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Paulie Malignaggi Says Conor McGregor's Sparring Is Improving

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09:  UFC featherweight champion Conor McGrregor of Ireland holds an open training session for the media and fans inside Madison Square Garden on November 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

With less than a month before Conor McGregor's superfight with Floyd Mayweather, sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi saw encouraging signs from McGregor after watching the UFC champion train. 

"I think the intensity Conor's reaching is starting to show in the hard work he's put into camp," Malignaggi said, per ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto. "I think he's getting better and better. I really felt improvements from two weeks ago to now ... I do see a guy who is implementing more and more of what they want to do in their game plan."

Malignaggi has been sparring with McGregor to help him prepare for Mayweather in the ring.

While working with Malignaggi should help him on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas, McGregor still faces what is nearly an impossible task of closing the gap on one of the best defensive boxers in the history of the sport.

McGregor's a very good striker in the realm of mixed martial arts, and 18 of his 21 victories have come via knockout. If he has an opening, he can end the fight with one punch. But that's far easier said than done against the 40-year-old Mayweather, who didn't look to have lost a step in his most recent fight, a unanimous decision win over Andre Berto in September 2015.

McGregor shared a video of his training on June 29:

Conor McGregor @TheNotoriousMMA

You've never seen these moves. #Ghost https://t.co/3u5grfk9Ix

In doing so, he unintentionally illustrated the gulf between himself and Mayweather, who also posted a training clip on the same day:

Floyd Mayweather @FloydMayweather

https://t.co/MS7Oosjl9C https://t.co/IqEBbEcv5W

According to OddsShark, McGregor is a 4-1 underdog against Mayweather.

McGregor may be able to silence his critics in Las Vegas in a little over three weeks, but many more experienced fighters stepped into the ring against Mayweather with the same intention and exited in defeat.

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