- Paulie Malignaggi has challenged Conor McGregor to a “winner-takes-all” boxing fight.
- The two rivals have a checkered history that goes back years, and Malignaggi says he would “hospitalize” and bankrupt the UFC star should they ever fight for real.
- McGregor cannot negotiate with anyone until he learns whether he faces punishment for his alleged involvement in the post-fight brawls that marred UFC 229.
- A hearing is due on January 29, but if McGregor is permitted to fight in Las Vegas again this year, then Malignaggi may well find himself on the shortlist of potential opponents.
Paulie Malignaggi has warned Conor McGregor that he would “hospitalize” and bankrupt him should they ever fight for real in a boxing ring.
The two rivals have a checkered history that goes back years. McGregor recruited Malignaggi, an accomplished former world-level boxer, into his training camp in preparation for his crossover fight with Floyd Mayweather in 2017.
Malignaggi was tasked with mimicking Mayweather’s fighting style, which is no easy feat but one Malignaggi could attempt thanks to the slick box-and-move strategies he used when he headlined championship title fights from 2006 to 2014.
However, their training relationship only lasted for a matter of days – McGregor released sparring footage of him seemingly knocking Malignaggi to the floor with a punch, much to Malignaggi’s chagrin.
Malignaggi then left the camp because he felt “exploited.” He also broke a golden rule of boxing by revealing McGregor’s biggest weakness, and confronted McGregor in Las Vegas to call him a “b—-,” a “p—-,” and told him to remember to “bring his balls” just days before he lost to Mayweather.
Now, he is ramping up his anti-McGregor rhetoric even more. “Conor knows that his time is coming to an end as he’s become the piñata of combat sports,” Malignaggi told the Off The Brawl podcast on YouTube this week.
“There’s rumours of me and him negotiating [for a fight] but we were not negotiating,” he said, adding: “I don’t think there’s a more lucrative fight out there for Conor than me at this point.”
However, if a fight between the rivals were to come to fruition, Malignaggi believes it could be the end of McGregor’s legacy as a top fighter as the Irishman has lost three of his last five contests in UFC and in boxing. Losing to Malignaggi also would extend that win-loss run to four defeats in six.
“I will make sure his legacy is dead and buried as I know he has no legacy,” Malignaggi said. “He was not as good as people thought. It has now been proven. Legacy is made over longevity, and McGregor has no longevity. He’s the punching bag of combat sports. He’s a con artist.”
Malignaggi would welcome negotiations and believes the UFC could strike a deal with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn and advisor Al Haymon. He even said one of America’s biggest broadcasters is already on board. “There’s no other fight he can make [where] he makes more money than he does fighting me – the problem is, he gets beaten by me,” he said.
“Hearn can easily put the fight together, Haymon can easily put the fight together, Showtime have said they’d be interested in it. There’s money in the fight.”
But it is a fight Malignaggi said would result in McGregor ending up in a hospital, beaten to a pulp. “In boxing I’d be interested in it… I would love to fight Conor McGregor in a winner-takes-all fight in a boxing match, I would absolutely love it because I would beat him to a pulp, I would hospitalize him, and I’d make him go home broke, too.”
McGregor, though, will not be able to negotiate any fight, with Malignaggi or with anybody else, until he discovers what punishment, if any, he faces for his alleged involvement in the post-fight brawls that marred UFC 229.
McGregor will learn his fate after a Nevade State Athletic Commission hearing on January 29, and should he be permitted to fight in Las Vegas once again this year, then Malignaggi may well find himself on the shortlist of potential opponents.
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