Sparring partner given the boot
Conor McGregor has been dealt a significant setback less than three weeks before his professional boxing debut against Floyd Maweather, when one of his sparring partners announced he would be flying home after describing the Irishman’s preparations for the fight as a “fiasco”.
Retired boxer Paulie Malignaggi (pictured), who agreed to join McGregor’s Las Vegas training camp shortly after the world press tour to promote the fight concluded, has said that he is angry photographs have emerged of McGregor appearing to get the better of him in the ring.
The photos show Malignaggi on the canvas as McGregor stands above him, although the American has insisted that he was pushed – rather than knocked down. He has called on McGregor to release video from the training session, to show what he believes is the full story.
“I didn’t want to become the story, and that’s what this has turned into,” Malignaggi told ESPN. “I won’t release any information about his game plan or what he’s working on – I wouldn’t do that. But this has become a fiasco. It’s a circus.
“And I do want that sparring video released. The UFC’s PI definitely has that video. I understand it can’t come out now, but Conor, if you have any balls, release what really happened.
In an interview for MMA Hour, Malignaggi said: "He got better from the first time to the second time but it's still new to him so the increments he's growing at are quite small. My reactions and timing started to come back so I got way better from the first one.
"He did well for five rounds but from six on he became more hit-able. I'm trash talking all the time, telling him he can't hang with me, he's not used to these body shots. He stopped talking because he wanted to save his energy.
"He pushed me down during one of his worst rounds because he needed a break. I said 'there's no breaks here', and started hitting him to the body and he began to whimper. After 10 rounds I was spent but I did 11 and 12 because I said I would, and he came on stronger.
"I remember thinking he did show some character to come back the way he did, but if I had been as consistent as I had been, would he still have shown the same character? That's what I wanted to find out the next time."
But there was to be no third session, for Malignaggi's services were no longer required.
McGregor v Mayweather is happening on Saturday, August 26. While the times haven't been announced, it will certainly be a late night or very early start for viewers in the UK, so expect to be up well into Sunday.