Paulie Malignaggi, who walked out of Conor McGregor’s training camp, has called the Dubliner “not the bravest guy”, writes Stephen Barry.
The former two-weight world champion was insulted by a video clip released which showed McGregor knocking him to the canvas, something Malignaggi called a push.
“You’ll more so see somebody’s character. What I noticed about Conor wasn’t so much his ability or inability to take a punch, what I noticed about Conor’s character was he’s not the bravest guy once you’re beating him up,” Malignaggi told Newstalk’s Off The Ball.
“That is something I will look for on Saturday night. I will look to see if he’s overcome that or not. He’s not the bravest guy.
“The fact he shot-in on Nate Diaz when he got submitted, instead of trying to keep the fight standing up, shows you he gave up in that fight.
“It was something I already had in my mind and I really wanted to see how brave this guy is. I still wasn’t convinced.
“Both times I sparred him, two days later he did not want to spar. We were supposed to spar and we were supposed to spar again two days later. The first time he cancelled sparring on me and the second time he cancelled sparring on me two days later.”
Malignaggi believes McGregor will make it as far as the sixth round by holding Mayweather, but that defeat is inevitable
“One common in core in a fighter, be it Mixed Martial Arts or a boxer, is you need character. You only have the ability to show character when you’re in trouble, when you’re tired, when you’re hurting. This guy has no character.
“He’s more so like a bully. When he’s got the advantage, he’s loud, he’s obnoxious. But start putting hands on him and you’ll see a totally different person come out.
“That’s more so what I’m curious about on Saturday night because he will catch a bad beating. I want to see how he reacts to it, I want to see if he tries to fight back. And I don’t mean in the first two or three rounds, I mean when it’s getting really bad, after round six how much is he trying to fight back?”
Malignaggi also criticised McGregor’s support team.
“He has no teachers, so there’s no way he’s going to learn anything. He has a bunch of cheerleaders in his corner. Even if he has a bad round, they tell him he’s having a good round.
“He thinks he’s winning rounds when really he’s losing them. I assume that can only be because he goes back to the corner and they tell him, ‘Good round’. Some rounds, it is nice work. Sometimes he does well, sometimes he doesn’t.
“It’s important for a fighter not to be lied to in the corner but Conor wants to be lied to. Conor wants to have the advantage. Conor wants to be praised, that’s just the person he is. He doesn’t take criticism too well.
“There was one time he was sparring these MMA guys, I think his name was Artem (Lobov). The guy was like a punching bag all over the ring to the point where I thought to myself, ‘If Conor gets out of the ring right now and hits the Everlast heavy bag, it’s probably better work, because at least the heavy bag has some resistance. This guy is totally useless in the ring with him.’
“I think Conor likes to give himself confidence even if it’s false confidence.”