Cleto Reyes: Boxing Gloves with a History
Fight Co is a stockist for Cleto Reyes, one of the most storied brands of boxing gloves. And when we say storied, we really mean it. The tale of the company and the list of legendary fighters who have chosen these gloves both make for good reading. With Reyes, you’re buying a bit of history with your professional-quality glove.
Cleto Reyes was born in Mexico City in 1920. The child of a troubled and broken home, he went to work at the age of 12 in a workshop that made leather baseball gloves. Because the owner also allowed the boy to sleep in the factory, Cleto experimented on the machines at night, teaching himself more skills. He learned to box a bit as a young teenager and even had an amateur fight at the age of 18. He won but also learned that he didn’t love the pounding.
Instead, he became interested in the gloves themselves. After that fight, he mended his own and began what would become an obsession with making excellent boxing gloves. They became known over the next few years and had already made their first championship appearance in the ring by 1945, when defending lightweight champ Juan Zurita lost to Ike Williams. It was the first professional fight (that we know of) in which both boxers were wearing Reyes gloves. It would not be the last, as we can see in generations of boxing photographs.
Reyes gloves are padded with a special combination of horsehair and latex. They have a narrower profile through the hand and are much less puffy looking than other gloves. Their reputation as a “puncher’s glove” is warranted and seems appropriate given that Mexican fighters have dominated the lower weight classes. However, in an interview with the American newspaper the Washington Post, company director Alberto Reyes said his glove is actually less dangerous for fighters because the more heavily padded gloves cause reverberations that do more traumatic brain damage than the “hard but clean shot” produced by his design.
The company is still run by the Reyes family and the gloves are still produced just outside of Mexico City. The history is never far from the surface and continues to guide the making of Reyes products. With a pair of these and some Adidas boxing boots, you’ll be ready to step into the ring like a boss.