'From a boxing standpoint, the fight is an absolute joke' - Former world boxing champion on McGregor v Mayweather
Former world boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi has dismissed the proposed fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather as ‘a joke’, but he suspects it could become the highest grossing fight in the history of the sport.
Former WBA welterweight champion Malignaggi echoed the views of many boxing aficionados as he looked ahead to a fight that edged closer after McGregor confirmed he agreed his end of the deal earlier this week.
Now Mayweather and his promotional team are working to finalise a deal that could see McGregor make his professional boxing debut in Las Vegas later this year.
While Malignaggi accepts there will be a fascination with the event, the New Yorker believes the boxing fraternity will struggle to take the fight seriously as McGregor takes on an undefeated fighter respected as one of the best of his era.
“Speaking just from a boxing standpoint, the fight is an absolute joke, of course it is, but I don’t want to think about it that way,” Malignaggi told the BBC.
“I want to think the event will be big, the promotion will be big, the press conferences will be fun. The entire event will be fun.
“As long as people don’t go into fight night expecting an explosion because that won’t happen.
“I don’t think McGregor has any chance, but I give him credit for stepping up to the plate, stepping up to the challenge.
“I think McGregor gets to about the sixth round and then he is stopped. Mayweather will continue to beat on him and I don’t think Conor knows how to defend himself with just his hands.
“This reminds me of when I was a little kid watching Mike Tyson fights and there was always someone in the room who would say; ‘You know what, for a million quid, I would get in the ring with Mike Tyson and get knocked out.
“McGregor is taking this fight for the money because he has to realise he has no chance, but he is going to get in the ring and I give him credit for that, but no, I don’t think for a second that this fight is competitive.”
Despite his pessimism over the event, Malignaggi believes the interest in the fight could see it become the biggest grossing fight in boxing, eclipsing the interest generated in Mayweather’s bout with Manny Pacquiao in May 2015.
“I think it has a chance to exceed Mayweather v Pacquiao because the boxing community are on the only people who think this fight is a joke,” he added.
“The boxing community is very small, it’s a niche. It will not persuade people to not watch this and it makes all the sense in the world for this to happen.”