The Mayweather vs. McGregor news cycle over the past week has largely been dominated by one story: former two division boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi quitting as a McGregor sparring partner over unflattering photos from training that ended up online. At this point Malignaggi has logged in hours with the media calling Conor a scumbag in 20 different ways. The response from Team McGregor has been dead silence … until now.
Tiernan Bradley is another sparring partner in Vegas helping McGregor prepare for his August 26th superfight, and he defended McGregor in a blog post for The Irish News.
“I did Paulie’s corner for the spar, their second after a feisty first encounter,” Bradley wrote. “And I can safely say it will be very interesting when the video comes out after the fight. When you’re in sparring, sometimes you think you’re doing better than you are, but watching back afterwards can reveal the true nature of the spar. I’ve experienced that myself, you start to notice little things you did wrong, or maybe punches landed that you don’t remember.
“It wasn’t a one-sided spar either way but I thought one was the clear winner overall and that was Conor. He was very calm, very professional and, honestly, he really impressed me on the day. That’s just my opinion, people can make up their own minds when they see the video. Paulie has done plenty of talking, but he could be talking himself into a hole when the footage comes out after the Mayweather fight.”
Tiernan then addressed the photos being released, playing them down as a promotional reality for a fight this big.
“When you join a Conor McGregor camp, you know pictures are going to be released every day,” he wrote. “Sometimes they might not be the most flattering. Obviously he saw that picture and his pride was dented. I can understand that, but at the same time he was on TV doing interviews the week before, talking about Conor’s power being overblown and all this stuff.
“He was talking to Mayweather’s guys, talking to pro boxers and doing interviews – what did he think was going to happen? Did he expect to just come in here and talk s**t?”
That boils things down to the root of the dispute: Paulie believes Conor brought him in specifically to beat on him for things he had said on social media and to media outlets. Based on what we’ve heard, that doesn’t sound too far from the truth. I’d take the other things Malignaggi says with a grain of salt, especially since it looks like he may be trying to angle this into a big money boxing match with McGregor now. But let’s keep in mind that the words of young Irish boxers helping McGregor should be subject to scrutiny as well.