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heres a question ive always wondered about. does a boxer hit harder with, or without a boxing glove on? does the added weight of the glove add more effect? or does the cushoin of the glove take power away?

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Just a guess here, but the glove probably compresses, causing the fist to decelerate a little slower than without the glove. Thus, it should reduce the impact a little. Also, the glove adds surface area to the fist, reducing the pressure applied to the other person. Remember that we feel pressure, not force.

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ruthless,

heres a question ive always wondered about. does a boxer hit harder with, or without a boxing glove on? does the added weight of the glove add more effect? or does the cushoin of the glove take power away?

We'll ignore vectors here because it makes the answer a bit complicated. Suffice it to say that the angle at which the blow is delivered obviously makes a big difference. Here we'll assume that the blow is directly head-on. Pow!

The momentum of the bare hand at impact is given by:

P = mv^2

The total momentum of the gloved hand will be greater than the bare hand at impact by:

P = (m(0) + delta m(g)) ( v(0) + delta v(g) )^2

where

m(0) is the bare handed mass

delta m(g) is the change of mass when the glove (and wraps) are added

v(0) is the velocity of the bare fist and

delta v(g) is the change in velocity when the glove is added.

The bare hand will likely have more velocity so its possible that it can have equal or greater momentum than a gloved hand. But if we treat the two scenarios as having equal velocities then we have:

Energy transferred to the body of the other boxer is very different between a gloved hand and a bare hand.

First, the gloved hand transmits the energy over a much larger surface. The greater damage is caused by a focused impact that delivers the energy through the smallest surface area possible, e.g. a boxer strikes the other boxer on the forehead with a 50 fps blow from a gloved hand weighing ~30 oz versus the same boxer being struck in the forehead by a 1 oz steel pellet traveling at 50 fps. Which situation is most likely to result in serious brain trauma or death?

Second, the glove is very pliable as compared to the bare fist. Not only is the energy delivered over a larger area it is delivered over a longer period of time. As the glove compresses it is transferring energy to the other boxer. The bare hand is a semi rigid surface. It delivers the energy very quickly by comparison. You might recall Rainman and me discussing elastic vs. inelastic collissions a few months ago. This is a similar situation.

The bare hand has less mass but it is more efficient at delivering energy over a smaller surface and over a shorter period of time. Bare hand wins.

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Darby,

The momentum of the bare hand at impact is given by:

P = mv^2

This is incorrect, though I'm sure it was just a careless mistake. The correct formula is:

momentum:

p = mv

kinetic energy:

E = .5 mv^2

As for the rest, remember the impulse-momentum equation:

F dt = m dv

and pressure:

P = F / A

P = m dv / (A dt)

Adding a glove increases both A and dt, as was previously stated, while marginally increasing m & decreasing dv. Therefore, the pressure P applied to the other person tends to decrease.

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Now THIS is Real Science! I'm glad all of you gents contributed to this thread.

TimeLord, your knowledge of science and physics is very much a welcome addition to this forum! And I'd bet Darby and ruthless feel the same way.

RMT

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yeah, this stuff is iteresting to me.

so bare hand wins. something else i was thinking about was for how long does fist win? for instance, if you fight a 5 round fight, would it be best to go barehanded, or with gloves on? considering the chance of bone breakage and swelling, considering those chances, i'd be curious what math has to say.

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TmeLord,

Sorry about that. You're correct - a careless mistake. P = mv

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ruthless,

if you fight a 5 round fight, would it be best to go barehanded, or with gloves on?

The answer probably depends on your size and skill versus the other guy's size and skill.

You probably don't want to be on the short end of size and skill in either case but especially not in a bare fist match. Having a chimpanzee as a partner could help out.

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But the serious answer is, as TimeLord pointed out, bare handed you'll deliver more damaging blows than with gloves on.

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• 5 months later...

I would say he hits harder without the glove because the glove adds little to the strength and the glove absorbs some of the impact of the blow like a air bag in a car does but without the glove the hard surface of the fist does not cushin the blow and causes more damage. And I know from personal experiance(not to go into the story). A long time a go I boxed with gloves against a guy then we took them off and went fist to fist. That was in my younger years. Thanks, Reactor

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• 3 months later...

You should consider the increased mass of the boxing glove and the increased weight versus a bare fist...

TheCigMan

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well, when it comes down to it, the bare fist may be the stronger weapon, but for some strange reason, gloved fists actually have the most knockouts. i think it is mainly because the bare hand deforms, bends and breaks and the glove absorbs most of the impact and the hand does not deform as much.

watching fight science, i found out that a right hook can have as much as 2000 pounds of force behind it. so i am guessing that power isnt the deciding factor in a knockout. the deciding factor is if your hand stays together.