Matthew Macklin: Courage Personified

boxingBy James Slater - First of all, credit and praise goes out to world middleweight ruler Sergio Gabriel Martinez, who, after a tougher than expected first seven rounds with challenger Matthew Macklin, eased into a different class and got the job done in style.

“Maravilla,” one of the most amazingly well conditioned 37-year-olds in all of boxing, appeared angry at having been given a count in the 7th, when he touched down for a second after having been tagged by a right hand (his legs also getting tangled up with those Macklin) and he turned up the heat in the 8th, punishing Macklin with hard lefts hands to the head, which busted him up and had him down twice in the 11th.

The often underrated James “Buddy” McGirt showed once again how he cares about the wellbeing of the fighters he trains, and he pulled Macklin out before the 12th - a round in which the gifted southpaw would almost certainly have scored a KO; possibly a brutal and damaging one. Martinez once again proved he is the best 160-pounder on the planet, and he will now continue his search for a mega-fight..

But what of Macklin? Showing amazing guts and heart, the Birmingham warrior with Irish roots made his Saint Patrick’s Day fans both proud and happy with his courageous challenge. Making Martinez look human for the first half of last night’s engrossing contest, Macklin gave the Madison Square Garden crowd plenty to cheer about. Coming up short once again (Macklin was robbed in his fight with WBA champ Felix Sturm), “Mack The Knife” had no complaints this time. Nor did his fans.

Had he been in there with a Julio Cesar Chavez Junior or Sturm in a rematch, Macklin might well have done it last night. But, in wanting to fight the absolute best, Macklin went for the genuine middleweight boss - or, as MC Michael Buffer put it, “The Universally recognised best in the world.” Macklin has always done it the hard way and last night’s fight was no exception.

Macklin, your quintessential fighter, did everything he could to avoid becoming a brave loser, yet a very brave loser he wound up becoming. The best man won in New York, but the man in second place has nothing to be ashamed of. And Macklin CAN come again. Having done nothing but expand his fan base with his heroics (and his class; Macklin showed good skills to go with his heart and guts last night), the 29-year-old can expect another few big fights yet.

Wanting to come out for the 12th, Macklin was willing to go beyond the call. McGirt saved him for another day. Macklin could well become the holder of a major belt yet.

Article posted on 18.03.2012

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