Showtime Boxing’s color commentator Paulie Malignaggi blasted Conor McGregor again last week and challenged him to a boxing match. The fighter’s longstanding issue with McGregor seemingly stems over Malignaggi’s previous work as a training partner for McGregor when the Irish superstar was preparing for his 2017 crossover megafight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather defeated McGregor via 10th-round stoppage in August 2017, but the world still isn’t quite sure what really happened when McGregor sparred Malignaggi a few weeks prior. Malignaggi had abruptly left his post as “chief sparring partner” for McGregor after a photograph of a floored Malignaggi was released on social media as well as a short clip of the exchange that sent the boxer to the canvas.
For McGregor’s part, he’s basically always maintained he beat Malignaggi up during those sparring sessions while the American has always been adamant he was pushed down.
“We both know what I did to him in the gym that day in 2017,” Malignaggi said per Boxing Scene.
‘Conor McGregor Fight Always Interests Me’
In the years that have followed since, more video of their sparring session has been released, though not yet all of it.
Regardless, Malignaggi still badly wants to face McGregor inside a boxing ring, and the 39-year-old revealed he’s even willing to do it in a winner-take-all format.
“The Conor McGregor fight always interests me,” Malignaggi said. “I will gladly do winner takes all the money in that fight. I will put my finances at risk because it will be a pleasure to beat that guy up. There would be a lot of money in the pot.”
While that kind of format isn’t likely to be agreed upon or probably even sanctioned, it’s clear Malignaggi still has issues with how McGregor and his team handled the entire incident three years ago.
Truly, the former world champion boxer felt dissed by McGregor’s team releasing the video of the boxer going down to the floor during sparring. Moreover, despite Malignaggi’s better days as a fighter clearly being way behind him, he still thinks he could beat McGregor in a boxing match.
“He knows he will get the sh*t beat out of him if he tries me,” Malignaggi said. “Him and I both know that. He gets stopped, 100%, no doubt about. He can’t last the distance in a boxing match.”
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Malignaggi Blasts Donald Cerrone
But Malignaggi didn’t just stop there. He went so far as to blast McGregor’s latest opponent, popular UFC contender Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who McGregor stopped after just 40 seconds of violent action in the main event of UFC 246 back in January.
Malignaggi argued he was more popular than Cerrone and blasted the all-time leader in wins for the UFC as “half-dead” going into that fight.
“He’d rather fight guys like Donald Cerrone who are half dead going into the cage,” Malignaggi said. “People argue that I’m not a big enough name for McGregor. Cerrone is definitely half the name that I am, and that’s no shot at him because he’s done a lot in his MMA career.”
Malignaggi’s Hope Isn’t Realistic
Finally, Malignaggi said he was the boxer McGregor should face if he really hopes to participate in another boxing match, saying Mayweather wasn’t a “realistic fight for McGregor because it doesn’t appear Mayweather is interested in fighting” and that “Manny Pacquiao obliterates McGregor in one round.”
McGregor has been linked to possible boxing matches against both men in recent months.
Still, McGregor is still in his prime years as an athlete, and Malignaggi hasn’t won a fight in nearly four years.
To make matters worse, Malignaggi couldn’t even get past another of McGregor’s training partners, MMA fighter Artem Lobov, in a bare-knuckle boxing match last summer.
Malignaggi might badly want a real chance to fight McGregor inside a boxing ring, but the best he can probably hope for at this point would be for the entire footage of the two men sparring to be released and that it went more like Malignaggi remembers than the way McGregor does.
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