There was outcry when a video was posted of Paulie Malignaggi visiting Floyd Mayweather at this gym just two days before the big fight between Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
Malignaggi, at one point, was part of McGregor’s camp, sparring with him in preparation for the fight with Mayweather. But the two had a falling out weeks ago over leaked sparring photos. McGregor and Malignaggi got into a verbal altercation Tuesday in Las Vegas during fighter grand arrivals.
So, the video captured by FightHype of Mayweather and Malignaggi — in which Malignaggi referred to McGregor as a “sucker — caused a furor online. Many believed Malignaggi was colluding with Mayweather and divulging McGregor’s game plan. McGregor fans called for Showtime to drop Malignaggi, a retired boxer turned TV analyst, from the fight broadcast.
On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Malignaggi addressed that meeting with Mayweather for the first time. And he told Ariel Helwani that he found the whole situation to the ironic. Malignaggi said he felt fans jumped to conclusions based on the video — much like they did when McGregor, his team and the UFC posted photos and video of their sparring sessions.
“When I saw the pictures come out and I saw the videos come out, I’ll say this: I thought to myself, the irony of this,” Malignaggi said. “You can make pictures and video paint a picture that you might think is real, but it’s not real. Since when do these pictures and videos prove that I gave Floyd the game plan? Floyd didn’t even want the game plan. He didn’t care, he didn’t ask for it. I didn’t offer it and he didn’t ask for it.”
Malignaggi, who is now angling for a fight with McGregor, said he and Mayweather are friends and he only visited the gym to catch up.
“We were just catching up and joking around,” Malignaggi said. “Just having a good time. He was in very, very good spirits. You wouldn’t even realize it was fight week for him if you didn’t know him.”
The video made a lot of MMA fans upset, but Malignaggi said it was ridiculous to think he would reveal McGregor’s training secrets. Mayweather didn’t need to know McGregor’s strategy, he said.
“You think Floyd really needs the game plan to beat Conor McGregor?” Malignaggi said. “I mean, did you think Floyd had any other game plan besides just bringing the bitch out of him? Floyd’s only game plan was bringing the bitch out of him, that’s it.”
Mayweather ended up beating McGregor by TKO in the 10th round in a bout that was more competitive early on than many people thought. McGregor won the first three rounds on the scorecard of one judge. Malignaggi said McGregor did better than expected, but Mayweather delivered on his promise of winning by stoppage.
And that, he said, had nothing to do with any information Malignaggi gave Mayweather that night in his gym.
“The irony is that people jump to conclusions and they jumped to the wrong conclusion about this,” Malignaggi said. “Didn’t they jump to the wrong conclusion about my sparring pictures and the sparring videos he put out? I said, ‘That’s ironic.’ That’s ironic that these bum groupies fall for it every single time.”