The “Daily Show” did a bit last week where they showed clips of many news commentators using the phrase “The gloves are coming off” in reference to the current primary campaigns. I’m sure that their meaning is that the candidates are starting to rough each other up.
I seem to remember that fighting with bare knuckles was generally less injurious to the fighters than fighting with gloves on. Without gloves wouldn’t you tend to injure hands more often? With boxing gloves on, can you hit harder without risk to yourself?
If GQ is the wrong forum for this would a passing mod kindly move it? Thanks
Having been hit with both gloves and bare knuckles, I’ll take the gloved punch over the knuckles any day.
The term may also stem from the fact that wearing gloves implies a “boxing match” with rules, strategies and respect where a knuckle fight implies no rules, no respect, and a cut-throat mentality.
Gloves made boxing a less brutal sport. Also note that when a fight happens in a hockey game, the gloves they wear always come off…
It may actually be a hockey reference-in ice hockey when two goons fight they take off their gloves (and helmets).
Yes, this is true. But I have seen a few shows that have brought it up, and what they say seem to make since to me.
The padding in a boxing glove does lessen the effect of the punch, which you would think means safer. But you also need to take into account that in a bare knuckles match, there is a greater danger of breaking your own hand/wrist. With gloves you are able to hit your opponent at angles that might cause harm to yourself if you were not using gloves.
The shows said that gloved matches means more punches to the side of the head, which could lead to more trauma than bare knuckles would.
Boxing glove are designed to protect the hands not to soften the punch (although they may do that to some extent). Hitting someone with a bare hand is more likely to produce a broken knuckle than a knockout.
In hockey the gloves come off in a fight. It’s the difference between instant retaliation and a face-to-face fight. There is a basic significance in dropping the gloves.
Bottom line. Gloves are civil. Bare knuckles are not. When the gloves come off it signifies that all pretences of civility have been abondoned. The term is figurative.
I thought the term predated boxing. I had always pictured two Victorian dandies removing their finery before tussling with fisticuffs…none of the Marquess of Queensberry rules, that’s for the peasantry, just a good nose-blooding is all.