Paddy Barnes is turning pro, and has given a superb long-form interview to today's Sunday Business Post. It's a lengthy, double-page spread, and we highly recommend you pick it up.
Barnes touches on a whole range of topics, and not unlike his twitter feed, he is most entertaining when talking about Pat Hickey. A conversation about Rory McIlroy segued into the identity of Ireland's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony in Rio.
Pat Hickey had promised Rory McIlroy the honour should the golfer represent Ireland at the games, which stoked Barnes' twitter ire. Barnes tweeted " I see Pat Hickey crawling to Rory McIlroy about carrying the flag at the Olympics. What a prick".
Barnes explained the situation further to the Sunday Business Post:
I didn't like that because I wanted to carry the flag. When he did pick me to carry the flag, I said: 'Pat, you know what, you're not a prick after all'. He just laughed...
People in those kind of roles, presidents of associations or whatever, if you are doing well they want to lick your arse. If you're not doing well they don't want to know you. They show up for the photoshoots, but you need to play them at their own game.
If Hickey is guilty [of ticket touting] then fuck him. I don't care what happens to him really. It's nothing to do with me.
Barnes also addressed the media headlines surrounding his decision to sign a management contract with MGM. There is no suggestion that Matthew Macklin is involved in criminality of any kind, but the MGM gym in Marbella was searched last week by Irish and Spanish police as an ongoing investigation into the activities of the Kinahan crime cartel. It has been reported that Daniel Kinahan has been involved with the running of the MGM gym in Marbella.
Barnes tweeted his displeasure at the headline in the Irish News that read "Paddy Barnes speaks out after signing with gym caught up in gangland feud".
Disappointed at the front page of Irish News I feel like I got made to look like a criminal, not good for image https://t.co/TMxQRWdJ9D
— Paddy Barnes OLY (@paddyb_ireland) September 20, 2016
He tells the Sunday Business Post that he has no concern with MGM:
None at all, because MGM is Matthew Macklin. He is the founder of the gym, and he's my manager and he'll be looking after me. I have nothing to do with any criminality. Matthew Macklin is not a criminal. I'm not a criminal. So if anyone wants to talk about criminality, and about Daniel Kinahan and Christy Kinahan, they should go and ask them themselves.
[Sunday Business Post]