are fake Grants, but you often see fake Cleto Reyes and Winnings also. Perhaps to help themselves sleep better at night, the scammers sometimes insert “AAA replicas” or some such nonsense in their ads. Don’t let these bizarre glimmers of honesty trick you. If in doubt, seek independent third-party advice. One of the best online sources of advice is the gear forum on Sherdog.


Best approach to buying

My aim is to provide boxers with guidance on buying good quality and reasonably priced training gloves in Australia. If you’re a boxfitter or you’re rich (or both) and you’re still reading, then you’ve wasted your time. That’s because, in either case, you don’t really need to devote a great deal of thought to the question.

If you’re a boxfitter, then almost any glove will do. Just make sure you control your technique and avoid heavy, hard punching. If you’re rich, then all you need to do is choose between a brand new pair of Cleto Reyes, Fly, Grant, Winning, or – if you’re really rich – Di Nardo. They’re the best brands in the world, hands down. They each have their idiosyncrasies, of course, but they’ve also been discussed and analysed to the nth degree, so you can read volumes about them in online discussion forums beforehand if you like. For what it’s worth, I recommend Winning over the other top brands. Winning gloves seem to have the least idiosyncrasies and they’re therefore the least likely to disappoint. Winning is pretty much the ideal training glove, in my opinion.

If you’re a serious boxer who’s not rich, however, then you do need to do a bit of thinking about the question of how to buy gloves. The keys to buying a good quality pair of gloves at a reasonable price are open-mindedness, systematicity, and patience.

Open-mindedness

First of all, you should be open-minded because that will yield the greatest range of buying opportunities. If you stipulate, for example, that you’re only interested in buying a pair of as-new Grants for A$100 or less, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to be disappointed. An obviously absurd constraint like that would rule out every buying opportunity in advance. But even seemingly plausible constraints can be problematic. If you stipulate that you’re only interested in buying a brand new pair of gloves, for example, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to pay significantly more than you would otherwise. The same goes for brands of glove. Minimising the imposition of such constraints (i.e. keeping an open mind) is essential for maximising your buying opportunities.

Systematicity

You should go about your glove buying systematically. You should “save” category-wide global searches on eBay and Gumtree and perform them several times every day. This way you won’t miss out on anything. You should “watch” all items of interest, even if they’re very expensive, because then you won’t forget about them and eBay and Gumtree will notify you if their prices go down. If you’re browsing several online stores and platforms, you may wish to make a simple spreadsheet with columns for the brand, model, price (inclusive of GST and shipping), and vendor of the gloves you’re interested in buying, as well as a column for any notes or comments you’d like to remember. This may seem obsessive, but when you’re interested in five or six different gloves, each one of which is being offered by five or six different vendors, it can be really helpful.

Patience

You should prepare yourself for 3-4 weeks of searching to find a satisfactory buying opportunity. Of course, if a really great bargain turns up straightaway, then it’s unlikely to last long, and you may as well go for it. But that’s not how things usually go. You need to wait. Not only will doing so increase your buying opportunities, it often puts you at an advantage when dealing with vendors of pre-owned gloves. Patience enables you to get a feeling for the current state of the market and play things cool. You can use your market knowledge to bargain vendors down. You can bargain with them and make them offers without seeming overly eager or desperate to actually buy the gloves. Patience is effective because many sellers are more eager to sell than you are to buy.

I am now in a position to set out my method in a series of steps:

  1. Determine the maximum amount of money (inclusive of GST and shipping) you’re willing to spend. This should be at least A$150. In the spirit of open-mindedness, prepare yourself to go slightly over it.
  2. Go to Gumtree Australia and perform an open search of the boxing category without any price or geographical restrictions. Save the search and run it three times every day.
  3. Go to eBay Australia and perform a search of the boxing gloves category. Restrict the search to pre-owned items, but ensure there are no price or geographical restrictions. Save the search and run it three times every day.
  4. Bargain.
  5. If Gumtree and eBay yield no satisfactory buying opportunities after 3-4 weeks, then either (a) increase the maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend or (b) buy brand new stock gloves from TopBoxer or (c) consider buying another brand of brand new gloves. At all times continue monitoring eBay and Gumtree because anything could appear and any time.

This is the best approach for serious boxers to buy good quality pairs of gloves at reasonable prices in Australia. The problem with it, of course, is that I can’t recommend it as a categorical imperative. It’s only the best approach if lots of people don’t actually follow it. But I’m optimistic there will always be enough newbies, yuppies, weekend warriors, rich dudes, etc, who are ready and willing to buy brand new good quality gloves, and then put them on the market when the hard truth about the sport of boxing finally hits home.

What’s your experience been like buying gloves in the Australian market? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted by ScepticalBoxer in Gear, Reviews, 4 comments
What are the worst boxing gear review sites?

What are the worst boxing gear review sites?

17 May 2019

The first question asked by most newcomers to the sport of boxing is probably this one:

What gloves should I buy?

More generally, newcomers need to determine what gear (gloves, hand wraps, mouth guard, head gear, groin protector, footwear, heavy bag, and so on) is best for them given their goals as boxers and their budget.

The question of gear, of course, also arises for everyone else who participates in the sport. Gloves and other kinds of gear deteriorate with use and eventually require replacement. It may not always be a good idea to just buy the same gear you had before.

For one thing, your old gear might have been inadequate for your goals or overly expensive given its quality and performance. Furthermore, new models and ranges of gear are released annually, typically accompanied by claims of “improvements” and “new features” and “innovations”. Such claims are for the most part marketing bunkum, but you still might be better served by replacing your old gear with something different, even if your old gear was adequate and well-priced.

And let’s not forget that variety, as the saying goes, is the spice of life. Trying a different brand or model of glove might reinvigorate your training and inspire you to get out of a rut. Or if your training is going along well enough, trying something different might drive you to work even harder and move up a level. Or it might do none of those things; but in that case you’ll at least have cool new gear to show off in the gym or in front of the mirror.

It’s only natural for newcomers and indeed anyone wanting to buy new gear to seek out other people’s advice and opinions. The most common source of advice is probably still viva voce, that is, good ol’ fashioned word of mouth. You can ask your coach or another boxer at your gym or your goldfish what they think you should buy. This might yield all the information you need to make a decision.

“What gloves should you buy? Winning, man… Buy Winning.”

Nowadays, though, many people seem to either go straight to Google or supplement their goldfish’s advice with Google. That is really the crucial moment in gear hunting, especially for newcomers. For it is then that the risk of falling into a foul mire of unjustified claims, misleading information, and outright lies is at its greatest. Milliseconds after you submit your search query about the best gloves or whatever it is you want to buy, Google will deliver up for your delectation buckets and buckets of excrement. Many an innocent newcomer is guaranteed to step directly into one or more of these buckets, never knowing what they’ve done until they turn up at the gym with Everlast Pro Styles and their coach promptly recommends or even demands that they buy a new pair of gloves.

So how do you avoid doing that?

A general method of evaluation

I’ve read through lots and lots of reviews on lots of lots of gear review sites. I will confess that I don’t enjoy doing it. It’s tedious and time-consuming and sometimes torturous. But this masochistic predilection or procrastination technique or whatever it is has enabled me to develop an efficient and reliable method of evaluation for identifying execrable gear review sites.

My method assumes, first, that the quality of a site’s glove reviews is representative of the quality of the site’s gear reviews in general. This seems like a reasonable assumption to me because gloves are the most important items of gear for boxers to own and many reviewers do tend to devote lots of their time and effort to reviewing them.

My method also depends on the presence of a ranking of what the review site judges to be the top 5 or 10 or however many “best gloves”. These rankings are sometimes simply entitled “the best gloves”, but more often they are entitled “the best gloves of 20XX” or something like that, where the appearance of up-to-dateness is frequently nothing but a pretext for recycling old content.

The vast majority of gear review sites have best glove rankings. In the unlikely event a gear review site has no such explicit ranking, you could still apply my method by reading through the site and manually compiling one on the basis of the site’s stand-alone reviews. Life, however, is rather short, so I would advise doing almost anything else than that with your time.

Application of my method involves evaluating a gear review site’s ranking of the best gloves against the following three criteria, which should be applied in order.

1. Everlast Pro Styles

Bad gloves are characterised by poor quality and poor performance. The paradigmatic bad glove is the Pro Style model put out by Everlast. This is something I take to be uncontroversial, at least among those who know anything about gloves.

The worst gloves in the world

The badness of bad gloves is often compounded by their price. That is certainly the case with Pro Styles. The quality-and-performance to price ratio of Pro Styles is utterly appalling. They are truly what Johnny over at ExpertBoxing calls “overpriced junk”.

If a gear review site has Pro Styles in its ranking of the best gloves, then you should with the utmost urgency close the site in your browser and cleanse your mind of anything you may have read there. So this first criterion is very useful because, unlike the other two criteria below, it’s binary and it’s decisive. Although there is technically no need to apply any additional criteria to a gear review site with Pro Styles in its ranking of the best gloves, you may wish to do so anyway if like me you feel weirdly compelled to go sifting around in the muck.

2. Marketing bunkum

Many gear review sites are online businesses facing the same pressures as other online businesses. It’s all about generating web traffic. Gear review sites need to produce new content on a regular basis in order to maintain the interest of existing users as well as to attract new users.

But it’s hard to produce truly original content about anything on a regular basis. This is especially so if the topic about which you’re writing is something as old, mundane, and widely-discussed as boxing equipment. It’s much easier to either directly copy what’s already out there or slightly paraphrase it.

The marketing bunkum of the gear companies is of course the most convenient source of ready-made content for gear review sites. Parroting this bunkum suggests two things: first, the reviewer has never actually used the gear, and second, the reviewer is more interested in convincing you to buy the gear than in genuinely reviewing it. A genuine review will exhibit the personality or voice of the reviewer. There should be little or none of the generic, dead language of the marketers.

3. Affiliate links

An affiliate link on a gear review site is a hyperlink which takes you to a retailer’s site where you can buy the gear under review and in doing so earn the gear review site a small referral commission. The most common affiliate links on gear review sites are Amazon ones.

The mere existence of affiliate links on a gear review site is not problematic. It’s more about the way in which they are used. A genuine review might contain a discreet affiliate link here or there, but the reviewer will mostly likely disclosure it and say something to reassure you about the impartiality of the review. And marketing bunkum will be conspicuously absent.

The use of affiliate links becomes problematic when they are plastered all over a gear review site. It becomes very seriously problematic when they are combined with marketing bunkum. The existence of this unholy alliance on a gear review site is pretty much conclusive evidence that the site’s highest priority is to make money by getting you to buy something from Amazon or another online retailer.

Worst gear review sites

My method, as I said, is efficient and reliable. The worst gear review sites tend to be immediately identified by application of the Everlast Pro Style criterion. And I personally have never had my method return a false positive. Every time I’ve used my method to evaluate a gear review site, it has has either correctly identified the site as execrable or left the matter open for further consideration. So let’s turn at last to the buckets of excrement themselves. I shall limit myself to identifying only five of the worst gear review sites, as it’s psychologically taxing work and five is about all I can handle at the moment.

Gearhungry: 15 Best Boxing Gloves in 2019

This is among the worst of the worst gear review sites. Gearhungry introduces its ranking of the best gloves by telling us that it has “discovered the top fifteen boxing gloves, coveted around the globe”. It then ranks Everlast Pro Styles as the best gloves at number 1, well ahead of obviously superior gloves from Fairtex (4), Cleto Reyes (5), Twins (7), and Winning (9). The implication that Pro Styles are coveted around the globe is unjustified and unjustifiable nonsense, but the claim that they are the number 1 gloves in the world goes beyond absurdity. Marketing bunkum and Amazon affiliate links are everywhere here. Gearhungry tells us that Everlast provides “a serious dynamic of value” and “is a boxing glove brand that can’t be ignored when it comes to quality”. Its praise of Pro Styles is worthy of Monty Python. They are commended for their “long-term lifespan”, “ThumbLok technology, which is designed to cut down on the variables of thumb damage and general breaks in your hands”, and the wrist padding “designed to improve your form and technique, giving you more control over your stance and power”. Gearhungry’s only redeeming quality is that it does make the occasional criticism; otherwise, it’s rubbish.

Ezvid: The 10 Best Boxing Gloves

A strong candidate for the worst of the worst gear review sites. You might think that the best way to review a pair of gloves would be to spend weeks subjecting them to the tribunal of experience in the gym. Well, you must be a fool according to Ezvid, which tells us it only “spent 24 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices”. The upshot is a ranking with Pro Styles at 10, just behind Cleto Reyes (9), and Pro Style Women’s mysteriously ahead of both (8). Absurdly, Hayabusa T3s come in at number 1, while Winning and most other top brands are not included in the ranking at all. The reviews are pure marketing bunkum, comprising uninformative, even meaningless attempts at description, with not a hint of criticism anywhere; but of course there are Amazon and eBay affiliate links all over the place.

FightingReport: Best Boxing Gloves Reviewed and Rated

Yet another good candidate for the worst of the worst of gear review sites. FightingReport’s ranking of the top 10 gloves has Everlast Pro Styles at number 5. Its review of them is pretty much devoid of genuine content, as are all the other reviews of gloves on the list. They are strange little compositions, written in a kind of dreamy, inoffensive, and empty variant of marketing bunkum. The best way I can think of to describe them is that it’s as if they were written for very young children or perhaps adults with learning disabilities. It’s all packaged up with Amazon affiliate links, of course. The affiliate links are not overly obtrusive, but there’s no doubt what the FightingReport has been primarily set up to do.

Best of Boxing Gloves: The Best Boxing Gloves

At first glance, this gear review site’s lack of design sophistication may lend it a vague hint of authenticity, like it could be the endearing side-project of an honest and well-meaning schoolkid somewhere in suburbia. But it’s purely an Amazon conduit. The site lists ten gloves on its homepage along with scores out of five which would determine a ranking if anyone could be bothered compiling it. Everlast Pro Styles (only the women’s version for some reason) are on the list. The site gives them the ludicrous score of 4.4 / 5. The site’s review tells us that Pro Styles are made with “the same standards and technology that can be found in the same high-quality vein of other Everlast models”, and declares that the Pro Style model “is a triumph in both functionality and aesthetic.” After that Pythonesque overview, it then presents a very long list of the model’s features which, I suspect (but am too lazy to confirm), has been directly copied-and-pasted from Everlast’s marketing material. In general, this site’s use of marketing bunkum together with affiliate links is an egregious affront to the human mind, the kind that makes you wonder whether there is any hope for the future of human civilisation.

The MMA Guru: Best Boxing Gloves – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide 2019

It’s unclear why the guy behind this gear review site believes he’s entitled to the venerable title of “guru”. For although MMA Guru may not be among the worst of the worst gear review sites, it’s still one of the worst. MMA Guru presents several rankings, each one of which targets a certain experience level (e.g. beginner) or function (e.g. sparring). This is commendable, but although it gives the appearance of critical discrimination, the appearance is misleading. MMA Guru is really just another conduit to Amazon. Its ranking of the top 5 gloves for beginners includes Everlast Pro Styles at number 4. They are absurdly introduced as “everything you look for in a pair of boxing gloves for beginners”. The MMA Guru tells us he “personally love[s] these boxing gloves for beginners because they’re lightweight and fully padded” and “insane value”. But the weight and padding of Pro Styles is wholly unremarkable and certainly does not distinguish them from any other low quality gloves on the market. And the fact that they cost less than many other gloves does not necessarily make them better for beginners. This is a classic case of the beginner gear fallacy in gear reviewing: the false idea that cheaper is better for beginners. (If anything, in a relatively injury-prone sport like boxing, most beginners should consider starting with mid-range gear, not trash like Pro Styles.) More generally, the MMA Guru’s rankings overflow with the kind of anodyne marketing bunkum which makes you wonder whether any advice is being given at all; that is, anything other than “buy a glove via an affiliate link”. Not even the relatively unobtrusive affiliate links can disguise the true purpose of the MMA Guru.

Ok, that’s it from me.

Applied my method yourself? You need to get a life. In the meantime, let me know the results below!

Posted by ScepticalBoxer in Analysis, Gear, Reviews, 0 comments