Macklin on Lee-Saunders, 168lbs offers and Murray
Middleweight contender Matthew Macklin returns to action on 28 August when MGM Promotions brings boxing to the Andalucian Plaza in Marbella. It should be a night that keeps Macklin busy, moves him to win number 33 and on to a 17 October appearance on Matchroom’s latest card in Birmingham. A few hours later, the Birmingham fight faithful and many an eager boxing fan will sit down to watch Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux go to war at Madison Square Garden in a WBA/IBF middleweight unification clash.
“Every time there's a fight the landscape changes,” Macklin told Boxing Monthly. “Lemieux is champion, Billy Joe [Saunders] could be champion [in his rearranged clash with WBO champion Andy Lee on 10 October in Manchester]… the landscape changes every few months.”
Naturally, Boxing Monthly asked Macklin for his thoughts on the outcome of Lee vs Saunders. “Andy has got a good chin. Saunders has got a good chin. Andy hits hard and carries his power. Some people are dangerous early and Andy Lee retains his power in the late rounds. He keeps that power with him. Billy Joe does seem to tire. He’d naturally fade if he puts so much into the early rounds of the fight maybe he can pace it better. Andy’s dangerous.”
For now, Macklin can sit back, stay active, rack up some wins and wait for an opportunity that will likely come along. Everyone else can scrap it out and Macklin (32-6, 21 KOs) hopes he can swoop in at the right time and pick some pieces of the world title.
“I’ve always been ‘I don’t give a f***, I’ll fight anyone’,” laughed Macklin. “Everyone’s got styles that suits them but I was always willing to fight anyone. At this stage now, it’s got to be worth it. It has to stack up. If it’s a world title shot then no problem. I’ve already took enough stupid fights because of ego or bravado.”
For a period, particularly after his defeat to Jorge Sebastian Heiland, there were others ready to swoop down on Macklin and sweep him off to America. A nice little earner but it would have come at price called 168lbs. Players at super-middleweight believed Macklin was ripe for the picking. Vultures circled, ready to offer Macklin that one final shot at a weight he has no interest in – in fact, he told BM that he could still make 154lbs.
“The fights are coming up but they're coming up at 168lbs, if anything I could go down and make 154lbs,” he said. “I could definitely make it, it'd be tight but I've no plans at all about going up to super-middleweight. The [Julio Cesar] Chavez [Jr] fight was offered, the Anthony Dirrell fight was offered. Like I said, if I was going up to 168lbs I'd be taking a cash-out.”
Former middleweight rival Martin Murray has ventured north to super-middleweight hoping to quench his thirst for a world title after challenging the same three opponents Macklin did for world honours at 160lbs. Macklin vs Murray has been talked about for years, a once popular topic on the forums and in the pub. Now it’s a match-up that seems further away than ever, but…
“We might still fight,” admitted Macklin. “Eddie [Hearn] kind of mentioned that fight to me for September time. I’m comfortable at 160lbs so if it’s anything above 160lbs I’m not really interested. That was my stance on it.”
And what does he think of his old rival’s chances of super-middleweight glory? “I don’t know, he was a good, solid middleweight,” said Macklin. “Having said that, I’m not saying he couldn’t win any more. Did he go up because he couldn’t make the weight or did he go up for the bigger fights against [George] Groves and [James] DeGale and the fact he can’t travel? You can’t help looking at it from that point of view.
“If he’s absolutely dead at middleweight then he had to go up to super-middleweight. Some people can make the gap. He wasn’t that big a puncher and I don’t think he’ll have that much power at super-middleweight at all. There’s some big guys up there.”