Brooklyn bred analyst Paul Malignaggi hasn’t unretired from active participation as a boxer, but he did lace them back up yesterday, Monday, to do some in ring work.
The Showtime color man, age 36, was invited to Las Vegas to take part in training camp for Conor McGregor, the 21-3 UFC mixed martial artist who will be trying his hands in the ring, not the Octagon. Even ultra casuals know McGregor will be in the deepest of water with the king of sharks, Floyd Mayweather, who can make even skilled practitioners of the sweet science look soured in the skills department. In fall of 2013, Mayweather dominated Canelo Alavarez to the point the Mexican won a single round or so on my card.
McGregor and team know he’s not the ace technician the 40 year old Mayweather is, and he’s banking on the fact that other assets will allow him to compete in a manner in which he’s accustomed. His unconventionality, he believes, will be a weapon. However, he’s still in a place where some basics, some building blocks, can and should be improved upon. And that’s why his people and he decided to bring in Malignaggi, who as a boxer featured a persistent jab, which set the table for him potshotting with crisp rights. He is a smart and consistent mover, who understands angles quite well, so McGregor can get a sense, in some small way, of things he will be seeing August 26 at the T-Mobile in Las Vegas.
I asked Malignaggi how that first day at McGregor camp went. How did he feel sparring the Irishman?
“I felt OK,” the New Yorker said. “Eight rounds, good work. I can’t disclose too much but McGregor is no dummy….there’s a method to his madness.”
You will note the picture accompanying this piece, which sees the Dubliner holding both hands behind his back, daring the Brooklyner to try and tag him. “They say I’ve got no hands,” he captioned the Instagram snap. We do wonder, a millisecond after this pic was taken, did Paulie snake out a lead right and punish Conor for his hubris?
The McGregor v Mayweather fight will screen on PPV Aug. 26. Tix are on sale Monday.