Fightful Boxing Newsletter (8/10): McGregor-Malignaggi Drama, Former World Champions Retire, Vasyl Lomachenko's Latest Win

McGregor-Malignaggi Drama

It wouldn’t be a Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight without a week of controversies taking place.

Of course with the undercard of the biggest pay-per-view perhaps in combat sports history not fully announced, somewhat inexplicably with a little more than two weeks remaining, the big news this week comes from McGregor’s training camp and the departure of sparring partner and former world champion Paulie Malignaggi,

Malignaggi left the camp this past week in Las Vegas after Dave Fogarty, one of McGregor's photographers, posted this photo below, which has sent social media into a frenzy.

The two fighters had been sparring in order to help McGregor prepare for his August 26 fight against Floyd Mayweather.

There had been reports of the two fighters getting into an intense sparring session. The sparring got so wild at times that former referee Joe Cortez, who had been hired to referee the sparring sessions, said he has had to keep both fighters under control and separate the two of them.

Regarding the sparring session from August 2, Malignaggi said McGregor shoved him down to the ground, but there were no knockouts in the session. There was also a photo of Malignaggi sporting a bruised face towards the end of their sparring session, but said that was to be expected.

"There was a pushdown yesterday," Malignaggi said on August 2. "Conor on the inside, he can get a little rough. He shoved me down, you know, but no knockdowns. Obviously, 12 rounds, you're gonna see there's a mark on my face. Very, very hard work for both of us. I was starting to get in a groove in the middle rounds, starting to land some good shots. Conor really came on strong in the end. It was back and forth."

After social media blew up with the picture of him on the canvas, Malignaggi posted a statement, which can be seen in the tweet below, announcing that he would be leaving the McGregor camp.

Before Malignaggi's statement was posted, the former welterweight world champion had urged people with the footage of the sparring session to release the uncut and unedited footage.

Although McGregor’s camp has been the talk of the fight for the past week, this really shouldn’t surprise people that have followed either fighter's careers. Both are very outspoken and abrasive individuals who have tremendous pride in their sport. Something was bound to happen.

Malignaggi had said that he didn't have time to rest after flying to Las Vegas for the sparring session. I find it weird that McGregor insisted on having Malignaggi spar the whole 12 rounds on that day instead of having him switch partners every few rounds or so, as is usually the case when helping a boxer prepare for a fight.

“I am not one of the other sparring partners. Nobody knows who the other sparring partners are. Everyone knows who I am. When you put up a picture of me in sparring, the media rush comes to me and I have to answer questions that I don’t want to deal with,” Malignaggi said on “The MMA Hour” earlier this week.

Malignaggi has stated that McGregor "got some pop in the left hand." Malignaggi retired from boxing earlier this year after a near 17-year career that saw Malignaggi win the IBF junior welterweight and WBA welterweight world titles. Malignaggi's skills deteriorated tremendously in the past couple of years and was nowhere near the world champion that he was five years ago.

What this past week cemented was the fact that this fight is nothing more than an anomaly and calling it a boxing match is technically correct, but it's not something that boxing should really pay too much attention in regards to the "supposed impact" it will have depending on the results.

Any fans that said they would tune out of boxing because of this fight already had one foot out the door and this spectacle is nothing more than an excuse to finally be out of the boxing fandom.

Anybody calling this fight a sham and a disgrace for the sport must be aware that boxing was always a spectacle for the mainstream audience for many decades. Throughout the chaos the past month has brought ue to this fight, not once did I hear of people recollecting Shaquille O'Neal's boxing matches against Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley on television on O'Neal's "Shaq vs." series, which only ran for two seasons.

The only differences between the two instances is that Shaq's fights were exhibitions, had shorter and less rounds, and wasn't on pay-per-view. Other than that, what is really the big deal about Mayweather vs. McGregor. If the fans' problems is that a mixed martial artist is crossing over to boxing and getting a massive payday by fighting a Hall of Famer, therefore hurting the sport's reputation, then why wasn't the same applied with James Toney's crossover into MMA in 2010?

Simple, because MMA and boxing fans were smart enough back then to look at the fight as an attraction. It's a crossover match that seldom happens. It will not hurt the sport in the slightest, outside of the loss in pay-per-view buys for the Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fight. Long term, this will not have any negative impacts.

I don't want to say that this is an extremely elaborate ruse to make a McGregor vs. Malignaggi fight happen, but then again, Mayweather is fighting McGregor, so nothing should really shock anybody in boxing.

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