Paulie Malignaggi has given a fascinating interview after his second sparring session with Conor McGregor.
Although Malignaggi seemed disgruntled with one or two aspects of the 12 round encounter, overall, his respect for the Irishman seems to be increasing with each meeting and discussing McGregor’s skills, the retired boxer admitted Conor is getting ‘better and better’.
Given the fact that Paulie had stated long before the fight was announced that a boxing match between McGregor and Mayweather would be ‘easy money’ for the undefeated boxer, he now seems to have a serious level of respect for the Irishman.
‘I kind of tired out at the end, I’ll be honest. 11 and 12 were kind of tough for me. Before that I was kind of getting into a groove but Conor’s getting into a groove too I’ve got to say. You know, Conor is coming along. His punches are getting shorter. He’s got a better idea of how he wants to do things and what he wants to do…
“I think the intensity that Conor is reaching is starting to show in the hard work he’s put into camp, and I think he’s getting better and better. I really felt the improvements from two weeks ago to now… I do see a guy who is implementing more and more of what they want to do in their game plan.
I was starting to get in a groove in the middle rounds, starting to land some good shots. Conor really came on strong in the end. It was back and forth.
Although Malignaggi seems perfectly ok with the level of aggression that Conor is bringing into the ring, the retired boxer did seem a little put off by an apparent push down that occurred in their second encounter, stating that the Irishman can ‘get a little rough’.
It got very animated in there. We went 12 hard rounds – both give and take kind of stuff…
No knock downs or anything. Obviously in 12 rounds or hard rounds, you’re going to see some marks on my face, especially that I wear the open headgear…
There was a pushdown yesterday. Conor on the inside, he can get a little rough. He shoved me down, you know, but no knockdowns. Obviously, 12 rounds, you’re gonna see there’s a mark on my face. Very, very hard work for both of us.
Malignaggi felt set up
Emphasising the aggression and level of violence that went on during the 12 round back and forth once again, Malignaggi stated that he had initially felt ‘set up’ by some of the circumstances surrounding the contest.
Having only flown into Vegas on Monday, the Brooklyn fighter was scheduled to take on McGregor on Tuesday morning and, although Malignaggi said he is used to private sparring matches, he said that he felt put off and set up by the arrangement.
“Lot of violence,” Malignaggi said. “I went in there to prove a point. I didn’t like the fact I had to fly across the country on Monday, and they have me scheduled for 12 [rounds] on Tuesday. I thought it was a little bit of a setup.
“Usually all sparring is private. I show up at the UFC headquarters and [former owner, Lorenzo] Fertitta is there. [UFC president] Dana White is there. So, I’m thinking these guys are thinking they’ll catch me right off the flight, set me up for him to look good in front of his audience. I didn’t like that. I kind of went in with a chip on my shoulder.”
“Conor wants his presence to be felt. He’s coming to win, right?” Malignaggi said. “He wants you to know you’re in a fight. He doesn’t want you to think it’s a picnic. So, any time he’s in the ring, he’s trying to make it as rough as possible — be it roughhouse tactics, be it trying to land hard shots.