Paulie Malignaggi was doing the rounds in the media yesterday and gave his most detailed account yet of his two sparring sessions with Conor McGregor.
Malignaggi had said he initially showed up to McGregor’s camp with the best of intentions, but even before he’d had a chance to get into the ring with ‘The Notorious’ UFC superstar he had a bad feeling about how things were going to go based on the way he was being treated.
“It’s in a dilapidated neighborhood, It’s a rundown house,” Malignaggi told Ariel Helwani on ‘The MMA Hour’ of the living quarters he had to share with McGregor’s other sparring partners during his time in camp. “I mean, yeah, it works. But it’s not really what you expect. … It reminded me of some kind of crack house that had been barely renovated a little bit.”
Malignaggi then went on to discuss his first sparring session with McGregor, and he’s now gone on record as saying that McGregor did best him that time.
“He got the better of me a little bit,” Malignaggi confessed. “Mainly on conditioning, it wasn’t anything tactical really that he was better than me at. Conditioning wise he could push the issue a little more than I could and he went eight rounds. He was able to work a little harder than me.”
The 36-year-old Malignaggi last fought in March and then subsequently retired, so it’s to be expected that his conditioning wasn’t on par at this stage, though it must surely still have been a somewhat humbling experience for the former two-weight world champion given that back in January he boasted to fans on Twitter that, “1 hand tied behind my back he doesn’t win a second of a round against me.”
After that Malignaggi started jogging and privately began sparring with an amateur boxer to get in better shape for his eventual second sparring session with McGregor over a week later, which this time was set to go 12 rounds and to the boxer’s surprise would be watched by the likes of Dana White and Lorenzo Ferttita from ringside.
According to Malignaggi he gave a much better account of himself this time around, though McGregor also gave him some problems too.
“”The way sparring went on Tuesday was this: he hung tough for five rounds, but he had to work harder than he wanted to,” Paulie recalled. “I had more purpose, I was sharper, I was hitting the body. He was landing some good shots too. In those early rounds, he was hanging tough. From six onwards he started becoming very hittable. Started becoming so hittable that I was putting more weight on my shots, and of course the body shots started affecting more and more.”
“The thing about the alleged knock down, it was during one of his worst moments. He pushed me down on the floor to try and catch a break. The instant I went down, I got up, and I remember I continued to trash talk, I said ‘Sup buddy, you needed a break?’ … And I started taking it right to him right after that, saying ‘There’s no breaks here, you don’t get no breaks.’ And I hit him with more body shots, I said ‘Take those, they don’t feel good.’ So I started hearing a whimper with the body shots too.”
However, Malignaggi did then go on to acknowledge that McGregor came on strong again in the final two rounds and landed some good shots.
‘Magic Man’ then revealed a conversation with McGregor back in the dressing room in which he tried to convince him not to leak any more photographs from their sparring sessions.
“I said, ‘Conor, do me a favor, bro. No more of these crazy pictures,’” Malignaggi said. “The week before, when I was working at Broner/Garcia, the media was there for the fight week because that was a big fight in boxing. All everybody wanted to know about was these pictures.
“I told Conor that it becomes very hard for me to not disclose the NDA that I have when you’re putting up pictures of me.”
However, Malignaggi didn’t get the response he was hoping for.
“He looks at me and he gives me this smirk, laughs at me and he starts walking away from me.
“He gives me his back, he’s walking away towards the showers and he’s like, ‘Ha ha, I don’t know Paulie. We got some good ones in those last two rounds. I don’t know about that.’”
More pictures did leak afterwards and Malignaggi decided to quit McGregor’s camp, branding him as “arrogant” and a “dirtbag” for the way he treated him.