August 19, 2017
August 19, 2017
Floyd Mayweather

Esther Lin/Showtime

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FLOYD MAYWEATHER admits concerns over how Conor McGregor will fight on August 26 after footage of the Irishman’s spar with Paulie Malignaggi was released online.

McGregor’s promoter, Dana White, uploaded two short clips onto social media showing Conor sparring Malignaggi and allegedly knocking the former world champion down.

Mayweather has seen the footage, which amounts to roughly 20 seconds in total, and believes that UFC star McGregor, who will make his professional boxing debut against Floyd next week, was not following the Queensbury Rules.

“I had a chance to see it. And my thought is that I think it was really interesting, but with a lot of rabbit punching; a lot of illegal rabbit punching behind the head,” he said.

“A lot of grappling, a lot of wrestling, a lot of illegal shots. That’s just my honest opinion. I’m pretty sure the referee is going to be fair on both sides.  I just want a good solid fight.”

Malignaggi claims the knockdown was not legal and occurred because of a push, but the footage does not clearly prove what happened.

Regardless, Mayweather feels that it will have no bearing on the fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, particularly as Paulie retired in March and was not even in shape when he sparred McGregor.

“Some may call it a knockdown; some may not call it a knockdown. But at the end of the day, it only counts once you get under the lights, that’s just in a gym,” he continued.

“We sit here judging Paulie, a guy that’s been retired and just commentating and traveling the world and not going to the gym at all, instead of going in there with a guy who is just working out, an athlete period, just working out every day.”

Veteran referee Robert Byrd was recently confirmed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission as the third man in the ring for Mayweather-McGregor, an appointment that has been widely met with praise.

Given that McGregor will be fighting under a rule-set he is not familiar with, there is a prevailing theory that Byrd will play an important role in the fight.

“I truly believe the ref is going to do his job. The referee’s job is to make sure that he’s keeping the bout clean. I want to have a good fight,” Mayweather said.

“Like I said on numerous occasions going up to this fight, I’m coming straight ahead. So, he doesn’t have anything to worry about. I look forward to following the rules of boxing. I’m pretty sure he looks forward to following the rules of boxing.

“He had [referee] Joe Cortez in his training camp which is a great thing. Even though he had Joe Cortez in his training camp, I still see him doing extremely dirty things. But my job is not to worry about the referee, my job is to go out there and fight and let the referee do his job.”