Friday, March 31, 2023  |


Malignaggi breaks down Pacquiao-Horn, McGregor’s style

Fighters Network

Three days later and we are still debating what happened in that Brisbane ring, and what those judges were seeing and arguing whether it was a ROBBERY, or a robbery or simply a close fight which could have gone either way.

Most all seem to agree that Manny Pacquiao acted his age in Australia and that Jeff Horn is a gritty dude who made the best of the situation.

But analysis still is bearing fruit. I asked Paul Malignaggi, the ex-pugilist now full-time analyst for Showtime, to dig deeper with me and help share some wisdom on why Horn had such success against Pacman on ESPN.

Seemed to me his caveman style rushes, a la Marcos Maidana in the first Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight, paid handsome dividends…

“Yeah, caveman style is basically all effort and the less conventional it is the more effective it can be if the fighter has a strong mind and a good chin,” Malignaggi told me. “It’s tough to time (i.e. Horn, Maidana, Shawn Porter), the awkwardness throws a timing fighter off. Guys that do well against that style are fundamentally very sound fighters (i.e. GGG, Miguel Cotto or Errol Spence Jr.) but not athletic type fighters.”

So, Paulie, you will be sparring Conor McGregor. Would you and will you encourage him to employ Horn-y tactics and strategy against Mayweather on Aug. 26?

“McGregor is not that kind of fighter, even in MMA he likes his distance and timing,” Malignaggi said. “Conor is a skill fighter, Horn is an effort fighter, comes down to temperament and style. We all have our own. Conor has a top-level team, I’m sure they are devising a proper strategy for him that they feel can succeed. Hopefully, I play my part in sparring and I’m able to open his eyes to things he may otherwise not have seen. Conor has a lot of athleticism and skills, it’s a matter of getting his boxing mind to catch up to the talent, not easy in a short amount of time but we shall see.”

Not easy, no. But Horn had to inject some optimism into doubters. I am dubious, as you all know, because a green guy can get dissected by such a master technician. This is why I wonder if a “caution to the wind” Horn type onslaught in round one and two if it gets that far are McGregor’s best bets. He’s not been a caveman sort but if you watch some other Horn fights, he hasn’t always fought in this rugged a manner. Your thoughts, friends?