Macklin's fighting fit and ready to claim middleweight title shot with victory over Alcine
18:42 GMT, 13 September 2012
One of Britain’s most under-rated boxers is heading for a date on a starry Saturday night here in the Nevada desert on a promise that he will be given another shot at one of boxing’s most cherished prizes if he turns on his ancestral Irish charm at full power.
Matthew Macklin, born in Birmingham of parents from the Emerald Isle, can expect to bid for the lineal world middleweight title if he defeats a former champion, Canada’s Joachim Alcine, in style.
Macklin was robbed by the home-town judges in Germany when he challenged Felix Sturm, another ex-holder of a middleweight belt, last year.
Robbed: Matthew Macklin (right) reacts after a controversial defeat to Felix Sturm
Now promoter Lou DiBella promises: ‘If he wins this one, and does so convincingly, Matthew will looking at another title bid. Perhaps against the winner of the biggest of all the fights here this weekend, Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr versus Sergio Martinez.’
To which Macklin responds: ‘Good enough for me. I won’t be satisfied until I have a world title belt wrapped around my waist.’
So many of boxing’s most dazzling lights are generating extra illumination along this neon strip that Macklin has been able to slip into town under the radar for the fight which will decide how soon, if ever, he gets that second tilt at his life-long ambition.
No fewer than six world title fights take place on two competing promotions less than two miles apart here – and on rival TV networks across America.
The most mouth-watering pits Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr, the son of the Mexican Legend who is now a WBC champion in his own right, against, Martinez, the matinee idol from Argentina who is nine years his elder.
Across town another precocious young Mexican, Saul Canelo Alvarez, defends his world super-welterweight title against California’s Josesito Lopez.
On the rise: Macklin could look forward to a title shot
Both bills are packed with championship action but it is the one at the sold out Thomas and Mack Center – capacity 19,186 – which demands first Macklin’s presence, then his closest attention.
Macklin, who was beaten by Martinez earlier this year in New York, will be putting down his marker when he enters that ring.
DiBella says: ‘Beat Arcine and next it could be the winner of Sergio and Julio an hour or so later, or Daniel Geale who has just unified two of the middleweight belts by beating Sturm.
‘I will be looking to make that fight on the east coast – New York, Chicago or Boston – around St Patrick’s night next March so that the Irish come out to support Matthew.’
For Macklin, at 30, that is a huge incentive as he strives for that elusive world title before the years take the toll.
This likeable and articulate former British and world champion has a future as a TV analyst, but he is not ready for that just yet.
Macklin, having established a strong fan base in New York during a long stay there at the time of his fight with Martinez, has now set up a gym in Marbella ‘for myself and any other fighters who want the advantage of training in warm weather.’
Fan base: Macklin is popular in New York
He declares himself the fittest he has ever been in a highly respectable 28 wins, four defeats, 19 KOs career:
‘For once no injuries and a perfect training camp. Alcine is no slouch, either, with 33 including 19 KOs hallmarking his 36 fight record.
‘No fight which can lead you to a world title opportunity is easy,’ says Macklin. ‘But I’m ready.’
And despite his late stoppage by Martinez, he is still rooting for the Argentinian and therefore hopeful of a re-match with a 37-year-old who, remarkable specimen though he is, has to feel his age sometime.
Chavez-Martinez and Macklin-Arcine will be live from 2am Sunday in Britain on Primetime via Sky Channel 498 and Virgin on Demand, at 14.95
Alvarez-Lopes will be live from 2am Sunday on BoxNation via Sky Channel 437 and Virgin Channel 546.