Shock revelation! The Conor and Paulie romance – the unlikeliest romance of 2017 – has apparently gone sour and ended in separation, the World Wide Web reports.
Today (August 4), Paulie Malignaggi, former world boxing champion, announced his split from Conor McGregor, UFC lightweight champion, on social media, after the naughty Irishman (or a BFF) leaked a number of revealing photographs of Malignaggi – mostly topless, wearing leather on his head and hands – to the public.
It was, in this respect, a thoroughly modern romance.
“I am leaving the McGregor training camp today,” Paulie wrote in a heartfelt open letter. “I came with the best intentions and intended to help out; just the chance to be part of such a big event in this capacity excited me. I believe Conor and I have mutual respect inside the ring, earned from each other with some good work over two sparring sessions.
“It’s some of the stuff outside the ring and ways things were handled in training camp that I didn’t agree with that made me come to this decision. It’s not my place to dictate terms in a training camp that is not mine, but it’s my place to decide if I want to be a part of it. I will not give away anything tactical that I saw in two sparring sessions with Conor. For what it’s worth, they have my word. The things that upset me though, I will speak about in time. I wish Team McGregor well in the rest of their preparations and look forward to being back in Vegas to work fight week on Showtime.”
An explicit shot of Malignaggi on his back appeared to be the final straw. It implied his guard had been penetrated by McGregor, that he had been knocked down, when the truth, according to Paulie, was something quite different; a ‘pushdown’ was how he described it.
I’m inclined to believe him. An honest pro, albeit one long in the tooth, the New Yorker has no reason to lie. But, honestly, who really cares? Whether triggered by a punch or push, the image of Malignaggi on his backside tells us nothing about what’s going to happen when Conor McGregor enters a boxing ring to box Floyd Mayweather, arguably the greatest boxer of the modern era, on August 26 in Las Vegas.
It tells us McGregor is sparring a former world champion boxer. That much is true. It also tells us Joe Cortez, he of the fair but firm catchphrase, is bizarrely prancing around in full referee kit and presumably getting pretty firm at the thought of all the money he’s making as an accessory to the charade. But that’s about it. Occasionally we will be treated to an arty shot of McGregor with his hands behind his back or seemingly levitating (or just, you know, jumping), and are told, by way of a sycophant’s caption, that he’s reinventing pugilism. Some believe it. Some want to believe it. The rest, however, simply shake their heads in bemusement.
Pictures, in this case, really don’t paint a thousand words. They are, in fact, about as insightful as the four shambolic ‘MayMac’ press conferences the world has just witnessed or the ludicrous tale of the tape that occasionally appears on your television screen to reveal McGregor possesses a physical edge over Mayweather on account of the sheer number of tattoos he has on his body. It’s that revealing, that relevant.
“I came to help this camp out, not be exploited. Now you’re gonna get the truth though. Post the full, unedited video from Tuesday night,” Malignaggi wrote.
“I actually beat his ass, 24 hours off a flight, too, which is why I’m saying post the vid. I try not to be petty but seems it’s too late for that now.”
You could argue Paulie Malignaggi should have known better. He has been around, sparred any number of great boxers over the years, and even once ridiculed McGregor’s boxing ability and poured scorn on the idea of him ever facing Mayweather. But then, like Cortez, he was presented an offer, one he couldn’t refuse, and was quick to forget all about his misgivings and his integrity in the name of a greater cause.
Malignaggi, retired at 36, is perfectly entitled to cash in on his wealth of experience and, in doing so, teach an upstart a lesson. He is also a wonderful supporting character, someone the media have enjoyed harassing ever since it was first announced he’d share a boxing ring with McGregor. But Malignaggi’s experience should have also told him this: a Conor McGregor boxing camp is unlike any other boxing camp. For one, no template is being followed. They’re essentially winging it. Blagging it, some would say. Moreover, by signing the contract, confidentiality clause and all, Malignaggi basically agreed to partake in a reality television series. It started the day his pen hit the paper and will end on August 26, the night McGregor and Mayweather finally put us all out of our misery. Until that point, though, Malignaggi is a fully-fledged cast member. He can be unhappy about it. He can secretly resent it. But he is, whether he likes it or not, Kanye West among the Kardashians.
There will be no premature end to Paulie’s showmance with Conor. If anything, this latest twist merely adds to the narrative, thus teeing up a fresh episode, and encourages a jilted Irishman and his support network to fire back. So get ready for it. There will be talk of revenge porn – a full tape may even be released – and there will be drama and exclamation marks and TMZ videos and he-said-she-said and accusations of disloyalty… all the while Floyd Mayweather, the boxer destined to win the boxing match on August 26, continues to play Ryan Seacrest and plan a second season.