By Phil D. Jay
Former European champion Matthew Macklin will be an interested spectator when Martin Murray steps into the ring with WBA champion Felix Sturm in eight days’ time as he knows it could have been him opposing the German in Mannheim.
Macklin, 29, took Sturm all the way in June at the Lanxess Arena and was unlucky not to take away the 39-fight veteran’s title after a close split decision verdict, before failing to agree terms on an immediate rematch.
Now the new Lou DiBella signing, who bases himself in New York since the defeat, is predicting an easier test for the belt holder who takes on undefeated St Helens man Murray (23-0, 10 KO’s) in the eleventh defence of his world title.
“This to me could be a fight of levels,” Macklin told World Boxing News.
“Sturm has fought at world level for over seven years now whilst Murray has fought just one British title fight against a novice pro (Nick Blackwell) with no amateur experience.
“Sturm was has an exceptional amateur background and taking the occasion into consideration, I think Sturm will stop him in the mid-to-late rounds.”
29 year-old Murray, who holds the British and Commonwealth titles, will also be up against a Partizan crowd at the SAP-Arena and whether he can deal with the situation as well as Macklin will be witnessed on the night.
Sturm, 32, may be on the slide in his career though after dominating challengers on home soil for the past five years and Murray should look at the tactics used by Macklin for his blueprint.
Phil D. Jay covers the boxing scene for worldboxingnews.net