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Malignaggi: McGregor’s energy level could cause Mayweather problems

Floyd Mayweather Jr Paulie Malignaggi

By William Mackay: Paulie Malignaggi learned a lot from his sparring with Conor McGregor, and he believes that he’s got the energy level and the youth to give Floyd Mayweather Jr. some issues in their big bout on August 26.

Malignaggi says that Mayweather’s inactivity in the last 2 years could mean that he’s not as energetic as the 29-year-old McGregor, who has been fighting on a regular basis in the UFC. McGregor is a two division champion in the UFC, and he’s viewed as the best overall talent in that sport.

The 40-year-old Mayweather and McGregor will mix it up on Showtime pay-per-view at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. There’s a tremendous amount of interest in the fight despite it being considered an “event” and “circus fight” in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. They still want to see Mayweather and McGregor face each other. It goes without saying that the MMA fans are extremely excited about the Mayweather-McGregor fight, and many of them consider McGregor having a real chance of defeating the aging Mayweather.

”He hasn’t fought in two years which is a long lay-off,” said Malignaggi to Sky Sports News HQ. ”I think Conor can exploit the fact that the energy levels of the guy in front of him may not match Conor’s because he has got more youth on his side.”

For McGregor to take advantage of Mayweather’s energy levels and inactivity, he’s going to need to do two things and those are as follows:

– Push a fast for 3 minutes of every round. McGregor cannot let Mayweather rest without forcing him to defend against big punches.

– McGregor will need to take the fight with Mayweather at least 8 rounds for him to test his energy levels. It’s safe to assume that Mayweather will still be capable of going 6 rounds without gassing out. Mayweather knows how to fight at a slow enough pace for him to rest and not use up his energy. In Mayweather’s fights in 2014 and 2015, he spent a lot of time with his back against the ropes, resting his legs. This was a clear sign that age was already starting to show in Mayweather even back then. A young Mayweather spent most of the time in the center of the ring, moving and landing shots. Mayweather wasn’t fighting like that in his matches with Marcos Maidana, Manny Pacquiao and Andre Berto. Mayweather needed to stay on the ropes because he didn’t have the energy to stay in the center of the ring for the full 12 rounds. Mayweather treated the fights like sparring matches, and he looked like he was fighting in 1st gear much of the time.

”Conor is bringing a different style to the table, a different toolbox so to speak. Maybe those tools will work maybe they won’t but we’ll find out on fight night,” said Malignaggi.

It’s a different style for sure that the 29-year-old McGregor is bringing to the ring against Mayweather. It’s likely that Mayweather will have gotten a lot of preparation in getting ready for McGregor’s style, but it still won’t be quite the same as fighting him.

You can’t mimic a guy like McGregor in sparring. He’s too unorthodox and predictable in what he does. McGregor likes to throw short left hands in the same way that Mayweather likes to throw short rights. If the two of them wind up fighting in close, it should be interesting to see which of them is able to land their shorter punches more often. Mayweather can’t afford to get hit too much by the bigger, stronger McGregor, as he’s more of a middleweight sized fighter than the welterweights that Mayweather has mostly been fighting.

Mayweather did fight Miguel Cotto and Saul Canelo Alvarez, but those were junior middleweights. Canelo looked like he was partially weight drained for his catch-weight fight with Mayweather. Canelo agreed to fight at a 152 pound catch-weight against Mayweather. I don’t think that was the reason why Mayweather beat him by a 12 round decision, but it certainly didn’t help Canelo that he had to drain down two extra pounds to get to 152 lbs. for the weigh-in the day before the fight.

Canelo didn’t fight with confidence. We didn’t see Canelo go after Mayweather until the 9th round. Canelo fought like he was beaten from the very start. McGregor isn’t going to do that. He’s going to be taking the fight to Mayweather, and trying to outsmart him and throw him off his game. There’s a different mindset with McGregor compared to Canelo. McGregor is a winner and he’s not going to mentally give up the way Canelo appeared to do during the Mayweather fight. Canelo got frustrated mentally early against Mayweather, and he seemed to come unglued by the 4th and not fight at his best.

“Conor has been working on tactics and certain things that should give him moments in the fight and certain moments can become bigger moments,” said Malignaggi.

Mayweather takes a good punch. It might not work for McGregor to try for an early knockout. He’s better off trying to wear Mayweather down with pressure. Mayweather looked vulnerable to the pressure and power that Miguel Cotto was putting on him in their fight in 2012. Mayweather was bleeding in that fight and he looked like he was in danger of losing the fight through the first 8 rounds.

Mayweather got on his bike in the last 4 rounds of the fight, and he was able to take the championship rounds to defeat Cotto. If McGregor can take the fight to Mayweather like Cotto did, and then stay on him when he tries to use movement, we could see an upset on August 26. It’s still a big ask on McGregor’s part, but it’s possible.

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