Congratulations, Paulie; You Played Yourself

AP Photo

After some unflattering pictures surfaced on social media of Paulie Malignaggi’s 12-round sparring session with UFC superstar Conor McGregor (0-0, 0 KO), Malignaggi decidedly called it quits.

Malignaggi–the former two-weight world champipon who is now retired–was hired as a sparring partner for McGregor’s crossover fight with Floyd Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) on August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Ironically, when interviewed by ESPN on Wednesday, Malignaggi was complementary of McGregor and his progress in camp.

“I gotta say, you know, he’s coming along,” said Malignaggi. “Conor is coming along. His punches are getting shorter; he’s getting a better idea of how he’s looking to do things and what he wants to do. Uh, it’s coming together a little bit.”

He claimed there were no knockdowns, but the photos posted on Thursday showed something different.

The first photo posted shows McGregor striking Malignaggi with a left hook in the corner, while the second shows McGregor standing a few feet from a floored Malignaggi.

The pics prompted the Showtime Boxing commentator to fire back via Twitter Thursday night.

Malignaggi claims the second photo is a deception. What appears to be a knockdown was a result of being pushed and requested the release of the full-unedited sparring footage.

He later released a statement announcing he would no longer be working McGregor’s camp.

Paulie also spoke with ESPN late Thursday. “I wanted to be part of this event, but I didn’t want to become the story, and that’s what this has turned into,” said Malignaggi. “I won’t release any information about his game plan or what he’s working on–I wouldn’t do that. But this has become a fiasco. It’s a circus.”

So now it’s becoming a circus?

Boxing has been one big joke to McGregor from the very beginning. He has been dismissive while declaring that he is boxing and that he would take the sport over.

The promotional tour for Mayweather vs. McGregor was disgraceful as both fighters ramped up their firebrand antics with each consecutive tour stop.

Before McGregor hired Malignaggi, Malignaggi tweeted that the fight between Mayweather and McGregor would be one-sided in Mayweather’s favor and that even he could “knock the beard” off of McGregor.

However, once he was hired to train with McGregor, Paulie was immediately more diplomatic and even complimentary of the Irishman.

Did Paulie really believe that McGregor reaching out to him meant that he had suddenly gained respect for boxing?

Pauile seems to be pretty smart, so it’s odd that he didn’t see this coming. The UFC has always branded itself as being better than boxing.

How could he expect loyalty from a bunch who have set out to make a mockery of the sport from day one?

Congratulations, Paulie. You played yourself.

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