Showtime Boxing Analyst Crosses Line By Confronting Conor McGregor: ‘Bring Your B*lls, P*ssy!’
“Did you bring your balls, Conor?” Paulie Malignaggi — lead boxing analyst for Showtime Sports — said to Conor McGregor on Tuesday in Las Vegas.
“Get over it! You got your ass whipped!” McGregor said in response.
The two got in each other’s face for a moment at Tuesday’s Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor grand arrival ceremony — the kickoff to what figures to be an absolute circus of a fight week. Security quickly separated them and McGregor walked off. Malignaggi continued to shout obscenities at the UFC star.
“Bring your balls Saturday, pussy!” Malignaggi said.
The genesis of the feud is a recent sparring session between them. Their accounts of what happened were widely divergent. McGregor’s camp released brief footage which shows Malignaggi falling to the canvas after a McGregor left hand shot followed by a push behind Malignaggi’s head.
McGregor says it was a clean knockdown and the footage was a microcosm of the entire sparring session. Malignaggi says he went down as a result of the push, and that he got the better of the sparring overall.
The dispute is — like practically everything else about Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor — completely ridiculous. It is also, for Paulie Malignaggi, more than sufficient grounds for his exclusion from Saturday night’s broadcast.
Frankly, Malignaggi’s mere participation in McGregor’s training camp ought to have been disqualifying on its own. But now, given the bad blood which spilled over on Tuesday, the idea that he can broadcast Saturday night’s fight with even a remote semblance of neutrality is utterly preposterous.
This is a shame, given the quality of Malignaggi’s work behind the microphone. We regard him to be the finest boxing analyst on television today without rival (save for part-time analyst Andre Ward, currently the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer). He has a unique ability to translate highly technical action in a concise manner that the average viewer can understand. He is quick, witty, and engaging. An all-around fine broadcaster.
But for the preservation of his credibility, there is absolutely no way he can be ringside on Saturday analyzing Conor McGregor. Not five days after screaming at the mixed martial artist to bring his testicles.
The network has options at this late hour. They can substitute Malignaggi with their unofficial ringside judge, Steve Farhood. They can also go with a two-man team of blow-by-blow man Mauro Ranallo and analyst Al Bernstein. Anyone but Malignaggi.
Of course, Malignaggi won’t like the idea that he’s missing out on speaking to what’s sure to be a massive pay-per-view audience. But in all candor, this farce of an event is beneath him. It’s a circus, not a boxing match. It’s making a mockery of a sport which often seems beyond mockery — much to the dismay of its ardent fans, including this reporter.
The Showtime analyst ought to consider this a blessing in disguise. For sometime after midnight eastern on Sunday, Conor McGregor is all but certain to either be counted out by the referee, or on the wrong end of a lopsided decision. He’s destined not only to lose, but lose in humiliating fashion. Wouldn’t Paulie Malignaggi, in his heart, enjoy it more if he were watching from his couch?
[featured image via screengrab, video via Fight Hub]
Joe DePaolo is a senior writer and the sports editor for Mediaite. He has covered professional boxing on a freelance basis since 2014 for outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Dallas Morning News. Follow him on Twitter (@joe_depaolo).
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.