Conor McGregor’s training camp for the August 26 showdown with Floyd Mayweather is set to be turned up a notch.
En route to becoming a two weight UFC champion, the Notorious one has been able to call upon a myriad of training partners with specialised skill sets. Jiu-jitsu masters Gunnar Nelson and Dillon Danis have help improved McGregor’s grappling skills, while the likes of Irish amateur boxing champion Conor Wallace have provided physical attributes similar to those of Nate Diaz, a crucial aspect in the run-up to that rematch at UFC 202.
However, the undefeated Floyd Mayweather is a different prospect altogether. The sport of boxing itself is a different prospect.
Therefore, Conor McGregor has seen fit to request the help of a recently retired yet prominent figure in boxing.
Paulie Malinaggi yesterday revealed on Showtime Sports’ podcast that team McGregor had been in contact with him in order to work together on the upcoming Mayweather fight.
“I did get called to go to camp with Conor McGregor,” Malignaggi told Showtime on Wednesday.
“I was surprised. I haven’t really been training or I haven’t really been in the gym. I started working out a little bit and I’m working out details to spar with McGregor. If it’s something that’s going to be feasible, it’ll be cool, because I think I will have some inside stuff to talk about on fight night. I don’t think I will because I’m not that kind of guy. I’m a team player.”
The 36-year-old was referring to his role as a commentator and analyst for Sky Sports, and it was in that capacity that he made disparaging comments about McGregor and his move to boxing.
“At first I was telling Conor to stay in his lane and I was thinking ‘you know what, you are going to embarrass yourself’ but if you are really going to disrespect the sport of boxing like that then I would like to be the one to teach you that lesson”, he said in December. “After I am done with you – I am going to knock the beard off you homie – you are going to be apologising for everything you have been trying to do to get into boxing.”
The American can nonetheless appreciate that the UFC star is taking this fight seriously, and praised his attitude in reaching out for support.
“I did call him out but I think that shows the character of the man,” Malignaggi stated.
“He could have said ‘screw that kid, he called me out, I’m not going to put him in my training camp’, but I think it shows the competitive spirit and the willingness to want to learn on the part of McGregor. It shows you how hungry he is because he put that pride aside. It’s not easy to put that pride aside when you’re a fighter. It makes me respect him a little more.”
Paulie’s 36-8 career yielded world titles at both light-welterweight and welterweight, and saw him take on the likes of Ricky Hatton, Adrien Broner and Zab Judah.