15
Jun
2019

Exclusive: I beat Conor McGregor – it’s not a disrespect, it’s fact! – Paulie Malignaggi

Phil Jay 03/12/2016

Esther Lin

Paulie Malignaggi has informed WBN he’d like to be part of Conor McGregor’s transition to boxing to give the MMA star a swift helping hand back to UFC.

The two-weight world champion, who has shared the ring with some of the top fighters of the last decade, singled out McGregor when the Irishman announced plans to cross over sports.

At 36, Malignaggi is at something of a holding phase in his career despite enjoying a three-fight winning streak. Working on commentary duties has taken precedent to fighting until a major offer comes his way, but saying that, Malignaggi is confident he would have no problem dealing with McGregor.

“People might take it as a disrespect and that I hate him and what not, but it’s not a disrespect as much as it’s pretty much fact,” Malignaggi exclusively told World Boxing News.

“He’s one of the most phenomenal fighters in a cage and personality-wise he’s got the ability to be able to sell himself. I mean, I’ve been known to talk fast too, so a promotion between me and McGregor, depending on how loose he wants to get, it could wind up becoming a major trash talking promotion.

“But it’s not even about that, it’s about putting something together that McGregor can sell in a boxing ring without people thinking it’s just a sideshow.

“You can’t put him in with a Danny Garcia or Keith Thurman right off the jump, you just can’t do that. So, you have to look for a guy at the stage of my career, where I’m a little bit older and an ex-world champion. Then you probably hope that you can handle yourself that way.

“I question whether he can, I highly question it. I think I have enough boxing ability to really test him and beat him. He’s got to at least prove he has what it takes to beat an ex-world champion.

“I mean, if he can’t beat me then he certainly doesn’t deserve Floyd Mayweather!”

McGregor, 28, is now licensed to fight in California and could make his debut in the squared circle in the coming months, Malignaggi or not.

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