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Morning Report: Hall of Fame boxing referee who trained Conor McGregor says fouling won’t be an issue against Mayweather

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Nevada Boxing Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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.


MUST-READ STORIES

Farewell. Brian Stann announces he moving on from commentary and the UFC.

Apologies. Cody Garbrandt clears up controversial statements about Aljamain Sterling.

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.


VIDEO STEW

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.


LISTEN UP

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.

Well wishes.

Conor getting those endorsement deals.

Do you get your toothpaste delivered? @hismileteeth #hismile #teethwhitening #toothpaste #ad

A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

Cigano says he’s still training for Ngannou and hopes USADA corrects this.

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.

Could be good news.

The last time Floyd fought a guy way bigger and stronger than him.

Brunson unhappy with his new fight poster.

A post shared by Lyoto Machida (@lyotomachidafw) on

USADA.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Lyoto Machida (22-7) vs. Derek Brunson (17-5); UFC Fight Night 119, Oct. 28.

Deiveson Figueiredo (12-0) vs. Jarred Brooks (13-0); UFC Fight Night 119, Oct. 28.

Court McGee (18-6) vs. Sean Strickland (18-2); UFC Fight Night 120, Nov. 11.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2010: Jorge Santiago stopped Kazuo Misaki to retain his World Victory Road middleweight title.


FINAL THOUGHTS

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.


If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.