By John Angus MacDonald
As previously reported on BoxingScene, middleweight contender Andy Lee claimed over the weekend that Matthew Macklin would be one of his “easier fights” if they were to meet. BoxingScene caught up with Macklin to discuss his rival’s claims and what the future holds for the Birmingham-born, Irishman.
“I was a little surprised by [by and Lee’s comments] because we’ve always got on so well personally” said Macklin
“There was talk years ago of us fighting each other, but we’ve always been very amicable and there so never anything said. I think words were put in his mouth a little bit, the guy who was interviewing him said: ‘Matthew Macklin thinks he’s above you’. I actually didn’t say that about Andy though. That was a reference to when I was on Ringside and they asked if I though I was above the two guys in the studio [Darren Barker and Martin Murray], I actually brought up Andy Lee’s name and said he should be mentioned with us, so when he said he thinks I’d be an easy fight I was thinking: ‘Wow, where’s he going there?’”
The 30-year-old responded to Lee’s statement by publicly challenging him to a fight on May 11th. The fight would be easy to make as Lou DiBella, promoter of both men, has the date lined-up for and HBO broadcast, however that fight now seems unlikely.
“I think he’s eating his words a bit as he’s not really singing that tune at the moment,” said Macklin. “He was just on Irish radio saying he’d need a few more fights, at least one or two anyway. He said the start of the year that now was the time to make the fight, there had been talk over the years but the time was now so I just said: ‘Look, Brian Peters offered you the fight, Frank Warren offered you the fight in 2010 when Barker pulled out and now we’re both promoted by Lou DiBella, he’s offered you the fight again. The only reason this fight isn’t happening is because you don’t want it, you don’t fancy it’. That’s fine, but don’t go mentioning my name unless you want the fight! Best of luck with your career but you can’t be talking the talk if you don’t want to walk the walk — put-up or shut-up!”
He added: “A fight with me, there would be nothing better [to get Lee back in to title contention]. HBO, before the [Gennady] Golovkin fight previews said I was the leading fighter in the middleweight division without a title so from my point of view I’m risking it all fighting Andy because I’m in a good position, I’m giving him the opportunity to get straight back in the mix. He’d get his biggest payday to date, he’d get straight back in the mix so there’s every reason for him to take the fight and not so much for me. The fact that he doesn’t want the fight means he obviously doesn’t fancy it and I can’t say I blame him because I think I’d beat him but be careful what you wish for because you might just get it!”
As well as the Lee fight, speculation has been rife that Macklin could face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in what would be the Mexican’s first fight since losing via a wide points decision to lineal champion Sergio Martinez in September. Yet frustratingly for ‘Mack the Knife’, Chavez Jr. appears to be pursuing other options.
“Who really outside of Golovkin, Martinez, [Daniel] Geale, Kid Chocolate [Peter Qullin] could you put up there with myself apart from Chavez, but he’s pretty much nailed on to fight Martinez. I really don’t think he’s going to take the fight with us. There was a lot of talk and I definitely thought it was going to happen at one stage, but I don’t think he’s having his hearing [for a post fight sample testing positive for marijuana] until February. You never know but the way Lou said it to me was that he has this huge fight with Martinez in September, (he said) it’s a huge payday so he’s not going to fight you. I’m too high-risk for him so I’m not holding my breath on that one.”
Despite coming up short in his two previous world title tilts, firstly finding himself on the wrong side of a controversial split-decision to, then WBA titlist, Felix Sturm then having his corner withdraw him before the final round against Martinez, Macklin’s desire to claim that elusive title is as strong as ever.
“Martinez is out of the question,” he said. “He’s fighting Martin Murray, then he’s fighting Chavez so no point waiting on him. ‘Kid Chocolate’ is fighting Fernando Guerrero at the end of April so he’s out for a while. Golovkin is possible, he’s fighting March 30th so we can’t really say ‘til after that. I think Geale is the one most likely to happen in the short-term and I think our styles would gel nicely, I think it would be a great fight and I think I can beat him.”