Former two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi has warned Conor McGregor of the dangers facing the Irishman should a switch to boxing be taken lightly.
McGregor, 28, was granted a license to box in California this week, whilst being denied in Las Vegas, and Malignaggi was one of the first boxers to throw his name in the hat to face ‘The Notorious’ via social media.
In an interview with WBN shortly after his tweet, Malignaggi outlined that McGregor must firstly prove he warrants a shot at Mayweather, but at the same time will need some acclimatization when leaving the Octagon.
“I wasn’t sure if McGregor was going to be looking to take any other fights before Mayweather but now with the California licensing thing, Floyd sure isn’t going to be fighting there,” Malignaggi exclusively told World Boxing News.
“Mayweather wouldn’t fight there solely due to the State tax laws. It’s not going to be worth it for Floyd. But McGregor being accepted in California opens the doors for him to get one or two fights in before facing Floyd.
“It’s a totally different situation that you’re putting yourself in. To fight over twelve rounds in boxing is different conditioning to fighting a five-round bout in Mixed Martial Arts. You still need to figure out the way you are mentally going to approach the fight, the way you’re going to condition yourself and your ability to understand how to relax in between rounds during a twelve-round fight.
“There are similarities and differences but I just feel like, at this point, it opens the door for him to at least give it a try. But McGregor is such a big-name entity that he can’t just go fight a no-name guy and then Floyd Mayweather.
“I’m really not sure what Conor McGregor has got in a boxing ring. If you put him in the ring directly with Mayweather, it almost becomes a difficult sell.
“He’s a known entity in a cage – and a boxing match would be a novelty, but he really needs to prove something in a boxing ring and show people that he has that boxing ability to step up and fight Mayweather.”
Asked about McGregor’s credentials, Malignaggi added: “At the end of the day, Conor McGregor is a terrific cage fighter but there’s a big difference when you’re allowed to use kicks, elbows and that other stuff, to using only your hands and using your skills.
“I’m not sure McGregor will be able to take on that many fights before he faces Floyd Mayweather. But at the end of the day, he has to get at least one marquee name, just to juice things up.”