Did Conor McGregor knock Paulie Malignaggi down in sparring? Was it a push?
Floyd Mayweather said he isn’t really sure, but doesn’t seem to think it matters at all. Mayweather said his takeaway from watching the clips released by UFC president Dana White was a bit different.
“We’re sitting here judging Paulie, a guy that’s been retired and just commentating and traveling the world, not going to the gym at all, going in there with a guy that’s just working out — an athlete period, that’s just working out,” Mayweather said Thursday on a media conference call. “Every day, every day. Honestly, it shouldn't have even went 12 rounds with a young guy that’s an athlete.”
Mayweather will meet McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion, in a unique, blockbuster boxing match Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. McGregor brought Malignaggi in for sparring in preparation, but Malignaggi left his camp unhappy about leaked photos from sparring. White released some actual videos, showing McGregor getting the better of Malignaggi, last Friday on social media.
There was something else Mayweather noticed, too, from the short clips: McGregor committed some fouls. Malignaggi said on FS1 that McGregor actually got two points taken away in the sparring match by veteran boxing referee Joe Cortez, who was brought in for the sessions.
“I had a chance to see it and my thoughts is, it was real interesting,” Mayweather said. “But, you know, a lot of rabbit punching, illegal rabbit punching behind the head. A lot of shots were illegal. A lot of grappling, a lot of wrestling, a lot of illegal shots. That’s just my honest opinion.
“I’m pretty sure the referee is going to be fair on both sides. I want the referee to be fair and treat both competitors — myself and Conor McGregor — [the same]. Be even and treat us fair. I just want to have a good solid fight.”
Mayweather said McGregor was “extremely dirty” in the footage he watched.
“He had Joe Cortez in his training camp, which is a great thing,” Mayweather said. “Even though he had Joe Cortez in his training camp, I still seen him being extremely dirty. But my job is not to worry about the referee, my job is to go out there and fight and let the referee do his job.”
Mayweather said that McGregor, who is making his pro boxing debut, will have nothing to worry about, because he’ll be coming forward in this fight. Mayweather has said he owes it to the fans to make this fight exciting, after criticism of his methodical, defensive fighting style in previous bouts.
“Like I said on numerous occasions building up to this fight, I’m coming straight ahead, so he don’t have nothing to worry about,” Mayweather said. “I look forward following the Queensberry rules of boxing and I’m pretty sure he looks forward to following the Queensberry rules of boxing.”