In an effort to take down one world champion boxer, Conor McGregor turned to another: Paulie Malignaggi. But Malignaggi, who’s held world championship belts in two weights as a boxer, isn’t so sure the UFC’s former two-weight champion has the punching power to take down Floyd Mayweather
Malignaggi, the once lightning-quick 36-year-old, held the the IBF junior welterweight title from 2007 to 2008 and the WBA welterweight title from 2012 to 2013 before retiring in March.
“We did 12 hard rounds last night,” Malignaggi told TMZ of a training session with McGregor. “Last night we could have probably charged you at the door.”
Very few are even giving the 28-year-old McGregor a chance in the August 26 boxing match with the undefeated Mayweather, 40. But those who are cite his ability to end things with one big punch.
While Malignaggi said that McGregor had improved immensely in the 12 days between a prior training session, he still didn’t seem so sure a one-power-punch ending is in the cards.
“Conor doesn’t have bad power. It’s not ‘Oh my god’ power … but it is respectable power,” Malignaggi said.
“Every time I say this people get offended. It’s like they want you to lie. It’s like they want you to say he has this incredible power like I’ve never felt anything like it before.”
“It is power to where if it hits you, it’s gonna get your attention and it may even put you down if you’re wearing those smaller fight gloves.”
Spectators said the session was so intense, it was more like a real fight than a spar.
“I was in Paulie’s corner and although he hasn’t fought since March and is retired, he’s getting sharper by the day,” 20-year-old Irish boxer Tiernan Bradley wrote for the Irish News.
“You can see he’s still a class operator, and it was an interesting spar to watch—more a full on fight actually. Conor told us all when Paulie came into camp ‘this is not a spar, I want to fight him. I’m ready for a war’.”
Bradley also warned Malignaggi not to question Conor McGregor’s power if the two are going to spar again: “I saw what he said about Conor’s power and he’s playing a bit of a dangerous game because he still has more spars to go with Conor, and Conor will be out there to knock him out. He’ll want to show him he has ‘oh my God’ power.”