By Keith Idec
Floyd Mayweather Jr. isn’t putting too much stock into anything Conor McGregor did while sparring against Paulie Malignaggi.
Mayweather wasn’t impressed after watching the brief footage that has been released. In fact, the undefeated five-division champion noticed McGregor fouling more than anything as the Irish southpaw prepared for their August 26 showdown at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I had a chance to see it and my thoughts is I think it was real interesting, but a lot of rabbit punching, a lot of illegal rabbit punches behind the head,” Mayweather said during a conference call Thursday. “A lot of shots was illegal. A lot of grappling, a lot of wrestling and a lot of illegal shots. I mean, that’s just my honest opinion.
“But I think I’m pretty sure the referee’s gonna be fair on both sides. I want the referee [Robert Byrd] to be fair and treat both competitors, myself and Conor McGregor, treat us both – be even and treat us fair. And I just wanna have a good, solid fight.”
Mayweather was noncommittal when asked about the much-discussed knockdown McGregor counted and Malignaggi contends was caused by a push and a trip.
“Some may call it a knockdown, some may not call it a knockdown,” Mayweather said. “At the end of the day, it only counts once you get under those lights. That’s just the gym.”
Regardless, Mayweather won’t base much about McGregor from those sparring sessions because the retired Malignaggi was far from peak physical condition when he traveled to Las Vegas to spar with McGregor.
“We’re sitting here judging Paulie,” Mayweather said, “a guy that’s been retired and commentating and traveling the world and not going to the gym at all, just going in there with a guy, an athlete, period, who’s working out just every day, every day. And honestly, it shouldn’t have even went 12 rounds with a young guy that’s active.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.