Paulie Malignaggi to join McGregor camp tomorrow

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The idea looked to have cooled over the past few weeks, but Paulie Malignaggi has confirmed that he will join the Team McGregor camp tomorrow as a sparring partner.

Dublin light middleweight Conor McGregor makes his professional debut next month (August 26th), taking on five-weight champion Floyd Mayweather at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The prospect of sparring had been raised by the two-weight boxing champion earlier on in the build-up to the mega fight after a link-up was made through Gerry Byrne, brother of former Irish pro Dean.

Talk quietened, especially in the shadow of the four-city World press tour last week, however the ‘The Magic Man’ has revealed that the sparring will take place.

Speaking on yesterday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Malignaggi told host Ariel Helwani that I was starting to wonder myself, because we were back and forth, I was a little bit confused thinking maybe they’ve changed their mind or whatnot.”

“But they have contacted me again, I’ll be joining them shortly. I fly out Wednesday to Las Vegas”

McGregor has flown out to Las Vegas for the final six weeks of his camp, bringing along Omagh’s Tiernan Bradley and Tooting’s Louis Adolphe after the pair impressed in Dublin sparring.

His coaching panel includes John Kavanagh as well as striking coach Owen Roddy and long-time training partner Artem Lobov. The lack of a specialised boxing coach has raised eyebrows but Malignaggi, who has a reputation as one of the best boxing brains in punditry, stressed that he will be in the team primarily as a sparring partner rather than an advisor,

The Brooklyn fighter, who retired earlier this year, outlined how “I think Conor has a very capable training team. John Kavanagh’s a very capable trainer.”

“He’s got a team that really understands him both inside the octagon and outside the octagon. They know him as a fighter and as a person.”

“So, if you know the guy as a fighter and a person, I don’t want to change that because you know the psychology of him as well as the technical analysis of him. So, I wouldn’t say I’m going there to train.”

“If I’m going to give a couple of technical tidbits, maybe, maybe not, but I definitely wouldn’t call myself a trainer. I think his team has that foundation down pat and they are going to be doing the training and be in charge of all that. But, of course, I’ll be going there to spar and if I see anything and we’re on good terms, I’ll share my views on the things.”

Watch the MMA Hour below (Malignaggi segment begins at 58minutes):

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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