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Boxing trainer Freddie Roach on Conor McGregor: ‘I think he’s in over his head’

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One of the best boxing coaches alive shares his thoughts on the biggest fight event of the year.

With the upcoming boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC champion Conor McGregor looming near, more and more experts, and not-quite experts continue to contribute their two cents on the fight.

This time, the crew at Villainfy Media caught up with legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach to get his take on the fight. Roach had some questions regarding the recent footage released of sparring sessions between McGregor and former champion Paulie Malignaggi:

Interviewer: You faced Mayweather with a fighter that many people thought was Mayweather’s best and most challenging rival. What type of transition is McGregor facing here? How difficult is that?

Freddie Roach: It’s gonna be a difficult transition, obviously, because he’s used to fighting in... U... eh, MMA rules and now he’s going to the boxing rules. And he’s gonna be, I think it’s gonna be really uncomfortable for him and maybe difficult for him. But... and he’s going against one of the best boxers of all time. I mean, he’s, look at his record. You can’t deny that he’s one of the best boxers of all time. And he, um... I think he’s in over his head. But he’ll try hard, though. He looks like he’s very brave, and he looks like he trains hard, at least for this fight.

And um, you know, we’ll see what happens. I mean, he’s, you know, it’s a combat sport, it’s what we’re in, and Mayweather knows how to fight and he’s a great boxer. And, um... I can’t see the other guy... I can’t see Mayweather losing. But that’s just my opinion at this point.

Interviewer: Obviously Mayweather is, some people would say what you’re saying, that he’s arguably the best fighter of our lifetime. But it looks like McGregor is taking the preparations to prepare for him. He invited Paulie Malignaggi in for some sparring, if you’re aware of that...

Roach: Yeah, you know, he..

Interviewer: You’ve had Paulie in your gym...

Roach: Paulie’s a great kid, something like this, but did he really need the money as a sparring partner? It’s very odd, I don’t know! But he’s, you know, one guy’s active, one guy’s not. And uh, Paulie looked like he got beat up a little bit in the tapes, the tapes that they do show, but we don’t know if these tapes, they show (things going) the other way.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Roach: So the thing is, what’s out there looks, he (McGregor) looked pretty good. He has a strong left hand and um, he does have power.

Interviewer: Did you see the videos? And just that first glance, what did you make of him? He was able to land that left, and I think it was three times before...

Roach: Three or four times, yeah. It was just, um, I was very surprised.

Interviewer: Was that good technique?

Roach: Mmmmm... I wouldn’t say good technique, but maybe, you know, Paulie hasn’t fought in a long, long time. He’s been an announcer, and you know, he did make a comeback fight here or there and so forth. But hmm... I don’t think he’s at Mayweather’s level. But um, maybe he’ll be able to do something in the fight though. Because like, he did fight a legitimate fighter (Malignaggi) that was, you know, a world-class fighter. Two-time champion at one time (sic). But um... Paulie’s, did he do it on purpose? Was he paid to do that, you know? (Smiles) Who knows?

Interviewer: Is there such things...?

Roach: No, I don’t think so. At least I hope not, and I, I hope not. But you never know.

Interviewer: There was two clips. There was one where he hit him with the left hands, and another where it looked like he knocked him down.

Roach: Pushed him over. It looked like a knockdown push or whatever. It looked, from the second footage, I couldn’t tell. I just can’t say, you know, I’m not in awe of it (laughs.)

Roach was his usual diplomatic self, giving all parties credit and reasonable responses regarding everyone involved. He also kept things very honest with McGregor’s chances not being great, but not completely counting him out.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor will happen on Saturday, August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.