Last Saturday, Ireland’s top-rated middleweight contender and world title challenger Matthew “Mack the Knife” Macklin (30-5, 20KO’s) once again put himself back into the title picture with an impressive 10-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated highly regarded prospect Lamar Russ. The bout against Russ came on HBO, the fourth consecutive bout for Macklin on their airwaves.
With the bout and some much needed rounds behind him, Macklin now has his sites set on once again challenging for a piece of the middleweight crown, and finally having the chance to exact his revenge on former foe Felix Sturm. Sturm, who earlier on Saturday stopped IBF middleweight champion Darren Barker in two rounds, won a highly, if not outright robbery decision over Macklin back in 2011.
“I punched Felix around the ring for 12 rounds in our fight in 2011, only to be robbed in what was described by many, including Lennox Lewis, Al Bernstein, and Andre Ward, as one of the worst, if not THE worst decisions they have ever seen.
Seventy-eight percent of German viewers voting online had me winning the fight. German TV had me winning the fight by four rounds. Felix Sturm got Axel Schultz fired afterward because he had me winning. That’s how spoiled Felix is and how embarrassed he was by it all! He knows that I beat him and the boxing world knows that I beat him. He has done well to win back the world title for a record fourth time for a German fighter, so for that I congratulate him. But he knows that we have unfinished business and if he’s a real man then he will give me a rematch like he promised. Actually, if he’s a real man then he should want the rematch for himself,” stated Macklin emphatically.
“Matthew was deprived of a world title belt the first time that they fought in their great but controversial battle in 2011,” said promoter Lou DiBella. “Sturm is a proud champion and I am confident that he will give Matthew his much deserved rematch.”
“We have unfinished business with Sturm,” added Anthony Catanzaro, Macklin’s advisor. “To say the least, the fight warrants a rematch. Revenge will be sweet. It’s a fight we want, a fight we deserve and a fight we will win.”
The first bout between Macklin and Sturm took place in Sturm’s home country of Germany, and was Macklin’s first world title opportunity. The Irishman made the most of his opportunity taking the fight right to the hometown hero Sturm, who was defending his title for the 10th consecutive time. It was a grueling battle, with Macklin seemingly having the clear advantage after the 12-round championship bout. CompuBox had Macklin averaging 92 punches thrown per round, doubling Sturm’s output. Macklin also landed 127 more punches and outlanded Sturm in 11 of the 12 rounds. Unfortunately though, two of the three judges didn’t see the fight that way, awarding Sturm a split decision and leaving Macklin longing for another shot at the champ.
Following the bout with Sturm, Macklin signed with promoter Lou DiBella and went on to challenge middleweight kingpin Sergio Martinez before a raucous sold-out crowd on St. Patrick’s Day at Madison Square Garden in 2012. Macklin gave the champion and top pound-for-pounder everything he could handle and was leading on two of the three judges’ scorecards before being stopped in the 11th frame.
Following the bout with Martinez, Macklin blew away former junior middleweight world champion Joachim in one round on the undercard of the Martinez-Chavez HBO PPV telecast in September 2012 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Around that same time, Sturm lost his title to Daniel Geale. Geale then lost the title to Barker, who, as previously stated, was stopped in two devastating rounds by Sturm this past Saturday. Now, the stage is set. Macklin met with both promoter DiBella and advisor Catanzaro earlier this week and made it clear that this is the fight that he wants more than anything else. Both fighters have been going back and forth on social media all week long and both seem eager to give boxing fans and insiders the much-anticipated rematch.