The Irishman and his minders passed Mayweather and his team en route to the outdoor stage set up outside the T-Mobile Arena, where they are scheduled to fight, and as words were exchanged tempers grew to the point of pushing and shoving.
When McGregor prepared to finish discussing his preparations and Saturday’s match-up, he then confronted former sparring partner Malignaggi. The two were coming face-to-face for the first time since the American left his training camp when photos appeared on social media suggesting McGregor had knocked him down.
Malignaggi became increasingly angry – the retired fighter had previously denied any such knockdown – and repeatedly told the 29-year-old to, “Bring your b**ls”, to which McGregor would reply, “You got your a**e whooped”.
Mayweather refused to answer questions about his own exchange with McGregor, but the Irishman insisted it arose because, unlike the other fighters on Saturday’s bill, they did not have a face-off and offence was taken when he asked why.
“There was a face-off (scheduled), then there was no face-off, and then I saw him and said, ‘What, are you afraid of a face-off today?’ McGregor explained. “He didn’t say anything, but then the goons, the big goons that he surrounds himself with started pushing and shoving.
“And then it was just a pushing and shoving contest, and that was it. Nothing really happened. I didn’t hear what his response was. It just became a pushing and shoving match.”
Asked if that was a sign of Mayweather feeling the pressure, he then responded: “He can’t walk around the place without being surrounded by these donkeys, and that’s what they are, absolute donkeys.
“Look, he’s in the ring on his own, and I know in his comments, ‘I hope the referee keeps it fair’, all I heard was prayers, ‘Please, ref, keep me safe’. Like I said I’ll bang him out, hurt him badly, and I may make him beg me to follow the rules here.
“I’d seen (Malignaggi) lurking around. He started talking to my manager Audie (Attar), and I walked over and he was still talking to Audie. He wouldn’t look. I said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’
“He said, ‘The picture’, and I was like, ‘Mate, get over it, you look stupid, you got your a**e whooped, it’s done, get over it’. I don’t mind Paulie, I still don’t mind him.”
Speaking prior to seeing his opponent, Mayweather repeated his refrain about being an ageing fighter and said he had had to adapt his preparations to allow greater recovery time.
“I’m a lot older now, being older, the body needs a lot of rest,” said the 40-year-old American, whose fans were vastly outnumbered by McGregor’s amid the unremarkable crowd present. “This training camp, I did a lot more resting, to allow the body to recuperate and rejuvenate.
“I said before this fight wouldn’t go the distance, if you want to bet, bet it won’t go.”