You probably haven’t seen the last of UFC star Conor McGregor in a boxing ring. Actually, a return to the squared circle should’ve been expected after the financial windfall the mixed martial artist experienced for August’s pay-per-view clash with Floyd Mayweather. $30 million plus PPV back end money would be more than enough to hold the attention of anyone.
Conor McGregor odds for next boxing match will probably feature him as a major underdog against almost anyone he’d be matched against. But, again, being the underdog means little if he’s going to be a supremely well-paid underdog.
According to one-time McGregor sparring partner and now serial McGregor antagonist, Paulie Malignaggi, talks are currently taking place to bring “The Notorious One” back to boxing– with Malignaggi standing across the ring as is opponent.
“I know Al Haymon started with Dana White…I know there’s meetings,” Malignaggi recently told Fighthype.com. “If they want the fight, they’ll make it….This fight is a bigger fight than anything else he has…the only way this fight doesn’t happen is if this guy absolutely has no balls…which wouldn’t surprise me, because he has no balls…”
The former two-division world champ doesn’t seem too interested in pursuing McGregor for a big money showdown, but only because he feels that the money will be too good to turn down and the bout is pretty much guaranteed to happen at some point.
“It’s gonna be presented to him in a way where he really shouldn’t turn it down, Malignaggi added. “Even if it’s not the next fight…There’s no way he should be walking away from this fight…unless he has no balls.”
Malignaggi-McGregor actually does make sense for all parties involved.
On the Malignaggi side, the Italian-American boxer might get the biggest payday of his career– a year or maybe two into his retirement. And even if he should lose to the UFC import, it could be pointed out that Paulie WAS retired, after all, and fighting well above his ideal weight at 154.
On the McGregor side, it’s probably true that a Malignaggi bout is bigger, financially, than anything currently available to him in the UFC. And, yeah, if he should lose to Paulie, he can fall back on the face-saver of him being a mixed martial artist competing in a completely different sport.
And from a fan’s perspective– why not make Malignaggi-McGregor? Like Mayweather-McGregor before it, this one should be an interesting detour in combat sports– a novelty bout that brings attention to both the UFC and boxing. It’s not like either sport is losing anything from making this exhibition and, given the legitimate bad blood between both parties, a good, entertaining battle might actually come from it.