In McGregor's Corner: The truth about what happened between Paulie Malignaggi and Conor McGregor
SORRY, Floyd who? Is there a big fight coming up involving some guy called Mayweather? Because for the past week it has been all about Paulie Malignaggi, Conor McGregor and that spar.
Any time I’ve logged on to social media, it’s been ‘Paulie say this’ or ‘Paulie says that’ – we all know Paulie can talk, but even he must be exhausted after doing so many interviews.
It’s almost a week since he left the training camp, and it was a shame to see him go. Although he was only really about for a week-and-a-half, Paulie was a good guy to have around the place.
But, having been here the whole time, some of the things he has come out with in the last seven days have taken me by surprise.
1. “I didn't like the fact I had to fly across the country on Monday, and they have me scheduled for 12 rounds on Tuesday. I thought it was a little bit of a set-up”
Paulie Malignaggi speaking to ESPN
Wednesday, August 2
Paulie had been in New York working on the Adrien Broner-Mikey Garcia fight for Showtime.
He arrived back with us on Monday evening and sparred on Tuesday, but I’m not really sure why he made such a deal about that. New York to Las Vegas is a five or six hour flight.
At the start of camp Dashon Johnston, one of the other sparring partners, flew from California to Dublin on the Sunday through Monday, and sparred on the Tuesday.
Conor did a four-city press tour that started in New York then moved on to Los Angeles, Toronto and London. The whole thing went on for a week straight, flying here, there and everywhere.
He was back in Vegas on the Sunday morning and sparred on the Monday with Dashon. I don’t really see the issue - is Paulie saying he could’ve been sharper?
2. “I pretty much talked shit that whole sparring session while I beat the brakes off him... The UFC PI has cameras all over the gym recording 24/7. The video exists UNEDITED of rounds one through 12 – let the fans see”
Paulie Malignaggi on Twitter
Friday, August 4
I did Paulie’s corner for the spar, their second after a feisty first encounter, and I can safely say it will be very interesting when the video comes out after the fight.
When you’re in sparring, sometimes you think you’re doing better than you are, but watching back afterwards can reveal the true nature of the spar. I’ve experienced that myself, you start to notice little things you did wrong, or maybe punches landed that you don’t remember.
Paulie came out smack talking from the start, he was saying ‘wipe that smirk off your face’ because Conor was smiling at him, that kind of thing.
Conor stayed very professional; Paulie was saying stuff and then getting hit. Conor chose his moments to talk back. There are tactics to mental warfare too, knowing when to talk, and then there’s stupidity.
It wasn’t a one-sided spar either way but I thought one was the clear winner overall and that was Conor. He was very calm, very professional and, honestly, he really impressed me on the day.
That’s just my opinion, people can make up their own minds when they see the video. Paulie has done plenty of talking, but he could be talking himself into a hole when the footage comes out after the Mayweather fight.
3. “It’s not nice to paint a picture that isn’t true, this was a pushdown in sparring, post the whole video rounds one through 12 UNEDITED”
Paulie Malignaggi on Twitter,
Friday, August 4
This picture, posted on Conor’s Instagram last Thursday, was the tipping point for Paulie.
We came home from the spar on the Tuesday night/early hours of Wednesday morning and we all went to bed.
On the Thursday, we were getting changed after training at the UFC performance institute and that’s when Paulie saw the photo for the first time. He was clearly pissed off, showing us his phone, saying ‘what the f**k?’ or whatever.
It was weird though because after that Conor came into the changing room but Paulie didn’t mention it, even though they did speak.
We were in the car home from training to get food and Paulie was like ‘drop me back to the house’. You could see he was hanging his head, thinking about things. He was in a bad mood.
We left him to the house and when we came back he was gone – we were only away about 45 minutes. He must’ve been straight in, suitcase packed, out the door.
When you join a Conor McGregor camp, you know pictures are going to be released every day. Sometimes they might not be the most flattering.
The first one they put up of me was a right uppercut landing on my jaw. As soon as the shot landed, I remember thinking ‘that’s going to be on Facebook or Instagram’.
But I took it in my stride – at least I knew I could take a punch.
Paulie’s at a different stage in his career than me. I’m only starting out, he’s a two-weight world champion who has featured in some huge fights.
Obviously he saw that picture and his pride was dented. I can understand that, but at the same time he was on TV doing interviews the week before, talking about Conor’s power being overblown and all this stuff.
He was talking to Mayweather’s guys, talking to pro boxers and doing interviews – what did he think was going to happen? Did he expect to just come in here and talk shit?
As for the ‘knockdown’ itself, you can make your own mind up when the footage is eventually released, if anybody even cares by that stage.
I’ve seen people say that, from the photo, you can tell that it was a push down by the body language of Joe Cortez. I can tell you now – Joe didn’t see the incident that led to Paulie being on the ground. He didn’t see it.
At the end of the day it was a spar, so what is he going to do - give him a count?
Anyway, that was last week, now we’re into a new phase three weeks out from the Mayweather fight.
The attitude of Conor, the coaches and rest of the team to Paulie walking out has been straightforward - shit happens, life moves on.
This camp is not about Paulie. When we’re in the gym, we’re concentrating on Conor, getting him ready. I did some school sparring with him on the Thursday, the day Paulie left and it was as if nothing had happened.
This is not the Big Brother house. It’s a training camp, and that’s all anybody left here cares about.