Irishman Matthew Macklin has transplanted himself to NYC to make more of a splash in the fight game. The 29-year-old caused ripples when he was tooth and nail with WBA 160-pound champ Felix Sturm last June in Germany. The home-turf thing helped the Germany-based Sturm, who escaped with a split decision.
Macklin is looking toward a St. Patrick's Day clash with Sergio Martinez, the acknowledged top dog at middleweight. The 28-3 (19 KOs) boxer, who grew up in Tipperary, notched a career-best win when he beat Amin Asikainen in England in September 2009 (KO1), and grabbed the Euro middle crown.
Since Martinez and Macklin are both promoted by NY promoter Lou DiBella, the scrap, likely headed for the MSG theater, is less likely to go off the rails. Martinez, though, would probably be inclined to shift gears if a true megafight emerged, against a Mayweather or Pacquiao, so don't assume this one is done until it's done.
I chatted with Macklin, who came to NY the end of September, before Miguel Cotto's open workout at Trinity gym downtown on Tuesday afternoon. "I'm coming in to my prime, in my prime," Macklin told me. "If I'd have fought Martinez on the night he beat Darren Barker (on Oct. 1), I'd have knocked him out, definitely."