Since the fight itself is probably going to be one of the biggest letdowns you can imagine, savor the news about Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor while it lasts. The latter is almost completely unprepared for a boxing matchup of this caliber, though the people around him want to make sure you know he's putting in an elite effort to make up for his inexperience in the ring.
The latest word on McGregor's very serious, not at all overblown training regimen comes through Joe Cortez, a veteran boxing referee who was brought in by the McGregor camp to teach the MMA fighter what the rules of boxing are. The official claimed during an interview with Rush 93 on Sirius XM that during a sparring session between McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi, a former world champion in two weight classes, things went a little too far.
It was the real thing, I had to stop the action, ‘you guys are a little out of control here, you’ve got to stop this.’ You know, they got a little rough. They were both roughing each other up and I had to stop the action like it was a regular fight.
They were holding too much, they were trying to punch each other. So I had to call time, 'alright guys you’ve got to stop this right now, I want a good, clean, strong, give me a sportsman like conduct, you understand?’
If you can get past the fact that someone in a $100 pay-per-view fight had to bring in someone to teach him the fucking rules of the sport, maybe you'll be impressed by the intensity shown by McGregor as he tunes up for Mayweather. There are legitimate reasons to attack McGregor's boxing credentials, but desire is not one of them.
The intensity between the two likely stems from comments made previously by Malignaggi, who degraded McGregor's ability as a power puncher during an interview with Jim Rome in late July. "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," said Malignaggi. "It’s not that kind of power, but it’s good enough.”
McGregor is a prideful guy, so you can bet he took that comment to heart, wanting to prove something to his sparring partner.
The more cynical view—which I'm very much here for—is that McGregor has zero experience in a boxing sparring session, so he doesn't really know where to draw the line when it comes to backing off the guy he's working with. If you need any evidence about how little it says about his boxing acumen, go watch old sparring sessions between Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes, two of the greatest fighters of all-time, in which they were able to put in a ton of work without acting like crazy people.
Mayweather hasn't posted any sort of workout videos on his Instagram since he shared footage in late June that made McGregor's routine look silly in comparison. In the same period, McGregor has posted a seemingly endless number of shirtless workout photos, as if to convince either himself or others that will be the difference when they step in the ring in late August.
Forgive my skepticism, and I know they have a fight to promote, but don't talk about it, be about. Handle your business, and we'll all see what the end result is on Aug. 26.
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