Why Conor McGregor vs Paulie Malignaggi Makes a Whole Load of Sense
What’s coming next for Conor McGregor? As usual, the Irishman has a plethora of options.
The bookmakers are generally a pretty good guide of what might happen as they like to get ahead of the game and offer odds on a number of possible options in their ‘future matchups’ markets.
Las Vegas bookmaker Bovada is already offering odds on potential McGregor matchups in mixed martial arts.
The Dubliner is a 1/5 favourite to defeat Floyd Mayweather should the 50-0 boxer take the shock decision to step into the Octagon, while more likely scenarios have the Irishman a 23/10 underdog in a world title rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov and a 1/2 favourite to defeat future UFC Hall of Famer Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
Meanwhile, English bookies Skybet have McGregor 4/9 to defeat Cerrone, 5/2 to beat Nurmagomedov and 6/5 to defeat current featherweight champ Max Holloway in a lightweight rematch. However, another option may soon be added to those list with the rumour of a possible boxing bout against Paulie Malignaggi.
And while bouts against Nurmagomedov, Holloway and Cerrone may whet the appetite for MMA fans, a return to boxing to face ‘The Magic Man’ might just make the most sense of all the options available to him.
Boxing’s not dead… not even close
The regular narrative that “boxing is dying” could not be further from the truth.
The advent of sports streaming platform DAZN, as well as bookmakers like bet365 who offer video coverage, means fans can stream boxing events live from whatever device they happen to have. They are no longer restricted to a television with a cable box.
DAZN’s arrival is helping drag boxing into the 21st century, just as the sport seems to be experiencing a resurgence.
The sport, which lacked superstar names a few years ago, is building new stars, and the addition of McGregor to that list could only be good for business – both for boxing and for the Irishman himself.
McGregor lost via 10th-round stoppage to Floyd Mayweather in his one and only pro bout two years ago, but overall, his performance surprised many as he looked better than many expected against the 50-0 all-time great.
Many believe Mayweather ‘carried’ McGregor into the later rounds before eventually finishing him, but nonetheless, the general consensus after the contest was that the Dubliner performed beyond expectations.
A second shot?
It begged the question of how he might do against another boxer who isn’t quite at Mayweather’s level.
Step forward Paulie Malignaggi.
The pair had a high-profile spat during McGregor’s training camp for the Mayweather fight, where footage of McGregor dropping the New Yorker found its way onto the internet, sparking debate over the knockdown’s legitimacy.
The Malignaggi-McGregor spat served as a second storyline during the buildup to Mayweather-McGregor, and seemingly laid the groundwork for a second McGregor boxing match, should the Irishman decide to step into the ring again.
Low risk, high return
The former two-division boxing world champion was renowned for his fast hands and slick footwork, but not his punching power.
The New Yorker has a career record of 36 wins, eight losses, but has only stopped seven of his opponents, showing that he has claimed his victories through outboxing his opponents rather than simply blasting them out of the ring.
A KO win for McGregor could potentially open up even more options outside of the octagon. If he loses, it’ll likely be because he was outboxed by Malignaggi. For a man competing in just his second professional bout, there would be little shame in that. In short, it’s a fight with a much bigger upside for McGregor.
The fight would easily shift a truckload of pay-per-views, and with both men not shy to speak their mind and offer a soundbite or two, the bout could well capture the imagination of MMA and boxing fans to deliver another huge audience – and payday – for McGregor.
Betting-wise, the bookies are unsure of the result, with Skybet setting both men as 10/11 shots to claim victory should they ever meet in the boxing ring in 2019.
It might not be what MMA purists want to see McGregor do next, but in terms of pure business, it might just be the best option for his next outing.
Watch this space…