By Jai Bednall of news.com.au
Paulie Malignaggi has revealed the real story behind the viral photograph of him laying on the canvas in front of Conor McGregor during their hotly-debated sparring session in Las Vegas.
The photograph (above) was published on Twitter by McGregor photographer Dave Fogarty on August 4 with a caption "there (sic) no conspiracy, there (sic) no photoshop just pure unadulterated power".
Malignaggi has furiously denied he was ever knocked down by the UFC star during the 12-round session, insisting he was pushed down in the moment captured by Fogarty.
McGregor hasn't specifically addressed the situation - a move Malignaggi believes is aimed at maintaining the mystique around his boxing ability.
But in a lengthy discussion of his experience in the Irishman's camp, Malignaggi put everything on the table.
"The funny thing about the pushdown round was this ... it was during one of his worst moments," Malignaggi told the MMA Hour. "He pushed me down on the floor to try and catch a break. The instant I went down I got up and I remember I continued the trash talk and said 'what's up, buddy? you need a break?'
"I started taking it to him right after. I said 'there's no breaks here, you don't get no break' and started hitting him with more body shots and said 'take those, they don't feel good'. And I heard him start to whimper ... and said 'take those, eat those, get used to those'."
Malignaggi quit the camp after the image was leaked following the session - the second time he sparred with McGregor as the two-division UFC champion prepares for his boxing debut against all-time great Floyd Mayweather.
The retired pugilist, who won world titles in two weight divisions during a career in which he fought the best fighters of his era, labelled McGregor a "scumbag" and a "bitch", his team a bunch of "cheerleaders" and the accommodation he was provided with while he stayed in Las Vegas a "crackhouse".
Malignaggi's analysis of the 12 rounds was McGregor started and finished strongly but he was able to dominate in the middle rounds.
"He caught a nice one (beating) for five rounds," Malignaggi said.
"After seven, which was one of his worst rounds, he tells me '7-0 me'. I remember walking back to my corner yelling back to him, 'whatever school you went to they didn't teach you how to count'."
Malignaggi was also bemused by the presence of UFC president Dana White and McGregor's manager, Audie Attar, at the spar, believing they were invited because "The Notorious" expected to dominate. But as Malignaggi's confidence grew in the middle rounds, he made sure White was aware of what was happening.
"I was feeling so good I started yelling at Dana White ... 'this is the bitch you brought me here? 24 hours ago I was on a flight!'."
In his only public comments on the controversy, McGregor told Showtime's All Access: "He (Malignaggi) stayed in there, you've got to respect him for that. But that was it. He came, he got his ass whooped and that was it."