With only two days remaining until they can finally settle their differences in the ring, Paulie Malignaggi and former UFC fighter Artem Lobov avoided a physical confrontation but let the expletives fly during the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships 6 press conference on Thursday.
The fight came together thanks to the bad blood shared between Malignaggi and Lobov’s close friend and teammate Conor McGregor after they engaged in a sparring session back in 2017 ahead of the Irishman’s fight against Floyd Mayweather.
The rivalry between Malignaggi and McGregor eventually spilled over to Lobov, who will now try to settle the score when he meets the former boxing champion as he comes out of retirement to fight for the first time in two years.
During two previous meetings things got physical when Malignaggi slapped Lobov during an open gym session earlier this year and then spat on the former UFC featherweight following the last press conference.
This time around, Lobov took shots at Malignaggi for coming out of retirement for the wrong reasons and how he will pay for that decision on Saturday night.
“The talk is over for me. I’ve said everything I have to say,” Lobov said. “I just want to get this man in here on Saturday night and show the world what happens when you run your f—king mouth the way he did. He’s only here for the money. We all know it. This is the sad truth of boxing, it could happen to any one of us.
“Saturday night he’s going to make a nice paycheck, I’m going to make two holes in his head and we’re going to go home happy.”
The real fireworks started once Malignaggi took the microphone with Lobov sitting just a few feet away as former UFC title contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson was on hand to help ensure the fight didn’t start two days early.
“You broke b—ch, sit the f—k down,” Malignaggi shouted at Lobov. “It’s the biggest fight of your career cause you started s—t with me. Get the f—k out of here. I don’t need money, I like money, there’s a difference.
“This guy always has nothing to say and then when I get on stage he wants to talk more than me.”
Considering the disdain shared between the fighters it’s no surprise that there’s not a shred of mutual respect to be found when it comes to Lobov and Malignaggi despite both having vast experience in combat sports.
For Lobov, any respect he may have had for Malignaggi went out the door with the way the New York native has decided to promote the fight including the slapping and spitting incidents that happened previously.
“Come on now, no one respects this guy. How could you respect this guy?” Lobov said. “I guarantee you his own parents are watching him at home going ‘where did it all go wrong?’. Like ‘how did we not bring this guy up the right way, what is wrong with our son?’.
“There is such a thing as building a fight, that’s no problem, we’re going into fight each other. That takes certain levels of intensity that you have to have. You’re going in there to hurt the guy and he’s going to do the same to you so that’s understandable. But this guy has crossed over the line and I think anybody who has any kind of respect in them, that understands what respect is, will not be on this guy’s side.”
Once the press conference wrapped, Lobov and Malignaggi faced off — this time without any pushing, shoving or security being forced to intervene — although they did start jawing at each other again before finally being pulled off the stage.
The next encounter will go down on Friday at the BKFC 6 weigh-ins as Malignaggi and Lobov keep inching closer and closer to their meeting inside the ring on Saturday.