Former boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi has been extremely critical of UFC champion Conor McGregor ahead of his showdown with undefeated pugilist Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Aug. 26. After sparring with McGregor earlier this month, Malignaggi has done his best to stay in the public limelight ahead of the “Money Fight,” and is now warning McGregor to clean up his act before he gets disqualified inside of the ring.
“Rules are different in mixed martial arts than they are in boxing and he wanted to know what he’s doing wrong and what he’s doing right and what not so every single sparring session he had, [Hall of Fame referee] Joe Cortez was there,” Malignaggi said on a recent episode of The Herd with Colin Cowherd.
“One thing Conor has to understand - and you see that in that clip that they sent out - it wasn’t so much that he’s landing shots because most of the shots are missing. If anything, they’ve shot themselves in the foot because all the dirty stuff he does that the referee will actually warn him for. In that particular sparring session, there’s no judges, but he lost two points from that particular sparring session for fouls, for rabbit punching and hitting behind the head and pushing behind the head.”
McGregor, who is regarded as one of the best strikers in mixed martial arts today, is making his professional boxing debut against one of the best boxers of all time. The Irishman has brought in a slew of training partners, as well as Hall of Fame boxing referee Joe Cortez, to help him prepare for his switch from the cage to the ring.
According to Malignaggi, “Notorious” has a long way to go before he fully grasps the ins and outs of professional boxing.
“What he really has to learn is to try to keep it within the rules because he’s a little bit confused as to what he’s doing in there,” Malginaggi explained. “He’s a little bit confused, especially on the inside as you can see on that tape. He’s trying to grab and push the head down. Inside fighting in boxing is very different from inside fighting in mixed martial arts. You can’t grab. You actually have to know what you’re doing on the inside. . .
“I think Conor has to learn to turn punches over but more than that he needs to learn how to keep it clean. He’s gonna get himself disqualified if he keeps punching behind the head and pushing the head down. He needs to understand that inside fighting in boxing is different than inside fighting in mixed martial arts.”
When McGregor meets Mayweather on Aug. 26 live on Showtime pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, he’ll have the opportunity to prove his doubters wrong and become the biggest name in combat sports today.