Irish middleweight contender Matthew “Mack the Knife” Macklin is an intelligent boxer-puncher, who has shown that he is not afraid to engage or press the action when necessary. He is currently ranked #5 by the WBC and #14 by the WBA.
There are times when a loss brings more positive attention to a fighter’s career than any of his previous victories. Coming off his controversial loss to “Super” WBA middleweight titlist Felix Sturm, that statement could not be truer of Macklin, 28-4 (19 KOs). But now, Macklin is looking for redemption under a new promotional banner, a deal to bring him to the United States that was facilitated by Brian Peters, his manager since 2005.
“I am really happy to have signed with DiBella Entertainment,” said Macklin. “I’ve known Lou DiBella for many years. I met him in Manchester when Paulie Malignaggi fought Lovemore Ndou in 2008. We spoke about doing something together in 2010, but the timing wasn’t right. I feel that we’re now on the same wavelength. I’m excited about the future and I feel that I am in very good hands with Lou.”
Born in Birmingham, England, to Irish parents, Macklin was studying law at Coventry University while simultaneously competing as an amateur boxer. After winning the national senior Amateur Boxing Association of England welterweight title in 2001, Macklin made the decision to put his studies on hold, to the ire of his parents, in order to pursue a professional boxing career.
In Glasgow, Scotland, on the undercard of future featherweight champion Scott Harrison, Macklin turned pro, stopping Ram Singh in just 112 seconds, on November 17, 2001. Going on to win his first nine bouts, six by knockout, Macklin built up enough of a reputation to challenge for the British junior middleweight title. Fighting Andrew Facey on November 6, 2003, Macklin lost a razor-thin 10-round decision by one point, with a score of 96-95.
Macklin bounced back from that defeat winning three straight before fighting professionally in Ireland for the first time against Michael Monaghan for the Irish middleweight title, on May 14, 2005, his 23rd birthday, at National Stadium in Dublin. Macklin won the belt with a fifth-round knockout, at 1:28 of the frame.
Three months after winning the Irish middleweight title, Macklin traveled across the pond to get his first taste of fighting in the United States, winning two bouts by knockout, stopping Leo Laudat in three, in Atlantic City, and Anthony Little in two, in Philadelphia.
After two knockout victories back in England, Macklin would engage Jamie Moore in one of the best fights of 2006, in his second attempt to win the British junior middleweight crown. Fighting Moore at George Carnall Leisure Centre in Manchester on September 29, Macklin was quickly drawn into a brawl and the two continued to fight in the trenches for over nine brutal rounds, before the Irishman would succumb to a knockout halfway through the 10th frame.
“I fought Jamie Moore at the wrong weight,” said Macklin. “Although I shouldn’t have fought Moore’s fight, making weight was the problem in that bout. I felt weak, I had no stamina and no reflexes. I stayed at welterweight and junior middleweight for far too long. I am a middleweight.”
Maintaining a busy schedule over the next two years, Macklin would win his next six fights, three by knockout, including a 10-round decision over veteran Yori Boy Campas in Dublin. Macklin then returned to his hometown of Birmingham to challenge Wayne Elcock for the British middleweight title on March 14, 2009, winning by TKO in the third. Macklin followed that up with a fight against Finnish Amin Asikainen six months later and destroyed him inside one round to add the European title to his collection.
After defending the European title in two of his next three victories against Shalva Jomardashvili via TKO6, and Ruben Varon over the distance, Macklin was poised to make a big splash on the world boxing scene with a bout against former junior middleweight champion Winky Wright set for Las Vegas. However, that bout did not come to fruition when Wright pulled out after suffering an injury in training. A WBA eliminator against Khoren Gevor next presented itself with the winner to face Felix Sturm. Contractual issues led to Macklin pulling out of that contest, but he was rewarded with a direct shot at Sturm. Despite losing a highly controversial split decision on the champion’s home turf, Macklin made a statement with his dynamic performance.
“I went over to Germany and I proved myself. I felt that I won,” said Macklin, who lost the split decision by two votes of 116-112 for Sturm and a 115-113 tally in his favor. “I feel that if we fought 100 times, I would beat him every time.
“I think the Sturm fight was an eye-opener for the boxing public at large. Sturm is a leading man in the middleweight division and I think I proved that I am among the top three middleweights in the world.”
DiBella Entertainment President Lou DiBella was thrilled with signing Macklin. “I viewed signing Macklin as a no-brainer,” said DiBella. “I happen to like the kid very much and that is part of it. There are certain guys who have very pleasing styles for TV. This guy rumbles but he also has skills. He’s fun to watch and made a case that he stands near the top of the middleweight division with the way he fought Sturm and Martinez.”
Macklin faced middleweight champion Sergio Martinez on Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2012, in front of a packed house at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, in New York City. His challenge of Martinez came 18 years to the day after his first amateur bout, as an 11-year-old, on Saint Patrick’s Day 1994. Macklin fought well early on, using movement and combinations against the champion. His fiery spirit led to some exciting changes down the stretch. In round seven, Macklin was credited with a knockdown when a right hand caught Sergio and forced him to keep steady by placing his glove on the canvas. Though from the point on, Martinez took control and stopped the brave Macklin in round 11.
Back in action six months later, Macklin fought former junior middleweight champion Joachim Alcine, on the undercard of the Chavez-Martinez middleweight championship bout, at the Thomas and Mack Center, in Las Vegas, on September 15. Halfway through round one, Macklin landed a short, quick right hand upstairs that dropped Alcine hard. Alcine arose and met Macklin center ring only to be bombarded with a barrage of leather from the Irishman, concluding with a left hook that dropped the Canadian a second time. With a weary Alcine climbing to his feet once more, Macklin went in for the finish, unloading combinations with his adversary trapped against the ropes, until referee Jay Nady halted the action at 2:36 of the frame.