By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
MATTHEW MACKLIN is convinced he can upset the odds when he faces Sergio Martinez in the early hours tomorrow.
WBC middleweight champion Martinez is a long 1-8 odds-on chance to retain his belt at Madison Square Garden while Macklin is the 12-1 underdog.
But the 29-year-old Birmingham- born bruiser, who is now based in New York, says he can prove the bookmakers wrong.
He said: “I just know I’m going to win. He’s the slicker fighter, he’s the faster fighter and he’s a southpaw – but I have the measure of him.
“I can make him fight, I’m the bigger and stronger fighter. I don’t believe Martinez can cope with the intensity and burning desire that I will bring into that ring with me.
Over the last 10 years I’ve had up- and-down performances and I know I will need to be at my best against Sergio Martinez.
“I know I can do it. I am very confident that I will become the middleweight champion of the world.”
Macklin is hoping to succeed where fellow Brit Darren Barker failed last October when Argentine Martinez stopped him in the 11th round.
Macklin, who has not boxed since losing on points to WBA champion Felix Sturm in June last year, watched the bout and was left in no doubt he could get the better of the Argie southpaw.
But he is determined that the controversial split decision in the Sturm fight will spur him on against Martinez. He said: “I was very disappointed not to get the decision against Sturm – but this Martinez fight is the silver lining.
“Everyone in America saw it and they were way more outraged than we were in England or Ireland.
“Most people in America barely had Sturm even winning three rounds.
“Everyone thought I won it but in the USA they felt I really dominated him completely. Yet the decision went against me.
“It was good to get rewarded with this fight because being at Madison Square Garden, on St Patrick’s Day, against Martinez, it ticks all the boxes. It’s like a fairytale.”
PREDICTION: Macklin will give it his best shot, but I believe Martinez is just too powerful and will win, probably on points.