In preparation for his August 26 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr., UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor recently sought the help of former boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi. McGregor also enlisted the aid of boxing referee Joe Cortez, who was put in charge of overseeing his sparring sessions with Malignaggi.
Speaking to SiriusXM Boxing, Cortez recently shed some light on Malignaggi’s sparring sessions with McGregor. Apparently, McGregor actually held his own, and the two fighters got quite heated.
“He handled himself pretty good with Paulie,” he said (h/t BloodyElbow.com). “That guy can pop. He was in there mixing it up a little bit with Paulie and it was the real thing. They was no messing around. In fact, I had to stop the action and I had to say, ‘Alright guys, you guys are a little out of control here, you gotta stop this.’ It got a little rough.”
“They were both roughing each other up and I had to stop the action like in a regular fight. They were holding too much, they were trying to punch each other. I mean, it got a little bit out of control where I had to call ‘Time!’
“(I said) ‘Alright guys, you gotta stop this right now. I want a good clean round. Give me sportsman-like conduct. Understand? I don’t want to take any points from either one of you. Do you understand??’ I looked at them and they said, ‘Okay, alright.’ And I said, ‘Time in.’”
Unsurprisingly, Cortez also assured these sparring sessions were complete with plenty of trash talk.
“I had to put a stop to (the trash talking) as well,” he said. “That’s part of why I had to stop the action.”
Do you think Conor McGregor will be able to hang with Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/1/2017.