It is a stock cheat in boxing for one to conceal something hard and heavy in one's glove. Classically done with a horseshoe.
A character employing this tactic in non-professional contexts is probably a Combat Pragmatist
Interestingly, the point of a boxing glove is not to dampen the blow, it's to protect the hand. Hiding a horseshoe (or similarly hard things) in your boxing glove would be just as likely to damage your fingers as your opponent's face. This simply makes it an Acceptable Break from Reality
Compare Power Fist
; Power Fists may be used in straight fights as much as it is for cheating. Compare also Tricked-Out Gloves
for gloves that are used for more than just punching. Handbag of Hurt
and Sock It To Them
also commonly go with a similar principle: something heavy is put inside the handbag/sock so it can pack hard hit.
Anime and Manga
- Used in a pillow fight in Mahou Sensei Negima!. Obviously, the rules call for pillows to be used, but Rules Lawyer Yue figures that she can use heavy books to hit her opponents if she's hitting the pillows (with them underneath). She is a lot more blatant about this when they realise she's hiding books in her pillows.
- In Rurouni Kenshin, Hannya, whose fighting style revolves around punching his enemies, hides iron knuckledusters in his otherwise normal looking gloves.
- In ''Spy vs. Spy', one spy used this trick to defeat the other.
- Played for Laughs in one issue of Little Archie. Little Jughead gives Little Archie a pair of lead weights while they're training for a boxing match; he instantly refuses, saying "That's cheating." Jughead informs him that the weights are only for training purposes; when they take the weights out for the real fight, his punches will be harder. Mr. Weatherbee brings some of his colleagues to watch the pair train, and Archie's glove slips off and hits Weatherbee in his Glass Jaw. The other teachers comment "Wow, knocked out by an empty glove!"
- Happens in the Steampunk Halloween 2012 comic from Antarctic Press. A boxer fighting Dr Frankensteam's creation slips a horseshoe into his glove. However, the horseshoe shatters when he punches the monster.
- Ancillary materials to Batman Begins explain that Bruce packed the Batsuit's gloves with lead shot.
- An early example can be found in the 1915 movie The Champion, where Charlie Chaplin finds a "good luck" horseshoe just as he passes a training camp advertising for a boxing partner "who can take a beating." After watching others lose badly, Charlie decides to enhance his chances of survival by sneaking the horseshoe into his right glove. Of course, he wins the fight.
- Subverted in Chaplin's later film City Lights, which has a similar plot of the hero volunteering for a box fight to raise money. In the locker room he finds a horseshoe which he fiddles with but eventually dismisses and goes to fight without. We can only assume that Chaplin figured that people would have seen the previous horseshoe scene in The Champion and expected him to try the same trick again. This time he fools them by tossing it away.
- The "Fight Night" episode of CSI centered on a boxing match. The winner of the match was found to have injected mercury into his glove.
- In the "Collateral Damage" episode of Blue Bloods a bunch of executives engage in boxing Fight Club. When one of them dies after a match, the detectives find that the winner's gloves have been doctored to make them heavier.
- In the "Old Mrs. Old" episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Dewey carries a purse (or man-handbag) to school and is bullied by other kids on the way home for doing so. But then he swings it at one of the kids, and whap!—turns out he put a brick inside it.
- A variant: The episode "Requiem for a Lightweight" from M*A*S*H has Trapper agree to fight General Barker's goon to win back a pretty nurse. Knowing he'd be pummeled to jelly otherwise, Trapper allows Hawkeye to soak his boxing gloves in ether. By keeping his glove near his opponent's nose, Trapper exposes him to enough ether fumes to pass out in the ring, thus winning the match.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a Villain of the Week who plays with this trope. Carl Creel note could change parts or all of his body into anything he touched. Before getting recruited by HYDRA, he was a boxer and would hide steel hands under his gloves.
- In the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries episode "Deadweight" Weighted Gloves are used against a young boxer in a local boxing ring until Constable Hugh Collins steps in and tells them to ditch them.
- The Smallville episode "Jinx" reverses this as Clark plans to hide a piece of kryptonite in his football gloves to try to weaken himself so he can compete on a level footing. It doesn't work.
- The Doctor Blake Mysteries: In "A Lethal Combination", Charlie's brother Ray has his hand wraps coated in plaster of Paris before a boxing match. As the match progresses, the plaster absorbs sweat and hardens, allowing him to deliver much more solid blows.
- The Iron Sheik had a loaded boot. When he set his opponent up for the finisher, he'd shake his boot, causing all the lead pellets (or whatever was supposed to be in there) to collect at the tip of his boot, so a kick would knock his opponent unconscious.
- There's a minor character in Skyrim who boasts about winning a brawl by using a horseshoe as a knuckle-duster. Fittingly, his name is Irnskar Iron-Hand.
- In Fallout 2, you can make a name for yourself as a boxer in New Reno. During the boxing matches, you are stripped of all equipment and given a pair of boxing gloves to fight with, and any other attack will disqualify the PC. The boxing gloves deal very little damage, and the PC needs either good critical hits or dedicated damage perks to win. However, in the same city, you can find a pair of boxing gloves with plates slipped into the knuckles, allowing all but the last fight to be won by dealing hit point damage (it is possible for a character to be too weak in combat to do even that, but most such characters are disallowed from the boxing ring anyway).
- Aran Ryan, one of the boxers in the remake of Punch-Out!! has horseshoes in his gloves; this provides the picture for Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty.
- A variation in Twilight Princess: in order to get into the Goron mines, you need to defeat their elder in a sumo match. The Gorons are twice Link's height and made of stone, so naturally he gets sent flying in a second. Link asks the only human ever to defeat a Goron in sumo wrestling, who reveals he used a little secret: massive weighted boots that allowed him to withstand the Goron's charge. The Gorons are very much against cheating, but they never notice you putting the boots on.
- In Use Sword on Monster Hilda wears sap gloves, not really legal but useful for taking someone out without killing them. Especially seeing how as a "sword-swinger" the magic makes her fight on autopilot until her enemy is no longer a threat.
- Merrie Melodies
- There is a cartoon where, after a boxer lands an especially telling punch, the referee stops the bout and checks the boxer's glove. Upon removing and shaking the glove, out drops a horseshoe... then three more horseshoes... then a confused-looking horse.
- In "Hare Trimming", Bugs pretends to be a French gentlemen rival to Yosemite Sam for the love of a rich widow. Sam gives Bugs "a taste of leather" and Bugs responds in kind... but not before putting a brick inside the glove. After hitting Sam, he shakes out the pulverized remains.
- In Porky Pigs Feat, Daffy, having lost the money to pay his and Porky's hotel bill in a craps game, insults the hotel manager after refusing to pay. The manager slaps Daffy with his glove and challenges him to a duel ("You have insulted me! We meet on the field of honor! My Card"). Daffy then slips a horseshoe into a glove and imitates the challenge ("You have insult me! We meet on the field of onion!") and hits the manager with the glove, then slaps a piece of flypaper on his face ("My card, you cad!")
- "Rabbit Punch" has the boxer and Bugs remove their gloves. When Bugs removes his, two horseshoes fall out of each one.
- The Simpsons. In "The Homer They Fall" episode, Homer sees that Moe has a boxing glove with barbed wire on it which Moe refers to as "The Stinger". Moe says "yeah, they don't let you use that no more."
- In the Donald Duck cartoon "Canvas Back Duck", Donald's nephews put scraps of metal in his glove, but it only makes the glove too heavy to lift. His hand slips off and his fist accidentally hits the other fighter in the jaw. Fortunately, the opponent had a "glass jaw" and is out like a light.
- On the Goofy cartoon "The Art of Self-Defense", two 18th Century dandies slap each other with gloves. During a break in the action, one of them sneaks his snuff box into his glove.
- Tex Avery's Lonesome Lenny has a gag where the titular dog punches Screwy Squirrel with a hard boxing glove. Screwy then empties out four horseshoes...plus the horse.
- Legend of Korra. In probending, waterbenders are the only ones allowed to use headshots due to the Soft Water trope. One of the ways the Wolfbats cheat is by adding rocks into their water missiles, which does more damage.
- Tiny Toon Adventures also used the "horseshoes-and-horse-in-the-glove" variant of the gag in "Citizen Max".
- The 1950 Friz Freleng cartoon "Stooge For A Mouse" has a hungry mouse load horseshoes into a boxing glove, then tie the glove onto Sylvester's hand while the cat naps. The mouse then uses a magnet below the floorboards to compel Sylvester to fly at a bulldog fist-first. Once the cat and dog have demolished each other, the mouse has a clear shot at the Cartoon Cheese.
- Sap gloves are leather or vinyl gloves with weights sewn into the knuckles. Their primary intention is to protect the wearer from injury, while the metal powder or shot adds mass and thus kinetic energy to the punch. Properly executed, they can be used to punch through glass and concrete.
- The annual pillow fight at the West Point Military Academy is a long-standing tradition. But it appears that in 2015, the more gung-ho cadets over-did it by adding unauthorised fillings to their pillowcases, up to and including metal footlocker boxes. Apparently thirty cadets were hospitalised and WP management is reviewing the event. see here.
- The tragic case of Billy Collins v. Luis Resto. Before the match, Resto's trainer soaked Resto's hand wraps in plaster of Paris and removed the padding from his gloves, resulting in his punches hitting far harder than they would have otherwise. After an investigation, Resto was banned from boxing and spent several years in prison. Unfortunately, Resto's punches had been hard enough to cause brain damage in Collins which left him with permanently blurred vision, ending his boxing career and leading him to commit suicide.