McGregor Headed Back to Boxing? If So, He’ll Be an Underdog
Is UFC star Conor McGregor headed back to boxing?
Reports surfaced last week indicating McGregor and Malignaggi were “in talks” for a potential boxing match.
While McGregor has stayed relatively quiet about the situation, Malignaggi, a retired boxer who currently works for Showtime as a color analyst, denied the reports before seemingly later targeting media opportunities to publicly lobby for the fight.
In one such case, Malignaggi told Off The Ball he wants to lure McGregor out of the octagon and into a boxing ring again for a winner take all fight.
“I would love to fight Conor McGregor in a winner-takes-all fight in a boxing match. I would absolutely love it because I would beat him to a pulp. I would hospitalize him, and I'd make him go home broke too."
Last year, PaddyPower made Malignaggi the favorite over any other boxer McGregor might see next. McGregor-Malignaggi was 4/7, ahead of other potential bouts including Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez.
About the McGregor vs. Malignaggi Feud
McGregor and Malignaggi have been feuding since the Irish MMA star released a photo of McGregor supposedly knocking Malignaggi down during sparring while McGregor prepared for a 2017 boxing match against Floyd Mayweather.
McGregor used the photo, as well as the subsequent dustup with a livid Malignaggi, to promote his chances in the upcoming Mayweather fight, a bout he ultimately lost via 10th-round technical knockout.
But the 30-year-old fought well enough against Mayweather, especially during the first half of the fight, for it to seem at least conceivable he might make his way back into a boxing ring again before his fighting career is over.
Why McGregor vs. Malignaggi Makes Sense
While other star boxers such as Pacquiao and Alvarez have shown interest in crossover boxing battles against him, McGregor isn’t really suited at the present to be all that competitive against that level of boxer.
Sure, Malignaggi has world-class credentials, but he’s much smaller than McGregor, a relatively light hitter and hasn’t won a professional boxing match in over two years.
Moreover, UFC president Dana White eventually leaked clips of the much-debated sparring session between McGregor and Malignaggi which indeed did seem to show McGregor getting the better of the former world champion.
The two have publicly lambasted each other since, and while an actual fight between the two still seems like a longshot, many top boxing bookmakers went so far as to offer odds on the potential bout last year before McGregor went back into the octagon to face Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.
McGregor vs. Malignaggi Betting Odds
As good as the sparring footage looked for McGregor, it showed only a fraction of what happened in the gym. Why didn’t White release the whole thing? Did Malignaggi school McGregor during every other round?
Perhaps the planned three-part Netflix documuntary about the incident will she some more light on the matter soon. Or maybe the two will just use the release of the Netflix documentary to hype an upcoming PPV.
McGregor is a huge superstar, and the bad blood between the two fighters sells itself. It would give McGregor a huge opportunity to truly test boxing waters without having to face arguably the best boxer of a generation as was the case when he faced Mayweather.
Still, bookmakers didn’t give McGregor much of a chance to defeat Malignaggi in a boxing ring. In 2018, when the fight was a hot topic in the fight community, PaddyPower made the brash American a 2/5 favorite and the pride of Dublin a 9/4 underdog.
If odds start popping up again in 2019, they will likely be similar offerings.
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