Paulie Malignaggi, a former world champion boxer who recently retired from fighting earlier this year and current Showtime Boxing analyst agreed to help Conor McGregor prepare for his upcoming fight versus Floyd Mayweather.
Malignaggi agreed to spar with McGregor and give him some advice on what to expect from Mayweather. On the surface, it sounded like a great idea for McGregor and his camp to bring in Paulie due to his lack of experience against top tier competition in the boxing ring.
The partnership came to a quick and somewhat ugly end earlier this week as the sparring was reportedly very intense and left some bad blood between McGregor and Malignaggi.
Then on Thursday, there were photos released on social media that saw Malignaggi on the canvas and McGregor standing over him, suggesting that he had just been knocked down by the UFC fighter.
Malignaggi was quick to point out after those photos were released that he was never knocked down by Conor, he was actually pushed down. He then criticized Conor’s camp and said that they should release the full video of them sparring to show the fans what really went down.
The UFC was there according to Malignaggi shooting for behind the scenes promos so the full sparring match exists, however is very unlikely to be released to the public.
“I wanted to be part of this event, but I didn’t want to become the story, and that’s what this has turned into,” Malignaggi told ESPN by phone Thursday night. “I won’t release any information about his game plan or what he’s working on; I wouldn’t do that. But this has become a fiasco. It’s a circus.”
“And I do want that sparring video released. The UFC’s PI definitely has that video. I understand it can’t come out now, but Conor, if you have any balls, release what really happened.”
Malignaggi added that for their second sparring session, Conor invited a small audience to watch.
As for his personal relationship with McGregor, Malignaggi described it as “frenemies.”
“It’s not my place to dictate terms in a training camp that is not mine, but it’s my place to decide if I want to be a part of it,” Malignaggi said in the statement.
“There was a pushdown yesterday,” Malignaggi said of the sparring session. “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. 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.”
Because Mayweather-McGregor is scheduled to be a Showtime pay-per-view event, Malignaggi will a part of the commentary team for the fight.
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