Friday 16 March 2012

It's a long way from Tipperary...

By Mat McHale 

To be fighting this St. Patricks Day at Madison Square Garden’s has been a long journey for Birmingham born Irish parented Matthew Macklin.  It began in earnest at the age of 16 when he had to make a decision between hurling and boxing.  Luckily for fight fans pugilism won out and he began to concentrate on his career in the ABA’s.  After claiming the national ABA welterweight belt he turned professional in 2001.  From that moment on he had his sights set on only one thing, world domination.  His debut bout, a first round KO of the previously undefeated Ram Singh, seemed to show that it was a possibility. And although it still is the path hasn’t been an easy one.   
His first shot at a belt (English light middleweight title) ended with a 10 round points loss.  He got back on track five fights later when he knocked out Michael Monaghan in the 5th to lift the Irish middleweight belt.  However the British light middleweight belt would still evade him, he struggled to make the weight for his fight with Jamie Moore in 2006 and was made to pay with a 10th round knockout defeat.  It would be 2009 before Mack the Knife would compete for a British title again.  As they say everything comes to those who wait.  An impressive 3rd round TKO over Wayne Elcock.  In his next fight he continued to move forward and won the vacant EBU middleweight title after destroying the Amin Asikainen.  The Finn was down twice in the 1st before the ref brought an end to the proceedings 
His first shot at a world level was against Felix Strum last August in a controversial bout for the WBA Super World middleweight title.  The judges announced a split decision that favoured Strum.  This was not how the majority of those watching viewed the fight.  Including Macklin himself.  
'They (Americans) were way more outraged than we were in England or Ireland. Maybe it was because they love the aggression side of boxing, which I showed, and so most in America barely had Sturm even winning three rounds. Everyone thought I won it, but over here they felt I really dominated him completely. 
The feeling of being cheated against Strum has been borne out by the fact that his next fight is another tilt at a world title.  This time he will face Argentinean Sergio Martinez.  The lineal middleweight champion and number 3 in the P4P rankings.  A fighter who has made a conscience choice to not worry about the ‘alphabet’ world titles but who does hold ‘The Ring’ belt.  It will undoubtedly be his toughest test and although the bookies don’t fancy his chancesMatthew himself believes Martinez is ‘a one trick pony’.  Due the trans-Atlantic Irish connections Madison Square Gardens will feel like a home fight for Macklin.  Add to this rumours that Martinez hasn’t looked himself in sparing and has been tagged more than once, Macklin will feel he can come good on his prediction, ‘He’s 37, he looks 37 and he’s gonna feel 37 on Saturday night.’   So this St. Patricks Day let’s hope the luck of the Irish is with The Tipperary Tornado.

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