Final comments of Paulie Malignaggi interview with Ariel Helwani are the closest we've come to the truth yet
Boxing referee Joe Cortez was giving nothing away but Paulie Malignaggi did offer a raw take on his sparring sessions.
Conor McGregor is now in the record books as a professional boxer and, in the coming days, confirmation should arrive that he took part in the biggest pay-per-view fight in the sport's long, storied history. It is quite an achievement but one of the men that helped gain such high PPV numbers is unhappy.
Malignaggi was the third major player in McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. As Showtime pundit, friend of Mayweather's a sparring partner of McGregor, his prints were all over this one.
At this stage it is well documented how Malignaggi accept an invitation to McGregor's training camp and took him on twice - eight rounds and 12 rounds - in sparring sessions the UFC star looked upon as dress rehearsals for his fight with Mayweather.
Malignaggi, a two-time world champion, admits he struggled in the first sparring session but he is livid that McGregor and his team have, in his mind, spun the second session to make it seem as if the Dubliner was the clear winner. A war of words, tweets, interviews and Instagram posts erupted and we are now left with Malignaggi offering to fight McGregor at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick's Day, 2018.
Should get his attention https://t.co/sm1DwayFVQ
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) August 29, 2017
Malignaggi insists he is more than comfortable for money so there will be no MMA fight between the pair but he would be keen to tempt McGregor back to a boxing ring. He is even suggesting a winner-takes-all bout but boxing authorities may not sanction that.
During an interview with Ariel Helwani, on The MMA Hour, Malignaggi's final comments [from 20:00 below] were spoken with such despairing intent that they really hit home. It is the closest to the truth we are ever likely to get. He said:
"Either whether they [MMA fans] love me or hate me, I appreciate them listening in. Hopefully they understand that I'm trying to get the truth out there, and give my side of it.
"I came into it with good intentions and I kind of got rail-roaded and got my reputation side-swiped. So I didn't appreciate it ant it became personal on that level. And it's going to remain personal on that level because I don't like people that do that sort of stuff to people."
For all his talk and bluster, Malignaggi appears to have been genuinely hurt by his time in the McGregor camp and is having a hard time letting go.
Cortez, meanwhile, told the show that there was enough in that second sparring session for both men to believe they had edged it... had anyone been keeping score.