EXCLUSIVE: Macklin set for Chavez Jnr clash next Spring ahead of Martinez re-match
17:15 GMT, 14 December 2012
Matthew Macklin is closing in on a mouthwatering middleweight clash with Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr – which he hopes will propel him into a rematch with Sergio Martinez.
The Birmingham-born Irishman is recovering from surgery to his nose and expects to face Chavez in America in April or May.
Macklin, 30, impressively knocked out former world champion Joachim Alcine inside the first round in Las Vegas in September while Chavez was comprehensively out-pointed by Martinez on the same night.
Ready to rumble: Matthew Macklin is confident he can strike a deal to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr next Spring
Martinez faces Martin Murray in Argentina on April 27 with a view to taking on Chavez again in September but Macklin, who himself was stopped by Martinez in March, plans to crash the party.
Macklin has spoken briefly to Chavez's promoter Bob Arum and expects negotiations to be completed in the new year although an exact date and venue for the bout are yet to be agreed.
'I'd say the fight is 80 per cent likely,' he told Sportsmail.
'Even though I lost the Martinez fight, I took a lot of confidence from it. From a stylistic point of view, Martinez is a nightmare but with Chavez, what you see is what you get.
'He's strong, he works the body well and puts a lot of pressure on but I certainly won't have to go looking for him. I don't think I'll find it too hard to get my own shots off. I carry a lot of power so I'd be very confident going into the fight.'
Macklin also revealed the build-up to his clash with Martinez was plagued by injury.
On the cards: Macklin believes boxing fans would love to watch him take on Chavez Jr
'Things looked great in the training camp but three weeks out, I bruised my rib in sparring so I didn't spar for the rest of the week,' he added.
'Then two weeks out, I did 12 rounds on the pads and ended up skinning my knuckle really badly on my left hand so for the last two weeks, all I did was shadow box and run.
'After round eight or nine I was ahead, in fact going into the 11th, I was three rounds up on one of the judge's card. I thought it was closer and that I needed the last two rounds to win the fight. I probably got a bit more reckless in the 11th and I got caught with some big shots.
'I felt fine to continue but [trainer] Buddy [McGirt] wouldn't let me out for the 12th and I could see his reasons. At the time I wanted to continue but there was no fallout or anything.
'Martinez hasn't had a more competitive fight since he won the belt from Kelly Pavlik. Aside from the last round, in which he was looking to survive, it was a domination of Chavez. I don't think at any stage in the fight did he dominate me.'
Re-match: Macklin wants another crack at Sergio Martinez after losing to the Argentine back in March
Macklin is confident that victory over Chavez would land him a second tilt at a world title, assuming Martinez comes through his test against Murray.
'I gave Martinez a better run than Chavez did, bar the last round [when Martinez was knocked down],' he said. 'If the last round hadn't happened, I don't think there would be any talk of a rematch but because it did, it's a very sellable fight.
'A big win against Chavez on HBO in the States would certainly set up a rematch with Sergio Martinez.'
Macklin, who admitted he was glad to see British rival Darren Barker return to action with a convincing victory over Kerry Hope last Saturday, believes the triumvirate of himself, Barker and Murray could yet clash.
'It would definitely be better when one of us has a world title,' he said. 'If I beat Chavez and then have another good win in the States, I'm not going to leave HBO and fighting for world titles in America to come back for a non-title fight.
'But a world title is not an absolute must, it comes down to timing. Everyone has their own career and it comes down to when it suits both guys that a fight will be made.'