HP: Remember: fill your gloves up with gold bars and hit below the belt.
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. Enhanced Punch in general is a less mundane form of this. 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.
- Used in a pillow fight in Negima! Magister Negi Magi. 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 — although, in the strip's usual Gambit Pileup fashion, the other spy spotted him doing it and came into the ring wearing a mask of his own face over an iron helmet.
- 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.
- Played for Laughs in Cattivik when he's forced in a match against a much larger wrestler and dons massive gloves filled with iron scraps. When the referee points out that they're against the rules, he retorts by pointing out how his opponent gets to keep a whole living anaconda with him.
- At one point Spider-Girl Anya Corazon is given a makeover by the heroes in the Avengers. One of their upgrades are leather gloves with metal dust in the knuckles.
- Parodied by the IDW Popeye comics. In issue #3, Popeye takes a horrible beating in a match with a hulking masked boxer. Turns out the opponent has horseshoes in his gloves... and THAT'S because he's an actual horse!
- Ask the Ryans has several jokes about characters loading their gloves. The most notable instance was a strip where Rory unsuccessfully tried to convince Aran to stuff firecrackers in his gloves.
- In Eight Count, Slade Wilson lost his eye in a boxing match years before the main story when an opponent loaded his gloves with metal.
- 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.
- Eamann, a local bully, hides stones in his hand wraps for his climactic fight against Frances in Float Like A Butterfly.
- In The Red Vixen Adventures Alinadar wears fingerless gloves with lead weights, among several other easily concealed weapons.
- Discworld. In Night Watch, Sam Vimes lays out Ronald Rust with this trick, then turns to his men, rubs his knuckles and says
''Important lesson, lads. It hurts, no matter what you do.
- In By The Great Horn Spoon, which is set during the 1840s California Gold Rush, the butler Praiseworthy hides gold dust in his gloves to keep it from being found. Later their coach is robbed, and Praiseworthy socks one of the robbers several feet into the air with his gold-weighted gloves. As such he gets rumored around town to be an incredible fistfighter, and so starts studying boxing to keep up his reputation for the real fights.
- Brought up in Welkin Weasels, when Prince Poynt suggests cheating at a boxing match by weighting his favoured boxer's gloves. It doesn't work, as it's then explained to him that it's a bare-knuckle boxing match.
- 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 (who comic book fans will know as the Absorbing Man) 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 Westerner: Denny Lipp, the bad guy in "Jeff", does the bare knuckle equivalent of this trope: soaking his fists in brine before a fight to harden his punches.
- In the Hogan's Heroes episode "The Softer They Fall", Hogan sets up an exhibition boxing match between Kinch and the Germans' champion, Bruno, as a cover to a break-in to Klink's quarters to steal some vital information. To ensure they win, Burkhalter orders Klink and Bruno to cheat, which they do by hiding a pair of metal bars in Bruno's gloves to guarantee a knockout. Kinch manages to dodge and outlast Bruno until the heist is complete, at which he knocks the German down with one punch (though Hogan calls the fight in Bruno's favor to ensure they don't get in trouble).
- 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 The Elder Scrolls V: 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 unless you trick the system by wearing Power Armor).
- Fallout 4: Boxing gloves return as weapons in Fallout 4. The workbench lets you improve them by adding metal plates for more damage with the right perk, but there's no boxing tournaments to enter in the game so you're stuck using them on regular enemies.
- Killer Instinct: TJ Combo got his start cheating at boxing when he was twelve years old when he removed some of the paddings from his right glove and replaced it with a roll of quarters to get revenge on another boy for his Unsportsmanlike Gloating.
- A variation in The Legend of Zelda: 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 talks to Mayor Bo, 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.
- Aran Ryan in the Wii version of Punch-Out!! is shown stuffing horseshoes in his gloves in his Contender intro, as pictured above. As thoroughly unsubtle as it is, that's not even his most glaring cheating maneuver: that honor has to go to how he expands on the idea in Title Defense. One of his old gloves wears out, so he takes it, attaches it to a long rope, stuffs even more horseshoes into it, and wields it as a heavy whip weapon or alternatively as an improvised flail.
- 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 Trimmed", 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 Pig's 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 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.
- A Handbag of Hurt variation in "Boston Quackie"; Marie beans the Man in the Green Hat with her purse, then shows Quackie that she carries an anvil in it.
- 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 pro-bending, 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".
- Athletes in gloved combat sports such as boxing and MMA get sports tape wrapped around their hands before they put the gloves on, and one of the simplest methods of cheating is to use "loaded wraps", consisting of non-regulation or excessively-layered tape which creates a more hard and solid cast around the fists. A fist wrapped in this way will be harder and more durable than the opponents skull, and can cause terrible damage even through padded gloves.
- 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 United States Military Academy was a long-standing tradition. But in 2015, some of the more gung-ho cadets over-did it by adding unauthorized fillings to their pillowcases, up to and including metal footlocker boxes. Apparently, thirty cadets were hospitalized and West Point officials investigated 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.