Months of hype resulted in a 10th round TKO as Floyd Mayweather improved to 50-0 after defeating Conor McGregor.
USA TODAY Sports
LAS VEGAS — Dana White, president of the UFC, said he wants Conor McGregor to return to the octagon. But if the mixed martial arts star wants to climb back into the boxing ring, he has a potential opponent in his one-time sparring partner, Paulie Malignaggi.
“I would talk about it, yeah,’’ Malignaggi told USA TODAY Sports after McGregor lost to Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night via a 10th-round technical knockout.
The rivalry would need little hype.
Malignaggi fumed when when McGregor released footage of a sparring session that appeared to show McGregor knocking down Malignaggi, a former world champion. Malignaggi said the footage misrepresented the 12-round sparring session that Malignaggi said he won.
Then he abruptly quit Aug. 4.
After watching McGregor’s fight Saturday, Malignaggi offered McGregor praise.
“He did a good job,’’ Malignaggi said. “Nice start for him. It kind of played out the way I thought it would after a few rounds passed.
“The first time you get a look at McGregor, including the first time I sparred him, it is a bit of a weird look. You don’t get a lot of punches off.’’
But White voiced no interest in McGregor lacing up boxing gloves again.
“I would rather he did not’’ box again, White said during a news conference after the fight. “This isn’t what he does. He is a mixed martial artist where he goes in and uses all his weapons. He couldn’t do that tonight. He did great tonight, I don’t think there is anything left to prove.’’
White offered McGregor effusive praise for his effort against Mayweather and noted the UFC star landed 111 punches — despite boxing analyst Max Kellerman having predicted McGregor would not land a single punch.
“I am so proud of Conor tonight,’’ White said. “It is not the fight I thought it would be. It was completely different. When you get into pro boxing, he went 10 rounds with one of the best ever.’’
Contributing: Martin Rogers