IN light of the fact they are two men from different sports who will – hopefully – never meet in a competitive environment, Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi have created quite the rivalry.
It started last year with some crossfire on social media. Malignaggi said some stuff; McGregor said some stuff. Most of it concerned an imminent boxing match between McGregor, a UFC champion, and Floyd Mayweather, one of the finest boxing talents of the modern era, and it was all, at that point, just a bit of fun. Malignaggi, like many, assumed it was a freak show of a fight, and said as much, and McGregor, naturally, didn’t agree with him. Fair enough.
But then the rivalry cranked up a notch when Malignaggi, despite his reservations regarding the fight, agreed to help McGregor out with some sparring in the lead up to it. These sparring sessions, different to your typical sparring sessions, became infamous on account of a much-publicised knockdown-pushdown flashpoint, and all of a sudden McGregor vs. Malignaggi became as much a talking point as McGregor vs. Mayweather.
A year on, they’re still going at it, and Malignaggi, never one to waste an opportunity to dig out the Irishman, recently jumped on the former UFC champion’s defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov and released his latest sucker punch.
“We all win and we all lose but go out like a man, not like a sissy,” Malignaggi said during an appearance on Sirius XM Boxing Radio. “I cringed for him when I saw that footage [of McGregor telling Nurmagomedov it was “all business” in the Octagon]. You actually really prove me right every time. He never [goes out with dignity].
“He was trying to quit in round two. Khabib was keeping him facing forward so he couldn’t quit. He wanted out of the fight from round two. When he finally turned his back in round four it was because Khabib was tired of keeping him right-side up. He couldn’t wait to get out of that fight. The only credit you get is for getting in there.”
Inextricably linked, the hope remains that the McGregor and Malignaggi rivalry never advances beyond the point of trash talk and post-fight putdowns. As was the case last summer, it’s a boxing match nobody wants to see, much less needs to see.
Adrien Broner hasn’t won a fight in 18 months, but this hasn’t stopped marquee fighters queuing up to face him.
Seemingly, for as long as he’s a polarising figure, a loud mouth and a braggart, the Broner brand will be deemed valuable in the eyes of promoters, and the option of him as a B-side for champions will remain appealing.
To that end, Broner has recently been linked with a spate of eye-catching fights. First, he was first mentioned as a possible opponent for Amir Khan, though that talk has settled down in recent months, and now, in the last few days, he has been mentioned as a possible opponent for Manny Pacquiao, the current WBA welterweight champion.
Broner, having lost and drawn his last two fights, is hardly deserving of a title shot – despite the spurious nature of Pacquiao’s belt – but maintains leverage and power on account of who he is and what he says. It’s why SPIN.ph say the fight, Pacquiao vs. Broner, is pencilled for the second week of January and will be co-promoted by MP Promotions and Floyd Mayweather Promotions. What’s more, they also suggest Pacquiao has opted to sign with Al Haymon, a long-time Mayweather adviser who does a lot of business with Showtime, at the end of his contract with Top Rank.
And you know what that means, don’t you? Yes, if Pacquiao gets by Broner – and why shouldn’t he? – there’s every chance it will pave the way for a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao rematch in May 2019. God help us all.
But not so fast.
Though Broner fighting Pacquiao is unquestionably the lucrative option for the outspoken American, it could come to pass that the World Boxing Council (WBC) order a more sensible eliminator matchup between Broner and Jorge Linares.
This was mentioned at the WBC convention in Kiev, Ukraine last week, and would certainly help to normalise the Adrien Broner situation somewhat. Win that, as unlikely as it would seem, and he’d be deserving of a title shot, whether it’s against Pacquiao, the WBA champion at welterweight, or Jose Ramirez, the WBC ruler at 140 pounds. Baby steps, ‘AB’. Baby steps.