Wednesday 20 September 2017

'He's not very likeable' - Paulie Malignaggi talks sparring with Conor McGregor

Jack O'Toole

Former WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi has said that UFC Lightweight champion Conor McGregor is 'not a very likeable' sparring partner ahead of the Dubliner's bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas later this month.

Malignaggi agreed to spar with McGregor, despite being a vocal critic of the Irishman's decision to put his MMA career on hold to box Mayweather, after joining his training camp last month.

The New Yorker said that his sparring session with McGregor on Monday was 'rough' and 'intense', and got 'very dirty' in spots as McGregor continues his preparations for his professional boxing debut.

"I'll be honest, it got a little rough, it got a little tense, it got very dirty in spots in sparring," Malignaggi told The Dan Patrick Show  on Tuesday.

"He brings his game face into sparring. He's not very likeable, but I've got to admit I'm not very likeable either a lot of times in there.

"Also there had been words in the media about what we had said about each other before we even came to camp.

"I'm sure it all came to a head in sparring and I'm sure it will come to a head again during sparring. I'm not here to be friends with anybody and I've certainly seen the way he is with his sparring partners, he's definitely not here to be friends with any of his sparring partners."

Malignaggi said that he would still favour Mayweather to maintain his undefeated record but that he's been impressed by McGregor's work ethic, and that he has been convinced that the MMA star has not just taken the fight for the lucrative financial rewards that it presents.

"You still have to favour Floyd Mayweather," added Malignaggi.

"It's not a very easy fight for Conor. Conor is up against it but the opinion I have of Conor is that I see his dedication, I see how hard he is working everyday and I see he's serious about this.

"He didn't just do this for the payday, I see he's serious about this. He would love to upset everything, he would love to get this win and it would be a monumental result for him.

"He would love nothing more than to do all this, but of course, you're facing Floyd Mayweather but it's something that Conor relishes.

"He relishes the challenge and that's why I respect him a little more after being in camp with him. His game face is for real."

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