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24th Aug 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Matthew Macklin gives his verdict on controversial McGregor-Malignaggi sparring

Macklin is in Las Vegas to cover the bout

Darragh Murphy


It could be argued that Paulie Malignaggi has done more to hype this Saturday night’s main event than Floyd Mayweather.

The press tour aside, Mayweather has remained relatively quiet in the build-up to his 50th professional outing and has left it to Conor McGregor to do the heavy-lifting.

Mayweather is seemingly more concerned with hyping up his Girl Collection strip club than he is with boosting sales of his supposed final fight against the debuting Irishman.

The pay-per-view potential of McGregor vs. Mayweather received a healthy injection of public interest when the UFC lightweight champion leaked footage of a second sparring session with Malignaggi, a former two-weight world champion, which showed the Brooklyn boxer hitting the deck.

Debates continue to rage, primarily driven by Malignaggi’s ever-present Twitter responses, about whether it was a knockdown or a pushdown that had floored him and whether it was ethically right to edit a 12-round session into a short 15 second snippet.

Malignaggi will remain on the Showtime broadcast of the bout, despite his issues with McGregor, while Sky Sports have enlisted the help of Matthew Macklin to offer his expertise on the Box Office coverage of the fight on Saturday night.

We caught up with Macklin in the midst of fight week in Las Vegas, where he gave us his take on the controversial sparring footage.

“I do think it was out of order to leak the footage,” Macklin told JOE at the MGM Grand.

“Sparring should be left in the gym really unless you’re going to show the full spar. We can all pick bits out of a spar where we’ve had the upper hand so unless you’re going to show the full spar, I don’t think you should do that.

“And even at that, I just think sparring is for the gym and it should be left there. If you want to record the spar to analyse yourself afterwards then, of course, by all means do it. I used to record sparring sessions all the time but I’d never stick them up on YouTube or social media in the hope of painting me in a better light or that I had the better of the exchanges.

“That’s a cheap shot really but Paulie must have known that it was a possibility when he agreed to go into the camp. He even asked for the footage to be released himself.

“I didn’t see the full spar, obviously, but Paulie says it wasn’t how it looked in the edited version that went online. But in the edited version, Conor was definitely on top.

“In terms of the knockdown, I think it was more of a balance issue for Paulie but he definitely got hit with good shots.

“I’m old-fashioned and believe that sparring should be kept in the gym but when you come to events like this then anything that helps to promote it or that hypes it up, it’s going to be used to boost pay-per-view buys.”