By Edward Chaykovsky
Middleweight contender Matthew Macklin is drawing a lot of inspiration from his close friend, WBA heavyweight champion David Haye. Macklin has known Haye since the two boxers were young amateurs. This Saturday Macklin challenges Felix Sturm for his WBA middleweight title in Cologne, Germany. Macklin has stood in the background and watched his amateur mates, Haye and Carl Froch, win world titles. He wants to follow in their footsteps.
"I actually draw a lot of inspiration from David," Macklin told Sky Sports. "He's been to Paris to beat Jean-Marc Mormeck, Germany to beat (Nikolai) Valuev and know he's going back there to face Klitschko. That's pretty much what I've got to do with Sturm, go into the lion's den as it were."
"Me, Carl Froch and David were, back in 2001, the three amateurs everyone wanted to sign. They both won medals at the World Championships in Belfast, I actually missed them through injury, but had won the ABA's that year. They were a little bit older than me but because of my amateur style, we were put in the same bracket. They of course, turned pro and won their world titles, but I've still got plenty of time left."
Macklin knows it won't be easy to defeat Sturm in his backyard of Germany. He plans to be at his career best to make an upset win possible.
"I think I'm at my best when the challenge is at its toughest - just as sometimes I've dropped my standards when I've been with guys I'm expected to beat easily," he said.
"I do think I am going to need the best performance of my career, but I have certainly done my best work in terms of training, I'm on top of my game and I can definitely put my hand on my heart and say I couldn't have done any more. I know I'm not going to freeze on the night and I know I am ready to give 110% - and I truly believe that will be enough."