Paulie Malignaggi eyes St Patrick’s Day showdown with Conor McGregor


Their two heated spars led to a bitter and public fall-out, and now Paulie Malignaggi wants to take on Conor McGregor in a St Patrick’s Day showdown.

Malignaggi joined Team McGregor as a sparring partner to help the Dublin light middleweight’s mega money debut with Floyd Mayweather on August 26th in Las Vegas.

‘The Magic Man’ and ‘The Notorious’ sparred twice, totalling twenty rounds, with the second twelve-round spar at the UFC Performance Institute causing huge controversy.

Images showing Malignaggi on the canvas would emerge and the New Yorker would subsequently leave camp and give a serious of angry interviews refuting claims that McGregor had knocked him down.

UFC President Dana White would then release footage of the ‘knockdown,’ however they snippet would prove inconclusive and cause further heated debate.

Malignaggi, who will form part of the broadcast team on fight night for Showtime PPV, is now hopeful for a clash with the Irishman, and believes a fight between the pair on St Patrick’s Day next year could make sense.

“Yeah. At this point? Yeah,” Malignaggi told Ariel Helwani on this week’s edition of the MMA Hour when asked whether he would like to fight McGregor.

“When you don’t like someone you don’t spar them, you fight them. It’s picked up a ton of momentum, the bad blood is there so let’s fight,” added the former two-weight champion, who retired in March of this year following a stoppage loss to England’s Sam Eggington.

The 36 year old however noted that the viability of the proposed bout depends on McGregor’s performance against Mayweather next weekend.

Malignaggi outlined how “we’ll need to see how he looks against Mayweather. If he looks dog s***, I don’t think anybody will want to see us fight.”

“From a business perspective I’ll put it like this: as long as he doesn’t get the living s*** beaten out of him, where he looks totally lost in there – which is a possibility – I think there is enough demand is there to make the fight.”

“If he wins there’s obviously a big demand, if he loses but does a couple of decent things, you can still create a demand.”

“You have to see how the result comes about on the 26th.”

St Patrick’s Day in 2018 is on a Saturday and Malignaggi is eyeing this date for a fight.

The American reasoned that “I’m a businessman, once this all started coming out, my eyes went to the calendar when this thing started buzzing.’I understand this business very well.”

Should McGregor continue to fight following his fight with Mayweather, and a purported nine-figure pay day, a return to the UFC and a December 30th defence of his lightweight title against Khabib Nurmagomedov had previously looked to be his next move – however a Malignaggi match-up could supercede these plans.

Watch Malignaggi’s interview with the MMA Hour in full below:

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie