Just this weekend, retired two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi was unsure if he will indeed be Conor McGregor’s sparring partner in preparation for the Floyd Mayweather fight on August 26th. But as of Monday, it became a question of how long he will be in the Irishman’s camp.
In his appearance on this week’s episode of The MMA Hour, Malignaggi confirmed that he will be flying out to Las Vegas on Wednesday to join McGregor, Owen Roddy, and the rest of team SBG.
“We’ve discussed a couple potential things, but I don’t know (how long I’ll be out there), it’ll depend on them,” Malignaggi said (via MMA Fighting). “I’ve always been in camp that’s been my training camp. I’ve never been in somebody else’s training camp. Even when I was a prospect and I helped champions get ready for their fights, it was mostly at home where I came up in Gleason’s Gym in New York, where there’s so many champions training there.
“A lot of times, I sparred with them a lot during their training camps in Gleason’s, but I was never a guy who was brought into camp as a sparring partner where I had to leave my house, where I had to leave home.”
When McGregor received his boxing license in California in November 2016, Malignaggi was one of the first boxers who made the call outs. Being a talker himself, he admitted that it was one of his ploys to possibly earn a fight against the UFC champion and potentially earn a fat paycheck out of it.
“When Conor got his boxing license, all the boxers looked at it like, ‘wow, this is a big paycheck here, and it’s a guy who’s probably a little bit (more) limited than your basic world-class boxer,’ so everybody’s trying to get in there. So me, using my trash-talking ability that I have, me knowing that I’m one of the better known fighters in the business, I kind of put myself at the forefront,” Malignaggi said.
“I tried to talk a little bit of trash and get under his skin and try to see if he would take the bait. So the trash talk was done about six months ago, I was looking to get the fight.”
“I’ve since lost my last fight and retired, so that’s actually out the window,” he continued. “But I think that basically what they’re looking at and what he’s talking about is probably the trash talking way back then, and yeah, we’re going to have a knock in the gym.”
“But listen, from a fighter’s perspective, you have in a knock in the gym anyway. Even if you’re best friends with the guy you’re sparring, you’re still going to have a knock in there. That’s just the way sparring goes, especially at a world-class championship level in the gym at sparring. I’ve never been a part of a training camp where sparring was light.”
Mayweather vs. McGregor will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and will be broadcasted live via Showtime Boxing.