Former two-weight boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi believes that arrogance is impeding Conor McGregor’s pugilistic progress ahead of his August 26th showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Malignaggi joined McGregor’s camp as a sparring partner a couple of weeks back and subsequently participated in two lengthy sessions with the UFC lightweight champion at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas. However, shortly after that second session, a reportedly grueling 12-rounder, Malignaggi departed the camp under acrimonious circumstances. The Brooklyn-native said that he felt that he was being exploited by Team McGregor after the Irishman’s photographer, Dave Fogarty, posted several sparring photos online. In the second snap, Malignaggi was on the canvas and McGregor was standing above him.
“There no conspiracy, there no photoshop just pure unadulterated power,” Fogarty wrote alongside the photo on Twitter, seemingly suggesting this was the scene of a knockdown.
There no conspiracy, there no photoshop just pure unadulterated power pic.twitter.com/sqQoc3zgrn
— Dave Fogarty (@DavidGbd) August 4, 2017
Malignaggi, however, claims he was merely pushed to the canvas.
Following his departure, Malignaggi let loose on McGregor via Twitter. The now retired boxer claimed that he had actually dominated the second sparring session and that he had drawn “whimpers” from McGregor with his body attacks. Malignaggi added that his nondisclosure agreement had been voided when he left camp without payment.
On Sunday evening, Malignaggi opened up further in his first TV interview since the drama began and he once again denied that he had been sent to the canvas by a legal McGregor attack.
“I wasn’t happy because he knows and I know that it wasn’t from a punch,” the fighter turned Showtime Boxing analyst told Fox New York. “He was actually frustrated from getting beaten up that particular day and that was actually a shove-down, a push-down. I think even the referee [Joe Cortez] wasn’t allowed to talk about it. Listen, at the end of the day, sparring should stay in the gym. I wouldn’t have went around talking about how I beat up Conor McGregor on Tuesday if I wasn’t forced to.”
“Even if I had knocked down Conor McGregor and I had a picture of it, I wouldn’t post it on social media. Let alone Conor, who didn’t knock me down – it was a push-down – tries to play it as it was a knockdown. He is trying too hard to sell it, in my opinion.”
In the months prior to the signing of Mayweather vs. McGregor, Malignaggi had fired plenty of derisive comments in the UFC star’s direction in an attempt to goad him into a fight. The fast-talking Italian-American felt that this would all be forgotten when he came to camp, but he now believes that McGregor took those words to heart.
“I have been in a war of words with a lot of guys who also tried to fight me when I was in boxing, but then if the fight didn’t play out I was always cool with them,” said Malignaggi. “I’ve done that with multiple name fighters, so I thought that me and Conor would be pretty cool once the fight didn’t happen and I was coming to help him to spar, but obviously he took it personally, he’s a little bit of weird guy in that way. Because you mature past that at a certain point and at 29 years old you would think that he’d be a little bit more mature than that.”
McGregor now has less than three weeks left in which to prepare for Mayweather. There won’t be too many more sparring sessions before he begins to taper off before August 26th, but Malignaggi still feels like McGregor needs to progress in many departments if he wants to implement his gameplan on fight night. However, the 36-year-old feels as though McGregor won’t get to where he needs to be unless he changes his attitude.
“I’m not going to tell you he can’t box, I’m not going to say that,” said Malignaggi. “He understands what he wants to do and how he wants to do it, but he’s got to progress. There’s things he has got to come along with and it’s not so easy to come along that fast.”
“My problem with Conor is with his arrogance. His arrogance is to the point where he can’t make progress, he can’t learn because he just wants a bunch of yes men around him, he doesn’t want to be told he is doing something wrong, he doesn’t want to be told he needs to make progress or he needs to change certain things. Whatever he is doing, he just wants to be told how great he’s doing.”
You can watch the entire interview with Malignaggi, in which he also accuses McGregor of being cheap and mistreating sparring partners, below…
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