Matthew Macklin Feels He Can Beat Sergio Martinez; Could Get His Chance Next Year

By James Slater: Matthew Macklin was a keen observer of this past Saturday’s middleweight title fight between champ Sergio Gabriel Martinez and gutsy, underdog challenger Darren Barker - and what Macklin saw from the Argentine southpaw makes him believe he can go one better than British rival Barker and defeat “Maravilla.”

Speaking after the fight he co-commentated on for SKY Sports, Macklin claimed his workrate, his variety and his strength would be “too much” for the 36-year-old.

29-year-old Macklin, 28-3(19) overall but beaten only by Felix Sturm at middleweight (this split decision points loss being a very controversial one to say the least), is now promoted by Lou DiBella who, as we know, also looks after Martinez. The word is it is possible DiBella will either put Macklin in with Martinez on Saint Patrick’s day next year or, by way of a final eliminator for a shot at Martinez, match Macklin with Ireland’s Andy Lee on the same date. The venue being discussed for either scenario is New York’s Madison Square Garden. Nothing is anywhere close to being finalised yet, of course, but I like the idea of Macklin squaring off with Lee, with the incentive being a shot at Martinez.

Lee avenged his sole pro loss at the weekend, putting on a career-best display while out-classing the teak-tough Bryan Vera. If Macklin - who certainly has a great engine and puts out more punches than his countryman Barker did on Saturday - can beat Lee, he will have earned a second “world” title shot. Lee will be no easy mark for Macklin, however - even if he does take too many unnecessary punches. In fact, such a match-up would likely wind up being referred to as a 50-50 fight or close to it.

But supposing Macklin does beat the Emanuel Steward-trained contender; can he then go on to do as he says and out-work and defeat Martinez? Opening up and throwing a near constant barrage of shots against a Felix Sturm (as Macklin did for almost all 12-rounds back in June) is one thing, doing it against the speedy counter-punching skills of the murderous-punching Martinez is another. It’s possible Macklin would be pretty much tailor-made for Martinez if he fought the southpaw king the same way he fought Sturm.

But Macklin deserves another chance against a top name, and if he can beat Lee or another fellow contender he will be right up there amongst the best middleweight challengers there are for Martinez (some would argue he already is). But will Martinez be content with facing another middleweight contender, or will he continue his search for a super-star opponent?

Article posted on 03.10.2011

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