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Midnight Mania! Malignaggi has newfound respect for Conor McGregor- ‘This guy really believes it’

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor World Press Tour - London Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

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Paulie Malignaggi, after sparring with Conor McGregor, says he has newfound respect for the Irishman. Via

"It makes me respect McGregor to see his work ethic that he's put into the training camp,” Malignaggi told Sky Sports. “Seeing him work hard every day and see that he's really determined to upset the odds.”

"When you talk to Conor, at first I started thinking this guy doesn't really think he's going to win this, it's just a $100 million fight for him,” he continued. "Then when you really start to talk to him, you start to realize that this guy really believes it down deep inside his heart and he's got every reason to, because every time he's been doubted in his life he has been able to overcome those odds and win, no matter what it is.”

That authenticity of belief is at the core of McGregor’s drug-free efforts for this fight, and as Malignaggi sees it, is a result of McGregor’s background and story.

"Come out of poverty, become a UFC champion, become a two-time two-weight UFC champion,” Malignaggi said. “Whatever it's been, he's done it. He has no reason to ever doubt himself, because he is yet to be proven wrong.”

"From the outside, we're going to doubt him again, but Conor McGregor doesn't have any doubts in his mind."

And even if McGregor doesn’t have “Oh my god” power, Malignaggi says he does have some unique tools he brings to the table.

"Timing wise it makes it a little bit different to time. I'm not going to say difficult to time, because you can get a timing on him, but at first glance you are not going to get a look that you're accustomed to and then depending on him, his aggression, his non-aggression, because Conor has different methods of executing his little game-plans that he has,” Malignaggi explained.

"It's going to be up to Conor to throw those little curve balls here and there and throw things a bit out of line for Floyd, and see if he can get Floyd's respect."

While Malignaggi clearly joins most, including Mike Tyson, in believing Conor will be a huge underdog, he has come to respect that McGregor is not trying to scam anyone, outlandish press tour aside. He has a deep sense of self-efficacy built on accomplishment that tells him he can do anything he sets out to accomplish. While Floyd beating Conor is as outcome is as sure as anything has ever been in combat sports, that belief is enough to give one that tiny, ephemeral seed of doubt- who knows? Perhaps McGregor could really pull off the impossible.


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