buckets

What are the worst boxing gear review sites?

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!

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Posted by ScepticalBoxer

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