Protecting yourself at all times
One of the great mantras of boxing is to protect yourself at all times. That construct proved pivotal to Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” and as every trainer will tell you, never turn your back on a fighter.
The art of the handwrap — while not as dramatic an idea as getting cold-cocked by Lucia Rijker does give a boxer the protection required to keep their hands reasonably safe from chaffing, cuts and broken bones.
My first trainer, Johnny Grinage used to wrap each of my hands with two handwraps, placing a foam rubber pad over my knuckles with the second wrap. This was just short of a “professional wrap” with batting and adhesive tape — which he did for me once or twice and I have to admit it felt great.
In those days, he had me training in 18 oz. gloves on heavy, heavy bags. As Johnny was famous for shouting “I don’t want to see no pitty pat,” this meant that my hands took a lot of punishment – so my protection was to have “mummy wraps” and even then I had a lot of red knuckles at the end of a training session.
When I train now, I use the “Mexican” wraps, extra-long with a little bit of spandex in them. I wrap them fairly snug, but not too tight — and as I train with 10 oz or 12 oz gloves I only need one on each hand. When Lennox Blackmore wraps them, he uses a technique that adds a little extra padding to the knuckles, but I find that I am okay without them. I’ll add that when I do a lot of heavy bag work, I will add a bit of foam to keep the knuckles safe.
There are also handwrap “gloves” on the market filled with foam or gel. I personally find them to be uncomfortable inside a pair of boxing gloves, but will use them for speed bag work or the double-ended bag. These types of gloves resemble MMA grappling gloves and are generally filled with some type of gel solution or foam. The ones I use are made of leather and have thick foam over the knuckles.
Still, nothing beats a professional tape job by a master boxing trainer!