Can Matthew Macklin Bounce Back?

By Olly Campbell - 05/06/2015 - Comments

This Saturday, Birmingham middleweight Matthew Macklin (31-6, 20ko) attempts to steer his career back towards world title glory in a confidence building fight against Ferenc Albert (12-7, 7ko) on the Matchroom sport show from the city’s Barclaycard Arena.

Macklin – just days shy of his 33rd birthday – is coming off a devastating knockout loss to Argentine contender Jorge Sebastian Heiland (25-4-2) last November that left many in the trade questioning whether the Brum fighter still has the goods to mix it at top level.

Macklin has come extremely close to world title glory in the past, suffering a SD loss to Felix Sturm in Germany – the home of questionable scoring. He also had a great fight with Sergio Martinez next time out in New York though after flooring “Maravilla” he was put down twice himself and forced to retire before the final round.

It’s now been almost two years since he was stopped by Kazakh wrecking-machine GGG and following the loss to the murderous puncher, he had been rebuilding his career with a couple of decent enough wins until the Heiland disaster – in front of a partisan crowd in Dublin (where he enjoys massive support thanks to his Irish parents), really put the brakes on things.

Now it would appear that Macklin, who is trained by Jamie Moore (a man who also defeated him in a 2006 thriller) is looking towards title contention once again. Whilst remaining realistic, he said via the Manchester Evening News;

“Andy (Lee) and I fighting would be massive but he’s out injured at the moment and obviously I need to get back in there and get winning to be in line for a huge fight with him. I’d love to fight (WBA reg champion) Danny Jacobs too. Our names have been linked in the past so that’s a fight we would jump at.”

“This is a must win on Saturday. I can’t afford to lose at this stage of my career and coming off that last loss. It’s an 8 rounder but potentially the fight before a big, big fight. There is a lot at stake.”

I’m glad that Macklin has the bit back between his teeth. Finding the desire can be incredibly tough when you are up against it, and one has to ask how many trips back to the well can he endure? He has been in some tough fights throughout his 14 year professional career.

The Heiland loss was devastating against a fighter he was tipped to beat and who many (inc me) seemed to overlook going in. Nothing exceptional about him stood out before that night in Dublin, but it’s true to say the better man won on the night.

Of his fighter, trainer Jamie Moore told Sky Sports;

“I’d be worried if Matt spoke about boxing at a lower level because that means he isn’t confident in what he’s got left. But he’s mentioning Andy Lee and Danny Jacobs which is a real possibility if he comes through this weekend. Matt is a name in America – he had 6 fights on the trot out there – so there are always options”

While that is indeed true, there are two men on the domestic 160lb scene who may have something to say about Macklin chasing Lee and/or Jacobs.

Hatfield’s Billy Joe Saunders is mandatory to Andy Lee and his WBO strap. Chris Eubank Jr holds the WBA interim 160lb title, so for all intents and purposes it is he who is mandatory to the American. The Super version of that strap is held by Golovkin, a man both would be wise to avoid.

And while promotional ties will most likely keep Macklin from fighting either of the two Brits, it is looking like they will now indeed face off for a 2nd time in the Summer following a shoulder injury to Andy Lee.

As for the Anglo-Irish fighter, he knows what he must do and is realistic of his prospects should he slip up again. He has been there or there abouts at world level for some time – and along with a guy like Martin Murray, has been agonizingly close to world championship gold. It must be incredibly frustrating to be so close, yet so far.

This fight on Saturday is a fight he needs not just win, but win in style. And I would recommend another fight or even two to get back in the swing of things before a crack at Lee or Jacobs, who looked good recently against Caleb Truax out in America.

Yet at 33, a fighters best years are already in the rear view mirror in many cases so Macklin is sure to be mindful of that.

Only when the first bell rings on Saturday, will we begin to see if the like-able Brummie really has got anything left in the tank worth writing home about.

Lets hope so….

Many thanks for reading

I’m on twitter @Undilutedpoison