The fire still burns for Macklin
Matthew Macklin knows that his boxing career is one defeat away from retirement.
After a 14-year career that has taken him to titles at Irish, British and European level plus three world title shots, and the small matter of a war with Jamie Moore that still gets talked about nine years on, Macklin knows where he stands right now.
The fat lady hasn’t sung yet, no. She might be warming up her tonsils backstage but Macklin has given her a tap on the shoulder to say: ‘I’m not done yet’.
At 33-years-old with an engine that at times has looked like cutting out, Macklin knows that being smart and gaining momentum and confidence is the key to additional longevity in his career.
“Now it has to be the right opportunity not just any opportunity because if I was to lose now then that would probably be me,” Macklin told Boxing Monthly.
“You don't want to give up at the final hurdle because the best could be just around the corner. You just need to show that mental toughness, strength of character, determination and belief.”
That final hurdle looked like it had come against Jorge Sebastian Heiland in November last year. The draining, 10th round knockout defeat looked like the end of the road for one of boxing’s most fearless middleweights in recent times. Afterwards, at ringside, a sensible light switch turned itself on for Macklin, one that he’s ignored over the years.
“That night I thought maybe it's old age and, from a boxer’s point of view and the career I've had, maybe the stamina isn't what it was,” said Macklin. “I wasn’t wanting to go down levels after losing that fight. I don't think I'm shot to pieces but I’m possibly not what I was.
“I'm established. I just need to get momentum and get my confidence back. I’m adjusting how I train because I'm 33 not 23. So there's a few things I've done differently. When the right fight comes, I'll jump at it. I don't feel I have to prove myself against a prospect coming through.”
Macklin freely admitted that he has no interest in gruelling world title eliminators or the kind of 50-50 fights that make for good YouTube views, but do little for that goal of becoming world champion. The Midlands-born middleweight wants opponents who will give him good workouts and ask a few questions. Right now, winning is everything. Staying active is everything. Winning that world title is everything.
“I still want to achieve things,” Macklin told BM. “Bottom line is I'm one of the most established names in the middleweight division. I've fought for the world title three times against three proper world champions, possibly three future Hall Of Famers in [Gennady] Golovkin, [Felix] Sturm and [Sergio] Martinez.
“My opportunity will come - I just need to string together a couple of wins before I have another title shot. To me now, I'm 33, I've fought for the world title, I've won the European - all the things I've done in my boxing career the thing that's missing is the world title. I do believe on the right night, with the right opponent, I can become world champion.”
“The next time I take a real, tough fight it will be a world title fight and one that I would be confident of winning.”