UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor has consistently talked about his “power” being the x-factor in overcoming his lack of boxing experience when he jumps into the ring for the first time ever to take on undefeated champion Floyd Mayweather on August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Two-time World boxing champion and Showtime/CBS broadcaster Paulie Malignaggi joined The Jim Rome Show Wednesday and was asked about McGregor’s power after sparring with the Irishmen last week.
“It’s definitely above average. I wouldn’t say it’s ‘Oh my God’ power,” Malignaggi told CBS Sports Radio. “This is what I call ‘Oh my God’ power, even in sparring, and you’re like ‘Oh my God,’ like wow, this guy really hits hard.
Malignaggi referenced a guy named Amir Iman, a 140-pound contender in Miami who he sparred with this past year, and said he had ‘Oh my God’ power.
“Now, ‘Oh my God’ power is very rare. There’s above average power, so if he lands a good shot on you, I mean granted, with small fight gloves he will hurt you, but it’s not ‘Oh my God’ power where every time he touches you you’re like my goodness, this is very uncomfortable. It’s not that kind of power, but it’s good enough.”
Malignaggi said he didn’t want to give up McGregor’s approach to fight the elusive Mayweather, but said it will be different. “Conor is a tough guy, he’s trying his best to win the fight. He’s trying to put together a particular game plan that’s a bit awkward.”
The 36-year-old said McGregor’s approach needs to be awkward, because it’s not realistic for an MMA fighter to transition to boxing and stand in and straight up box someone like Floyd Mayweather.
“The way I described this is he knows what he wants to do and he has a method to the mayhem,” Malignaggi said. “And the work was good, the work was rough, the work was good. We did 8 hard rounds. We were supposed to do 6, we ended up going 8. I think some of it had to do with the bad blood for maybe he had for some of the talking trash that I did, but we did go pretty good, and he showed me at least he is serious about this.
“I can’t say based on a sparring session, oh I’m going to pick this guy to win the fight. But I will say this, he’s serious about what he wants to do. He has an awkwardness to where he can land some shots, and I wouldn’t say his power is what the reputation holds it for. I wouldn’t say it’s that strong, but his power is enough to where you definitely should respect it.”
As for if this match with Mayweather is a one-off boxing event for McGregor, Malignaggi wasn’t so sure.
“He might box again. I was thinking the same thing. You can make more money in boxing,” Malignaggi said. “We have the Ali Act that we’re protected by that at least. It’s not going to prevent you from being screwed 100-percent, but it prevents you from being the way they screw fighters in mixed marital arts.
“So I think there’s a possibility Conor might box again, realizing he can make more money this way and realizing he can keep a bigger chunk and percentage of the money he brings in as opposed to having to share most of it with everybody else. So I don’t think it’s a far fetch conclusion that Conor boxes again, but I think for now, the focus should be on one person and one fighter and that should be the Mayweather fight.”