Former welterweight boxing world champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi has been busy with his post-fighting career as a broadcast analyst and color commentator for Showtime Sports, but it doesn’t mean he has forgotten how to fight. Malignaggi, who is calling the Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor crossover superfight this August 26th in Las Vegas, is making his presence felt in more ways than one.
Malignaggi has joined McGregor in his camp, providing the UFC lightweight champion with quality rounds of sparring. This is invaluable experience for McGregor who has never stepped into a boxing ring professionally. Malignaggi is of course a boxing veteran, and one of the most stylistic and technical fighters of his time.
How has sparring gone between Malignaggi and McGregor behind closed doors?
Malignaggi and McGregor began sparring a week ago. Photos have leaked online with McGregor’s hands behind his back making Malignaggi look silly. But are they real? Or was that photo staged?
They certainly looked real. Furthermore, Malignaggi isn’t the type of guy to string the public along. He has made it well-known that he believes McGregor won’t amount to anything much against Mayweather. Although he does believe that McGregor is going in there with a sound game plan.
This fight really comes down to how much Mayweather has left versus how well McGregor executes his strategy. There is absolutely no way McGregor outboxes Mayweather, so an unorthodox strategy is what Team McGregor is banking on.
What can Malignaggi say about Conor McGregor’s punching power?
Malignaggi has been known to throw down with the best of them. Right now, he’s the only guy outside of McGregor’s team who has any idea what the Irishman plans to do against Mayweather.
“Do you want to know if he hits hard? Yeah, I mean, he’s not a weak puncher. I’ll say that,” Malignaggi said to the Big Brown Breakdown. “People are dying for me to say, ‘Oh he hits hard!’ Oh, his big left hand.’ Listen, if Conor hits you, you’re going to feel it. He’s a grown man.
“I’d say he’s an above average puncher. If he lands a shot with 10 ounce gloves, it will probably get your attention. Is it ‘Oh my God power’? No, ‘Oh my God power’ is very rare.
“I’ve sparred thousands of rounds in my life, I’ve sparred hundreds of people in my life … the amount people that I sparred that had ‘Oh my God power’ is probably only a handful.
“More than anything he’s accurate and I think that’s what plays into the success he has with his punches. Nothing was like overwhelmingly powerful. I mean, he’s got power. He’s more accurate I’d say than anything.”
Malignaggi is not a man who minces words. So if he says McGregor just has above average punching power, that’s exactly what he things. But there could be more to it than meets the eye.
McGregor’s heavy hands
Much has been made of the Irishman’s latent power behind his left hand. And while Malignaggi says McGregor doesn’t punch all that hard, the proof is in the pudding. McGregor owns 21 victories inside the cage, 18 of which he has delivered with his hands.
Now, obviously boxing is a completely different sport. But when we talk about power, it’s clear McGregor has it. So why wasn’t Malignaggi really that impressed? There is only one reason…
Conventional wisdom says Conor McGregor has been unable to land cleanly. There is an old boxing adage that says, ‘you can’t hurt what you can’t hit’. And in the art of pugilism, that statement reigns true.
There is no doubt that if McGregor hits Mayweather clean, that he will hurt, or even possibly stop the boxing legend. But can he catch Mayweather with one solid shot on the chin, when so many others have failed? Let us know what you think in the comments.