'When the going gets tough - Conor looks for the first window to jump out of': Paulie Malignaggi
The former two-weight boxing world champion-turned bareknuckle fighter has a storied history with the Irishman and his team, stemming from a heated sparring session in McGregor's camp in the lead-up to his Las Vegas boxing match in August 2017, which led to a personal confrontation and a protracted social media back and forth.
Sounding off on RT Sport's 'Fight Talk' program, brash Brooklynite Malignaggi said 'The Notorious' craves being worshiped by his fans and entourage, but that this act hides the fact that he would "look for the first window to jump out of" when under pressure.
“Conor plays the whole act in front of his friends, which I think is corny, when you’re in front of your friends you can kind of let your guard down and chill out, you know," said the characteristically cocksure Malignaggi, who held the IBF and WBA world titles during his 16-year professional career.
Conor wants to be worshiped, it’s always different but .. what I revealed with Conor is that, when the going gets tough, he’ll look for the first window to jump out of.
“He’s a guy who is tough only when he’s at the advantage, he’s a guy who is only tough when he is winning. Soon as a couple of punches arrive in his mouth or in his teeth and he’s tasting his own blood, or he’s in a situation we're he’s out of oxygen and he needs to find a way to win the fight, or he’s just being punked in general and he doesn’t like the feel, he’s gonna look for a way out.
"And you can bet your bottom dollar that that’s what he’s going to do - that’s just the person he is, he’s a punk and a punk will always be revealed when you press'em.'
Malignaggi will get the chance to prove his words when he makes his first foray into bareknuckle boxing when he faces off against McGregor's Russian-Irish friend and teammate Artem Lobov on June 22 at BKFC 6 in Tampa, Florida.
The bad blood between the New Yorker and McGregor's team boiled over when the pair met in his home town to promote their match-up, with the brash Brooklynite Malignaggi appearing to spit at former UFC featherweight Lobov.
Despite both displaying an obvious genuine dislike for one another, Malignaggi has gained his fair share of detractors for accepting the bareknuckle bout, with skeptics believing he considers it a stepping stone to a lucrative fight with McGregor himself. Malignaggi is keen to dismiss any such talk, insisting he is chasing an "ass-beating", which is confirmed by his 'winner-takes-all' demands.
“I think the whole ‘Paulie wants to get a fight with Conor McGregor’ thing is [more] made up by the public than it is by me. I think most people think it’s a money chase, it’s not a money chase, it’s actually an ass-beating chase - I just want to beat his ass. And to prove that it’s not just a money chase, I would be willing to do 'winner-take-all' - I would be willing to do it so that the loser fights for free," he said.
“But that will only further alienate Conor from doing it, so that’s the reason I say these things too: I know the more risk I put on the table so that it’s not to his advantage, the more he’ll run away from it, because like I said, a punk will always be a punk when you press'em."Also on rt.com Artem Lobov's 'A+' toughness will pose real problems for Paulie Malignaggi, says coach Firas Zahabi