Last week, disgruntled former training partner Paulie Malignaggi warned that Conor McGregor was a dirty fighter who might get disqualified against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. if he continued to use the roughhouse tactics he employed in sparring. But now, the man who oversaw those sparring sessions is refuting that claim.
Hall of Fame boxing referee Joe Cortez, who was hired by the McGregor camp to oversee all of his sparring session and train McGregor in the intricacies of the boxing ruleset, recently spoke with The Mac Life, saying that McGregor is an excellent student of the game and that he was “pleasantly surprised” with how quick McGregor learned.
“Working with Conor was a great experience because here, I’m breaking in a fighter who’s an MMA fighter and I have to teach him the rules of boxing. I was pleasantly surprised to see what a great student he is. He pays close attention to everything I tell him, everything in detail, because I want him to do everything correct for the fight Saturday night.
“So far, every session that we’ve had has been getting better and better and better. So I’m very pleased with his performance.”
Cortez was a widely respected referee who worked over 170 world title bouts during his career. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011 and retired shortly thereafter. In fact, Cortez was the man in the middle for one of Mayweather’s most controversial fights, his knockout victory over Victor Ortiz, the last knockout of Mayweather’s career. That big fight pedigree is why Cortez was brought in, and he says that despite Malignaggi’s claims, he doesn’t expect any shifty business on Saturday night.
“[Conor] knows the kind of referee that I’ve been throughout the years. I’ve refereed close to 200 world championship fights, so I think he pays a lot more attention and I speak to him with a lot more details in what can go wrong if he doesn’t comply by the rules. So I think he’s very pleased, just as I am. Like I said, every session he gets better, he wants to learn more, he keeps asking me questions, and I tell him exactly what’s gotta be done.
“I think everything is gonna be just fine come Saturday night.”
Aside from refereeing, Cortez was also a Golden Gloves champion and currently works as a boxing analyst for ESPN. A man with as much knowledge of boxing as Cortez has, and the first-hand experience of presiding over every one of McGregor’s sparring sessions, there might be no one better to ask the question everyone wants answered: can McGregor actually pull this off? And though he didn’t make a prediction, Cortez believes that there’s definitely a chance.
“The boxing community has taken a lot of interest in this fight because they’ve never seen anything like that. Conor has been showing that he has the confidence in himself, he definitely has the skills as far as MMA is concerned, he has the strength, he can punch. . . The boxing fans will say, Mayweather should win, but you know what I say? Anyone who has a punch, has a puncher’s chance.”
Conor McGregor boxes Floyd Mayweather, Jr. on Saturday, Aug. 26, in Las Vegas, Nev.
Predictions. John Kavanagh gives two predictions about Mayweather vs. McGregor.
Artemij Sitenkov. The first man to beat McGregor is auctioning off his fight shorts.
Suuure. NAC’s Bob Bennett says money had nothing to do with approving MayMac.
Yesterday’s MMA Hour was a good one.
And here’s Kavanagh from that with his extreme confidence.
Showtime put up all the All-Accesses yesterday so here they are.
Only a few more days of Skip Bayless talking about fights.
Embedded, Ep. 1.
Show the Art. Mayweather-McGregor analysis plus Danis-Tonon breakdown.
The Co-Main Event. MayMac discussion as well as JDS vs. USADA and Masvidal-Wonderboy.
Severe MMA. Mayweather vs. McGregor discussion.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
The big announcement.
I am announcing my departure from calling fights w/ the UFC. I have been offered an amazing leadership role with a fast growing Real Estate Firm and will be attending Northwestern (Kellogg) for my executive MBA this fall. Thank you to everyone for years of support, especially the athletes and coaches whom I love deeply. I will continue to be a huge MMA supporter and attend many events. Thank you to everyone from FOX and Zuffa who helped me so much in this journey. @jon_anik you are my brother and that will never change, and I cannot tell you how important your friendship has been to me. My wife @teressa_stann who has endured so much and supported me through war, fighting, and now this transition, I love forever and thank you so much. This move is to focus more on my family. I traveled 26 weekends last year for work while also working a full time job. Transition and change are a part of life and I am really excited to prove my worth to my new company and hopefully showcase the diverse skills military veterans and mixed martial artists possess. Thank you all. - Brian
I was gonna yell at you but after reading your reasoning I guess it makes sense. Nah changed my mind I hate you for leaving https://t.co/lYUpBudoYW— Forrest Griffin (@ForrestGriffin) August 21, 2017
Thank you. Stann will be missed. He took his job very seriously and raised the bar for all of us. https://t.co/QS7jQFpYcw— Dan Hardy (@danhardymma) August 21, 2017
I have not worked with a finer human being. Anyone would be extremely lucky to work for Brian & I look forward to eventually voting for him https://t.co/vaR9RXk7r7— Sean Shelby (@seanshelby) August 21, 2017
The man who stole my nickname You are the man we will def miss yah. Best of luck on new career hopefully talk soon. https://t.co/14eZ0zztpA— Chris Weidman (@ChrisWeidmanUFC) August 22, 2017
@BrianStann success in your new endeavor,30 Years of Broadcasting & you're the gold standard for preparation, you have my vote for President— Mike Goldberg (@GoldieOnTV) August 22, 2017
Conor getting those endorsement deals.
Cigano says he’s still training for Ngannou and hopes USADA corrects this.
Eu vou continuar treinando e pronto para lutar, na esperança que a USADA corrija esse grande mal-entendido e me libere para lutar. @danawhite eu vou estar aguardando sua ligação, eu ainda estou aqui para o Ngannou. Vamos nessa. @ufc @ufc_brasil @francisngannou @americantopteam @mabogea @marcelo_guedes9 @canalcombateoficial
Conor bringing those Cage Warrior belts to the ring with him it seems.
Can one still be considered a cub if they have children?
Chandler says Primus is refusing to fight him.
The beef continues.
@Cody_Nolove You throwing threats out that you not gonna stand by brotha. You wanna act "gangsta"? I'll meet U in the middle. Shit wont end— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) August 22, 2017
@Cody_Nolove I tried to put the shit to rest and you STILL got my nuts in ya mouth. Guilty conscience?— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) August 22, 2017
He still crying— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) August 22, 2017
Could be good news.
The last time Floyd fought a guy way bigger and stronger than him.
Back in 2013, Floyd Mayweather took Canelo to school. Standing right in front of the bigger, stronger Canelo, Floyd toyed with his opponent! pic.twitter.com/xZMwzHAGjk— EditinKing Boxing (@EditinKing) August 21, 2017
Brunson unhappy with his new fight poster.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
Shame to see Brian Stann leave. He was the best in the business and it wasn’t particularly close. Hope he is happy in all his future endeavors and with his family. His gain is most definitely our loss.
4 days. Hang in there.
Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.
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