Matthew Macklin says he’s determined to be the man to end Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez’s reign as World Middleweight Champion but he’s refusing to resort to trash talking in a bid to get the Argentinian in the ring with him.
Macklin, currently rated number 3 at Middleweight by the Ring magazine, has recently relocated to New York and signed a promotional deal with Martinez’s promoter Lou DiBella in a bid to land a showdown with the man widely regarded as being in the top three pound for pound fighters in the world.
“I have too much respect for Sergio and what he has achieved over the last few years to bad mouth him,” said Macklin. “He’s been a breath of fresh air for the sport, he doesn’t duck any challenges and he conducts himself like a Champion inside and outside the ring. I have no intention of slagging him off but obviously I’m very confident that I would beat him. I think our styles would gel for a sensational fight and I’m confident our promoter Lou DiBella can put it together for Sergio’s next defence.”
Macklin was ringside in Atlantic City earlier this month as part of Sky Sports commentary team for Martinez’s most recent defence, an eleventh round stoppage win over Darren Barker and he admits that the experience proved a useful scouting mission.
“I’ve watched a lot of Sergio’s fights over the years but it was good to be ringside at the weekend,” said Macklin. “When you are there in person it gives you a better idea in terms of a fighter’s speed and power. He was carrying a leg injury in to the fight so he probably wasn’t at his best, but he proved he was a champion by grinding out the win and in the end scoring an impressive stoppage over Darren.
“I spotted little things that I’m confident I can take advantage of. He’s very fast, a sharp puncher and very clever in the way he sets traps for his opponent but it’s a challenge I would relish and I think I proved against Felix Sturm that I belong at the very highest level now.
“I know that Sergio would like a mega fight with either Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao but I think he represents too much risk and not enough reward for either of those guys. He’s stated himself that he’s not big enough to move up to Super Middleweight so the most likely scenario is that he will take on the next leading challenger at middleweight. My name seems to be cropping up amongst the boxing writers and fans on Twitter and Facebook as the best challenge out there.
“It’s an easy fight to make, we’re both promoted by Lou DiBella and I think it’s a natural fight for Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s Day next year. I don’t think there would be a spare seat in the Garden, even thinking of the atmosphere at that fight gets me excited about it!”
Macklin has made the decision to relocate to New York in order to build his fan base in the Big Apple ahead of a showdown with Martinez. “New York has so much history in the middleweight division going back to that great period in the 40s, 50’s and 60’s when you had guys like Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano going toe to toe at Yankee Stadium, the Jake LaMotta and Sugar Ray Robinson fights in the Garden and Champions like Carmen Basillio, Joey Giardello and Emile Griffith all headlining in New York.
“Martinez is following in the footsteps of another great Argentinian Middleweight champ, Carlos Monzon and he defended his title in the Garden back in the 70’s. With all that history I think New York is the natural home for a fight between us. It’s a city that’s synonymous with the middleweights and with the Irish so I can’t think of a better place to base myself.
“The Irish community over here is massive but it’s also a very close knit one and I’m determined to give them plenty to shout about. I’ve already met so many people here who watched the Sturm fight on Epix and they all saw for themselves who really won that fight so they know just what I’m capable off and they have already got behind me in a big way and I will be looking to repay that support.”