Perhaps the most important piece of equipment used in the ring by fighters is the type of gloves they choose to wear on the night of the fight, as well as during their training.
To the casual observer, all gloves basically look the same; however, it’s the subtle nuances in the various brands of gloves that can potentially be the difference between winning and losing on fight night.
So, here’s a breakdown of the most popular types of boxing gloves used by top professionals, amateurs and just people boxing to stay fit.
Winning is a very high-quality brand of glove that is manufactured in Japan. They’re arguably the best gloves you can get on the market in terms of their construction and long-lasting ability. You could own these things for five years and they’ll still look and feel new.
Winning also offers the greatest hand protection of any gloves out there, which is why they’re often referred to as “pillows.” But if you’re a fighter with hand problems, these gloves are for you. They’re very expensive, but no other glove will give you the protection that these will.
These gloves are worn by too many top pros during their training to list, but they are a little bit rarer of a sight in actual fights, due to the drawback of they’re reduced power. Fighters who wear them in the ring are Canelo Alvarez, Erik Morales and Floyd Mayweather (formerly).
Everlast is the company that most people think about when it comes to boxing. They've been around for over 100 years and definitely make high-quality pro fight gloves. Personally, I train in Everlast gloves, as they're very supportive and solid all around.
And recently, a lot more professionals are using them in the ring, as they overhauled all their products in favor of new types of gloves that offer better construction and are of higher overall quality. Basically, they're in between "pillows" and the "puncher's gloves," which gives them a nice balance in terms of protection and punching power.
Some top fighters who routinely wear Everlast are Miguel Cotto, Andre Ward, Nonito Donaire, Deontay Wilder and Brandon Rios.
Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye wearing Grants.
Grants are excellent gloves, and like Winning, they are used by fighters who need hand protection but still aren't too protective to be deemed as pillow-type gloves. Grants are extremely well constructed and are personally my second-favorite pair of gloves to wear, and they are a step up from Everlast.
They conform nicely to your hand, offer good wrist support and just feel great to have around your hands. And they look pretty good as well; the quality and craftsmanship are top-notch. Fighters who wear them on fight night are Floyd Mayweather, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, Andre Berto, Tim Bradley, Bernard Hopkins and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Pacquiao and Marquez wear Reyes.
Cleto Reyes are my favorite gloves. They're made in Mexico and are of the utmost quality. They're hand made and hand stitched, and it shows. They feel awesome and it's like they're not even there; they feel very natural when put onto your hands. These gloves are different from the others on this list up to this point because they're considered to be "puncher's gloves."
This is the case because less padding is on the knuckle area than other gloves, like Winning or Grant gloves. Reyes gloves are very soft—you can feel your knuckles through the padding when you have them on. This naturally translates to more punching power, but with less hand protection.
Reyes gloves are used by Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Kelly Pavlik, Marcos Maidana, Amir Khan and numerous other top fighters. They're popular with boxers who don't have a history of hand problems and who have above-average punching power.
Rival is a relatively new brand that's popular in Canada, and it's rapidly becoming more well-known in the U.S. Rival gloves have a great look to them, with a really awesome logo and a cool construction. They look kind of more futuristic, like they're ahead of the curve in terms of the way they look.
Personally, I've never worn Rivals, but from what I've been told, they're terrific gloves that offer really good support and are very safe for your hands, but still provide pretty good punching power. They're kind of like a blend of all different types of gloves. Well-padded but with power is the future of gloves, and Rival has already impressively been able to blend the two together.
The only top-fighter who wears Rivals that I know of is Canadian Jean Pascal, but gradually, more and more people are beginning to take notice and wear these gloves in training.