Macklin and Campas Ready for War

Put the house on it – the next Fight Night looks set to be a sure fire candidate for the 2008 “Fight of the Year” with Irish middleweight champ Matthew Macklin set to do battle with former World Champion Yori Boy Campas at the National Stadium, Dublin on March 22nd..

In 2006 both men were involved in two of the best, if not the best fights of that year – and on the same night. The 29th of September, 2006 is a date neither Macklin or Campas (or indeed any boxing fan) will forget in a hurry

In Manchester Macklin lost a brave bid for the British light middleweight title against Jamie Moore after 10 torrid rounds of phone booth warfare while just a few hours later on the other side of the Atlantic Campas gave John Duddy the fright of his life losing on a close decision after 12 back and forth rounds of action.

For Macklin this fight represents a major step up in class having moved up a weight in 2007 and successfully recovered from the Moore loss with 3 straight stoppage victories. Campas has shared the ring with some of the modern greats including Oscar De La Hoya and Felix “Tito” Trinidad.

Incredibly his fight with Macklin will be his 103rd outing as a professional with the Mexican warrior having turned pro at the age of 15. In his 20 year pro career he’s compiled an amazing record of 91 wins (73 of them by KO) and just 11 defeats and picked up the World light middleweight title along the way.

Now 36 Campas is determined to prove that he still belongs at the highest level but Macklin who will have new trainer and former two weight world champ Buddy McGirt in his corner in Dublin believes that an impressive win will bring his title ambitions into sharper focus.

“It’s a real step up in class for me and just what I need,” said the Birmingham based Irishman. “Campas is a very seasoned pro, you only need to look at the names on his record to see that.”

It will be the Arizona based Mexican’s second successive trip to Europe and having been beaten by former European champion and world rated Amin Asikainen in Helsinki he’ll be hoping for better luck in Dublin. Macklin has already studied that bout and believes that the seventh round defeat for Campas was not a true reflection of the fight.

“I thought the stoppage was very premature. Campas was still on his feet and firing back and he looked disgusted that it had been stopped. Up until then the last guy to legitimately stop him was Oscar De La Hoya and there was certainly no disgrace in that.

“I won’t really be looking to stop him because when you look for the stoppage it never comes. You have to be patient and anyway I want to get back to boxing a bit more as that side of things was neglected a bit when I was with Billy Graham. People forget that I was a very good amateur boxer and I need to get back to using those boxing skills.

“To be honest it will be difficult to do that with this fight because with the style Campas fights there’s nearly always fireworks and if it does become that kind of fight I won’t be found wanting.”

Macklin flies out to McGirt’s gym in Vero Beach, Florida this weekend to begin a month long training camp in the Sunshine State. “Part of the reasoning behind linking up with Buddy was to get me boxing more again,” explained Macklin.

“Obviously Buddy was a tremendous fighter himself and I’ve been really impressed with him as a trainer. You only have to look at how he turned Arturo Gatti from a brawler to a boxer to see the kind of influence he can have on a fighter so I’ll be hoping for a similar transformation.”

McGirt says he’s excited about working with Macklin. “I’m really looking forward to working with Matthew. I’m currently working with Paul Smith who I took on after working with him on the Contender T.V. series. He trained and sparred with Matthew when they were both in Billy Graham’s gym and Paul highly recommended Matthew to me so I’m excited about it.

“I know all about Campas, he’s a tough, tough veteran who’s been in with everybody and he is still a dangerous guy so it’s a good challenge for Matthew.”

Campas says he won’t be drawn into any trash talking or bold predictions ahead of the fight but promised, “I can only tell the people that they will see a real fight, I can guarantee that.”

His manager Joe Diaz added, “Yori is an incredible guy. He turned pro when he was just 15 and 20 years later he’s still competing at the highest level. He’s ageless and if people think he’s slipping because he got stopped by Asikainen they’re very much mistaken. The fight’s available to watch on YouTube for all to see and anyone can see that It should never have been stopped.

“Yori Boy wasn’t hurt, what happened was that the sponsors logo on the ring came loose and Yori’s feet got caught up in it. He got tagged with a few shots as he was trying to untangle himself and then the referee jumped in and stopped it. It was a crazy decision.

“I don’t make any excuses but in this case people can make their own minds up. After the fight Yori Boy didn’t even have a bruise but the other guy had 28 stitches over his eye and a broken hand. Anyway that’s behind us now. You have to move on and we plan on doing that in Dublin.”

The undercard for the Fight Night is headed by an eagerly anticipated Irish Light Welterweight title rematch between Cavan’s Andrew Murray and Belfast’s James Gorman. The two first met last December at the Kings Hall in Belfast with Murray winning on a technical decision after an accidental clash of heads in the fourth round left Murray unable to continue.

Under Boxing Union of Ireland rules the fight went to the referee’s scorecard and Murray kept his unbeaten record intact courtesy of the early lead he had taken. However even the new champion admitted that the outcome was unsatisfactory and both men are keen to do it all over again and settle affairs more conclusively.

The card will also feature Cuban heavyweight sensation Mike “The Rebel” Perez. Despite only having arrived in his adopted hometown of Cork in mid January the 22-year-old former world Amateur Champion has already racked up two quick fire wins in the pro ranks.

Perez’s manager Gary Hyde believes that with his amateur pedigree the power punching Cuban will bring the world heavyweight title back to Cork.

Another unbeaten heavyweight on the card is unbeaten Belfast banger Martin Rogan. The former Irish Amateur Champion is closing in on a shot at the Irish Professional heavyweight title and will have his first scheduled 8 round contest on next months card.

Irish professional’s Aidan Mooney and Leon Senior will also be in action.

Tickets for the Fight Night priced from €60 go on sale from 9am tomorrow morning (Friday, February 15th) from and all usual outlets.

Article posted on 14.02.2008

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