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Paulie Malignaggi: Conor McGregor Showed “Tactical Brilliance, Almost”, Against Floyd Mayweather

Kelsey Mowatt

UFC

Paulie Malignaggi hasn’t had many positive things to say about Conor McGregor and his team recently, but following the latter’s loss to Floyd Mayweather on Saturday, the retired boxer’s crediting the UFC champ.

Malignaggi was in the news almost as much as Mayweather and McGregor the past few weeks, after he accused the star’s team of misrepresenting how their sparring sessions went. During fight week, Malignaggi and McGregor had a verbal confrontation that blazed around the internet.

But, after McGregor was TKO’d by Mayweather in the tenth round on Saturday, the New York boxer had this to say about the lightweight champ’s performance (quote via MMA Fighting):

“I think [McGregor] started the fight very well, actually,” Malignaggi said. “It was tactical brilliance, almost. It was awkward, but it was effective in the early stages. Now having said that, the mental pressure Floyd was applying, Conor doesn’t have much experience in the ring so it’s going to fatigue him a little bit faster because he sees this guy constantly walking him down.

“Even if Conor was being effective, the constant walking him down is going to cause fatigue physically, but also mentally. ‘I can’t get this guy out of my face.’ Conor’s used to hurting guys, he’s not hurting (Mayweather). And it got to the point where he was able to fire back less and less.”

Now sure, McGregor didn’t deliver on his bold prediction that he was going to take out Mayweather, inside of four rounds. But, even the biggest boxing boosters have to concede McGregor performed better against Mayweather than most expected. Sure, Mayweather may have been studying his opponent early on, and was waiting for McGregor to tire, but there’s no denying the latter had some impressive moments in the fight.

It remains to be seen now if McGregor ever boxes again. Dana White has already said, however, that he’d like to the champion “stick” with MMA. 

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