Paul Malignaggi: The Truth, the Whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth
By Georgene Zagarino (Contributing Journalist)
August 25, 2017
Long Island, N.Y. – “On fight night, you’re going to have his people who don’t agree with what I’m explaining; my commentary is always boxing. Its analysis based and not opinion based.” – Paul Malignaggi
By now, everyone in the entire world is aware of the upcoming mega-fight, taking place between two of the biggest names in sports and entertainment: Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
What has taken place before this August 26 matchup is a sparring match between retired two-time world champion, future International Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee, and Showtime Championship Boxing/CBS boxing analysis Paul Malignaggi, against the current two-division UFC Champion Conor McGregor.
The sparring session was tough for the retired champion:
“Admittedly, I wasn’t in twelve-round shape and I tell everyone that the last two rounds, I had a tough time getting through them.” – Paul Malignaggi
Having not trained in quite some time and coming off a long plane ride to workout with the young fighter McGregor, “The Magic Man” stepped into the squared circle to help a man prepare for one of the biggest fights in the history of both sports: BOXING and MMA. What took place after has caused many fans, fighters (retired/active), and so-called “boxing aficionados”, to take a deeper look at what transpired on that now “infamous recorded video” of the two men in sparring.
In speaking with Brooklynfights.com journalist Georgene Zagarino, Malignaggi held no punches back, describing exactly what took place in the gym that day. Malignaggi also explained his reasoning for wanting to help the brash McGregor, with whom he has traded words through social media, before and since on.
GZ (BKF): “How are you feeling Paulie?”
Malignaggi: “I feel good.”
GZ (BKF): “Now I know you saw the footage that Dana White (President of UFC) released of you and McGregor sparring. What are your thoughts on that?”
Malignaggi: “I can’t say I was surprised. He’s the kind of guy that loves controversy. He’s not the most honest guy in the world. I sought of expected it. I can’t say that I was shocked. I take it with a grain of salt. He’s been throwing shots my way for some time. In a weird way, he keeps my name in his mouth. It’s like me against McGregor is being talked about more as a matchup than him against Mayweather.”
“He’s (White) kept it afloat. He had the video edited. Nobody is ever going to mistake him for being Steven Spielberg because the guy isn’t that smart, but he knows people who can edit very well and who to take the video to. He had it edited the way he wanted it and of course he wanted to put it out there like I took a twelve-round beating. What that showed me is that the full video, unedited, will never be released.”
“At this point, if you put the video out you’re only going to make yourself look stupid. For now, I can only expect them to put more edited pieces. If they would put out the full video it would make themselves look like liars.
“Admittedly, I wasn’t in twelve round shape and I tell everyone that the last two rounds, I had a tough time getting through them. I was fairly satisfied with the first ten rounds. I feel like I did well and I was satisfied with the work I put in. If I’m in that kind of shape you can’t survive a twelve-round beating. To survive a beating, you must be in shape to go a full twelve rounds.”
GZ (BKF): “What do you say to the people in boxing media who feel that it was a knockdown? All these posts on Instagram, Twitter, etc.?”
Malignaggi: “Everyone is going to have their opinion. Enough slow-motion video has come out to destabilize that theory. I’ll admit when you first look at the video, it’s well edited to the point where I was like this didn’t happen, I don’t remember this happening. I had to watch the video two-three times myself because I realized they changed the whole video on me. Then I realized that yes, it’s the video but it’s edited a certain way and the camera angles are put in a certain way. It was done very well and even the people in boxing at first were thinking it was a knock down.”
“I think anyone that has seen enough slow-motion at this point see that the cat is coming out the bag slowly and that they’re making liars out of themselves, slowly but surely. I think at this point really want to see if it happened. Sought of like Hilary Clinton and the election: everyone thought she was winning until the truth came out. It’s the same thing here.
“People want to believe that Conor McGregor did a certain job on me; it’s cute, but it’s not reality, and people still want to believe in it. People want to believe that McGregor is looking a certain way in camp. These people are adorable. They’re making McGregor believe in himself to where he can punch and fight a little bit. It’s been a weird promotion.”
GZ (BKF): “Do you see drastic improvement in McGregor’s boxing ability from the first sparring session to the second?”
Malignaggi: “I’ve seen subtle improvements, tactically. However, the main thing that the video exposes him for is the fact that he fights dirty on the inside and that’s not so much that he’s trying to be a dirty fighter, it’s because he doesn’t know what he’s doing when he’s on the inside.”
“You must understand the instinct of a mixed-martial artist. His instinct is to grab or latch on to you; push your head down to land a knee. He has a very bad habit of rabbit-punching, which you see in the video. I think they’ve shot themselves in the foot in the fact that they’ve exposed themselves in everything that they do. A fighter, in boxing, it’s all strikes. You must have a very particular set of skills to be able to fight inside.
To fight on the inside is the most difficult thing to learn in boxing. When you fight on the inside, you are susceptible every punch thrown at that range. In boxing, it takes years to learn how to fight inside. With McGregor, he’s not even bothering to learn how to fight on the inside. He’s just using holds, lock-ups, head push downs, and rabbit punches.”
“The shame that they’ve done is that they might’ve been able to use these little subtle things but now it’s not so subtle anymore. People are more aware of what he does and what he’s bringing into the fight. Now, everyone is going to have a heads up on it; the referee is going to be made aware of it, and they’ve shot themselves in the foot. At least if he showed up on fight night this way then it would be a shock to the referee. He (McGregor) is going to have a hard time keeping up with those tactics.”
GZ (BKF): “At this point is it personal between you and McGregor? Will we see a Malignaggi vs McGregor matchup in the future?”
Malignaggi: “I don’t think he’s that important to make it personal but there’s a dislike there, that’s for sure. He has a lot of women-like qualities; he changes his story every time; I can’t respect him as a man. He focuses more on his social media instead of Mayweather is doing in the gym”
“Mayweather is the proven winner at the end of the day. To discuss a fight between me and McGregor is too early because we need to see how he’ll look against Mayweather. He doesn’t necessarily have to win, but he needs to save face somehow in the fight because he’s put himself in a position.”
“By predicting a win by fourth round knockout, now he must perform. He has everyone in the world thinking that he’s this type of monster, he’s got to perform now. perform now. And that’s the risk: if he doesn’t come out and perform then this whole thing gets blown out of the water; this whole thing will implode”
GZ (BKF): “The situation between you both, will it give you any trouble to call the fight evenly?”
Malignaggi: “My commentary is always about X’s and O’s. It’s always about boxing. Its analysis based and not opinion based. My commentary is more about the breakdown of the fight, more of the tactical of what he (McGregor) and Mayweather does inside the ring. Once you focus on the fight itself, you eliminate your opinion.”
“This fight will not affect my commentating whatsoever. At the end of the day, I know that fans of McGregor from social media and all over the world will dislike every word I say when I speak his name. Regardless of that, my job is to call commentate on this fight. His fans will be against me regardless. If I don’t comment that McGregor is the greatest fighter ever they will label me a hater. I’m okay with that. If I don’t say he hits the hardest and or punches the fastest I’m going to hear an earful. They will label me a hater. I’m okay with that.”
“On fight night, you’re going to have people who don’t agree with what I’m explaining. From a professional boxing standpoint, then yes, they will be mad. Regardless if I commentate and explain tactical X’s and O’s of the sweet science, I will still be viewed as a hater and I’m okay with that. At the end of the day, it’s always a professional analysis from me and if they choose to follow along, then they’re welcomed to follow.”
For continued support, you can follow Malignaggi at:
Georgene Zagarino is an amateur female boxer, fighting out Westbury Boxing Gym Boxing. She is a passionate writer and loves the “Sweet Science” of boxing.
You can also follow Georgene Zagarino on:
- Instagram: @zagarino_