By Jake Donovan/Photos by Ed Diller and Damien Acevedo.
Sergio Martinez is set to defend the real middleweight championship, while Matthew Macklin has designs on capturing that very crown. Both fighters easily made weight for Saturday night’s main event at MSG’s The Theatre in New York City.
Martinez (48-2-2, 27KO) showed up at a fit and trim 157.6 lb, no surprise as he had been reportedly walking around at roughly 165 lb. for the past several months. Macklin (28-3, 19KO) weighed in at 158 lb, his lightest since 2007 when he began campaigning full time at middleweight.
Saturday’s headliner marks the fourth defense of the lineal middleweight championship for Martinez, who defeated Kelly Pavlik to win the crown nearly two years ago. The 37-year old has scored knockouts in all three of his title defenses, entering this bout on the heels of a 10th round stoppage of previously unbeaten British contender Darren Barker.
The bout with Barker was suggested as evidence that Martinez is beginning to slow down. Reasons have varied for Martinez’ uneven performance – some say the Argentine southpaw suffered an injury, whereas others suggest he wasn’t as sharp in training camp.
Whatever the case, Macklin hopes to expand on the brief success enjoyed by his countryman in last October’s title challenge. The bout ends a nine-month inactive stretch, with his last bout being the controversial split decision points loss to Felix Sturm on the road in Germany last June.
Macklin’s performance that night left many in the industry to claim the Brit – though of Irish descent in playing into this weekend’s St. Patrick Day celebration – as the uncrowned champion. The status is fitting given his opponent, as Martinez has vacated two alphabet belts during his middleweight reign while being perfectly content with being recognized as the true middleweight king.
The televised co-feature has the potential to steal the show, pitting a pair of all-action super middleweights as unbeaten Edwin Rodriguez takes on fringe contender Donovan George.
Both fighters weighed in at 166 lb for a bout in which little more than bragging rights are at stake.
HBO will televise both bouts live from New York City, with the broadcast set to begin at 10:00PM ET.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]