FIRST off, the fact that Conor McGregor was able to hang in there with Paulie Malignaggi-a two-time world champion, in sparring speaks well of his progress.
By some accounts he seemed to have done more than hang in there as he allegedly acquitted himself quite well.
Of course Malignaggi himself disputes this and claims he got the better of the “Notorious One” in their two sparring sessions. The Mcgregor camp has recently released a 30-second clip of him pummeling Malignaggi and “knocking” him down.
KNOCKDOWN. Malignaggi claims this wasn’t the case and calls it a pushdown.
Already the internet- being the cesspool that attracts opinions from numerous boxing “experts”, was bombarded with numerous takes on the matter. Some were helpful, others vacuous while others were just plain toxic.
I say that’s too much ado about nothing. So what if he knocked down Malignaggi in sparring? So what if he did? Malignaggi is nowhere near the caliber of a Floyd Mayweather Jr and it’s pure folly to use him as a metric.
RECORD. Malignaggi has won two world titles so that seems to legitimize his stature as a good fighter.
But take note that Malignaggi is a fighter who wins fights by making his opponents look bad. He’s a fighter who has more losses than knockouts (36-8, 7KOs). His first world title came against a faded 36-year old Lovemore Ndou while he won his second world title via TKO when Vyacheslav Sevchenko couldn’t see anything out of his left eye.
I’m not trying to denigrate Malignaggi’s achievements here. All I’m trying to do is provide perspective. Malignaggi relies on his hand speed to win fights, and so he looked good against slower, second-tier fighters.
But he came up short against elite opposition and was stopped by Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan, Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. He also lost via decision to Miguel Cotto and Adrien Broner.
With only seven stoppage wins in a 17-year career, you know he can’t punch his way out of a paper bag and so he can’t deter a big, strong guy like Mcgregor from bullying his way in.
During the second sparring session, Malignaggi claimed he was still jet-lagged and was uninformed that they would be going 12 rounds.
Remember that the 36-year old “Magic Man” retired already early this year and the pics and footage that were released clearly shows he’s not in fighting shape.
Based solely on his MMA fights, Conor has some solid striking skills and he could possibly handle himself well in a real boxing match against a retired champion with mediocre accomplishments like Malignaggi.
But boy, this is Floyd Mayweather Jr you will be fighting and I sure hope you don’t get complacent because of that Paul Malignaggi interlude.
LAST ROUND. It’s on my kumpare, Junjun Caraballe of the MTCC branch 2, Talisay City who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers!
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on August 13, 2017.
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