You might not know this, but back before foam-padded boxing gloves became the norm, horsehair was used for the padding instead. Nowadays, these gloves also have a small layer of foam but the majority of the padding is horsehair. These are also known as punchers gloves as they’re used in professional fights, not as heavy bag gloves.
Some pro boxers still like to use horsehair boxing gloves so it’s up to them and the contract of the fight. There’s a greater risk of injury due to them offering less protection.
Many boxing brands still make professional horsehair gloves as well as foam models. Everlast has the MX model, Cleto Reyes’s traditional fight gloves use horsehair and Hayabusa now has a new pair made with it too.
With the horse hair gloves, your punches will feel a lot harder compared to foam boxing gloves as there’s less padding.
Keep reading to learn more about this type of boxing glove.
Do horsehair gloves hurt more?
Yes, horsehair gloves hurt a lot more compared to being punched with foam gloves. This is because there is less padding around the knuckle area due to horsehair being thinner than foam.
It’s also possible to manipulate the hair to push it down towards the wrist of the glove so there’s almost no padding on the knuckle. It is for this reason that punches from horsehair gloves hurt more.
We only have to listen to what Amir Khan said about Canelo Alvarez’s horsehair boxing gloves when the two fought in 2016.
“Every glove is different. When I fought Canelo, he had the Everlast horsehair gloves on.
“Bro I put my hand in, and it felt like I could push through a wall, but you’re going to damage your hand as well.
“They were solid. There was like no knuckle in it, it was like being hit with a baseball bat.
“The foam padding ones, the shape always stays the same. Whereas with the horsehair, the hair disappears and fades more towards the back of the hand.
“So that way, your knuckles are more visible. Without padding in the way, that’s going to put more pressure on your knuckle.
“So you’re going to be hit with a bare hand. I could never do that because my hands aren’t strong enough to do that.
“I’d break my hand if I fought like that. Some fighters have the hands where they could punch through a wall and wouldn’t break their hands.”
Are horsehair gloves good?
Horsehair gloves are good for doing more damage to your opponent. However, they aren’t good at protecting your hands from injuries like foam boxing gloves do.
If you have hard hands, then you’ll be able to deal with the increased pain that comes with wearing horsehair boxing gloves.
Tyson Fury’s family is known for being bare-knuckle boxers in the past and we’re sure he trained like that when he was younger. After all, this is where the Gypsy King name comes from. For a boxer like him, horsehair gloves are good.
Slugger-style boxers that go for the knockout and swarmer boxers that throw many punches are known to wear horsehair boxing gloves. Manny Pacquiao was known to wear Cleto Reyes’s traditional pro gloves which were made with horsehair.
Are horsehair boxing gloves legal?
Yes, horsehair boxing gloves are legal, but they can only be used if both fighters agree to them being allowed.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. never allowed his opponents to wear horsehair gloves and his team had this put in the pre-fight contracts to make sure it never happened.
There was controversy before his fight with the southpaw boxing champion, Manny Pacquaio, as the Filipino was using Cleto Reyes gloves who are famous for using horse hair in pro boxing gloves.
This also happened with Marcos Maidana in 2014 and when he fought Conor McGregor in 2017 he stated no horsehair gloves are allowed.
Here’s a video on the YouTube boxing channel Fit2Box in which it is argued that boxing gloves should be more like MMA gloves when it comes to the padding on the knuckle area.
What does horsehair do in boxing gloves?
Horsehair is added to boxing gloves for protection of the knuckle and hand area. This was what glove manufacturers used before flexible foam became more widely available.
Here’a s good video below which shows how the horsehair is incorporated into a pair of boxing gloves. Although these are a mix between foam padding and horse hair, but you still get a good idea.
Does Canelo use horse hair gloves?
Yes, Canelo Alvarez uses horsehair boxing gloves in professional fights. He did so against Amir Khan and wanted to when he fought Mayweather, but the undefeated boxer didn’t allow this in the contract.