Former IBF and WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi was helping Conor McGregor prepare for his upcoming superfight with Floyd Mayweather on Aug. 26, but he abruptly left the camp last week. Malignaggi cited a sparring session that got violent and a dispute of whether McGregor knocked Malignaggi down or pushed him down.
UFC President Dana White released 24 seconds of the sparring footage on Twitter. With Malignaggi claiming that McGregor pushed him down, some boxing community members came after Malignaggi for what they feel was trying to paint McGregor in a bad light.
When John Kavanagh, the UFC champion’s coach, was asked about Malignaggi’s presence at the gym and the ensuing controversy, Kavanagh’s response was a thankful one. Not thankful in that Malignaggi left, but thankful in how he helped McGregor.
“I haven’t actually seen anything. You know, you’re scrolling through the news and I can see he’s done quite a few interviews, but I’ve genuinely not watched one,” Kavanagh said. “The only thing I would say is I was very grateful to have him here. We got two great spars out of him.
“I’m very confident of Conor’s skills, but I’d have to be — you know, the engineer in me would have to be honest and say I hadn’t seen him spar a high-level boxer until I saw him spar Paulie, and it was nice to be confirmed what I was very sure of; his technique and skills would cross over to this area. That only confirmed it for me, so I’m very happy with Paulie, very glad he was part of the team.
“To be honest, two good spars out of him was kind of what I was expecting anyway. The fact that it went sour and he’s clearly unhappy, what comment can I make to that? That’s up to him.”
In addition, Kavanagh also talked about his prediction of the Mayweather-McGregor bout.
You can watch the full interview above.