The time is now for Matthew Macklin. That final window of opportunity to realise his dreams of being crowned a world champion has opened in the form of a makeable fight with the winner the Matt Korobov/ Andy Lee WBO World Middleweight title fight in December.
There can be no mistakes from here on in.
This won’t be the first time the courageous Birmingham man has heard such assertions, but I have a feeling it will be the last should he fail to dispose of Jorge Sebastian Heiland on Saturday night in Dublin. Failure, however, is not something the 32 year old is entertaining, admitting openly this week that retirement beckons should the unthinkable happen.
Macklin (31-5 20KO’s) will enter the bout very much the favourite to defeat Heiland (24-4-2 12KO’s), who despite winning his last three contests by knockout is taking a big step up in class and venturing outside Argentina for only the third time. (The previous two journeys to Panama and Germany respectively ended in defeat.)
A solid and decisive victory is needed and will bring a close to a difficult period for Macklin, which has seen his trainer (at the time) and former opponent Jamie Moore injured in a shooting whilst training at his Marbella training base. Subsequently, leading to the cancellation of the original 30th August meeting with Heiland.
For a short time at least the cruel hand of fate removed the prospective springboard into the world title mix and was replaced by a tune up bout on the Arthur Abraham v Paul Smith undercard in Kiel. Macklin was lacklustre and clearly lacking in motivation, battling to a majority decision over the limited Jose Yebes.
History tells us that for Matthew Macklin to operate at his maximum fear needs to be coursing through his veins, there must be a challenge that he is expected to fail, the one aberration of course being when he was demolished in 3 by Middleweight Grim Reaper Gennady Golovkin in 2013. However, this was certainly true of his two career best performances when robbed against Felix Sturm in Cologne in 2011 and stopped when performing valiantly in 11 by the then Middleweight supremo Sergio Martinez at Madison Square Garden in 2012.
This fear will be very much flowing through his body when backed by his passionate support, fired by the notion that one more slip, one more poor performance brings down the curtain on his world title aspirations at least. I expect no such mistakes this Saturday, with a full and settled training camp with Joe Gallagher under his belt, he will be focused and fight ready, going on to win a points decision.
What’s next rests in the hands of the promoters and accountants and Team Macklin will be praying for an Irish victory on 12th December in Las Vegas. What is for sure is that his next tilt at a world title will be his last.
For Matthew Macklin the time is now.