A fighter with a sane mind will surely pick a sparring partner who would emulate his opponent’s moves and approximate, or even exceed, his protagonist’s power. So Conor McGregor picking Paulie Malignagi as his latest sparring partner was an insane move.
With Malignaggi having a record of 38-8 with seven knockouts and five losses coming by way of stoppage, it looks like McGregor was preparing more of a kiddie boxing match with kid’s gloves against Floyd Mayweather Jr. It’s not that Malignaggi was a no-name fighter; but his last three losses were by stoppage to Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and Sam Eggington. And his last stoppage win was in April 2012 against Vyacheslav Senchenko, in what would be his last impressive victory.
Malignaggi is also more of an “inflated welterweight” because he was more impressive at junior welterweight (140 pounds), so picking him to prepare to fight at junior middleweight (154 pounds) is questionable if not stupid. If I were McGregor, I would have picked Andre Ward, a world lightheavyweight (175 pounds) champion, who is the second most impressive counterpuncher in boxing today after Mayweather.
Never mind if Ward is a lot taller at six feet, because he would really test McGregor in sparring. Another appropriate sparring partner would be Danny Garcia, a former welterweight champion, who is more of an offensive counter puncher.
Malignaggi is already 36 years old and is coming off a stoppage loss to Eggington four months ago. Definitely, he is no longer in his prime.
So what was in McGregor’s mind when he chose Malignaggi as his sparring partner? Maybe, McGregor thought that at 40 years old, Mayweather no longer has punching power and has slowed down significantly, and Malignaggi has no punching power and has slowed down too.
If such was the case, that shows how ignorant McGregor is toward boxing, and how badly he is underestimating Mayweather. My reasoning is very simple—Malignaggi and Mayweather are like day and night, or Malignaggi was never ranked along the elite like Manny Pacquiao and Mayweather, among others.
Another angle that came out is McGregor wants to settle a score with Malignaggi in sparring, because the former boxing champion made negative comments about the Irish fighter on his chances against Mayweather.
Nonetheless, Mayweather must be laughing at the fact that McGregor picked Malignaggi as a sparring partner, because for sure he knows what type of boxer Malignaggi is.
A real boxing fan will surely realize the folly of McGregor picking Malignaggi as a sparring partner. And it would not be a surprise to the real boxing fan if McGregor made minced meat out of Malignaggi in sparring. But did that happen?
McGregor “beating” Malignaggi in sparring is even no big deal. But McGregor beating a fighter like Ward in sparring should worry Mayweather.
Last week, Malignaggi left the McGregor training camp and challenged his camp to show to the public their unedited sparring footage. Malignaggi clearly got piqued over McGregor’s camp circulating in social media a photo of the Irish fighter supposedly knocking Malignaggi down.
Malignaggi also said recently that McGregor “whimpers like a girl” when punched to the body. And this was during sparring?
He also in another interview that McGregor should have invested more dollars since the Irish fighter was preparing for a megabout. Malignaggi claimed he was not paid for sparring McGregor.
From my standpoint, it would make good business sense if McGregor hired real boxing trainers in Freddie Roach and better sparring partners in Ward and/or Garcia. Or was he or his camp afraid to realize during training camp, in case they hired people who were really good in boxing, that McGregor lacked elite boxing skills?
Or is McGregor and his camp does not know what the “sweet science” is all about?
So who’s going to win on August 26? Okay, McGregor will knock out Mayweather in the first round. Har har har!