“There’s a method to McGregor’s madness” – Malignaggi reacts to first spar with ‘The Notorious’


Paulie Malignaggi linked up with the Conor McGregor camp on Thursday night to help the Irishman prepare for his professional debut.

The Dublin light middleweight steps into the pro ring for the first time next month, taking on five-weight boxing champion Floyd Mayweather in a money-spinning event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 26th.

Former two-weight champ and respected analyst Malignaggi has linked up with the McGregor camp as a sparring partner for the Vegas potion of his training, joining California’s Dashon Johnson, Londoner Louis Adolphe, and Tyrone’s Tiernan Bradley.

A man who has verbally sparred with ‘The Notorious’ in the past, Malignaggi got to meet him in the ring on Friday for a competitive spar.

‘The Magic Man’ spoke to Pop & Sports about the spar and outlined how “it was good, it was good. We did eight good rounds of work. I’d say it was educational.”

“It was physical work, it was good work, and Conor’s coming along. I look forward to continue helping him out even more.”

There was certainly a bit of needle in the session, and Malignaggi recalled how “there was a lot of trash-talking as me and him are both known to have a little bit [of trash talk].”

“Conor is a competitor, I’m a competitor, I got in there and there was a lot of trash-talking right away, there was a lot of fighting right away.”

“In the end, when you look back at it, it was kind of fun. Not everybody can match my trash-talking but Conor definitely can.”

In keeping with general boxing etiquette, Malignaggi did not go into too much detail about the rounds and, when he did don the pundit’s cap, the Brooklynite did not rubbish McGregor’s ability.

Malignaggi explained that “to say a mixed martial artist coming to boxing will be awkward would probably be an understatement. He’s got his own style, his own set of things that he does, and he’s got a gameplan behind it – it’s not what people think, there’s a method to McGregor’s madness.”

“He’s got some pop in the left hand, I can’t take that away from him. I think in boxing, especially against a guy like Mayweather, you need to devise a few more weapons and that’s what Conor’s doing, what he’s working on.”

“Without giving away too much, he’s effective in what he’s doing, he’s thinking, there’s a method behind the madness, he and his team are working on it, and I’m sure it will be entertaining and fun.”

Malignaggi, who confirmed that he will stay in the McGregor camp for the rest of the build-up, also revealed that himself and the Crumlin boxer shared respect after the spar.

The New Yorker described how “once the sparring was over, we had a good talk, he’s very cordial. He expressed to me that he’d like me to stay for the rest of camp and we’ll continue to work.”

“I was happy to be able to talk to him cordially because, before that, we hadn’t really been very cordial, including inside the ring. ”

“Conor’s a human being just like anybody else, you’re not going to play that role 24 hours a day, you’ll get yoursef tired just doing that!”

Watch Paulie Malignaggi’s interview with Pop & Sports HQ 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