By Nick Halling
The news that Matthew Macklin has parted company with former trainer Buddy McGirt came as no surprise. McGirt seemed a peripheral figure at best when Macklin was destroyed by Gennady Golovkin in the summer – although no coach in history could have saved the Englishman from that crippling body shot.
However, the announcement earlier today that the Birmingham middleweight is now to be trained by former foe Jamie Moore came as a big shock to just about everyone on this side of the Atlantic.
The two engaged in one of the great wars of domestic boxing in recent years back in 2006, when Moore stopped Macklin in the 10th round of an utterly compelling British light middleweight title fight. Respect was earned on both sides that night, and respect has grown first into friendship, and now into a working relationship.
Since retirement, Moore has impressed in his punditry role as part of the Sky Sports’ boxing team, but has clearly also caught the eye of Macklin for the job he did training Tommy Coyle for a Commonwealth lightweight title fight against Derry Mathews last July.
The fight ended in disaster for Coyle when he was taken out by a perfect left hook in the 10th, but until that moment, he had boxed superbly, executing a well-conceived gameplan to build a big points lead. The stunning end did not hide the fact that under Moore’s supervision, Coyle had boxed at a level previously thought beyond him.
Moore’s potential as a quality trainer was evident that night and Macklin, who has spent at least 10 weeks carefully considering his options, considers the Manchester man the person best placed to guide him back to the upper echelons of the world middleweight scene.
Moore will be in his corner when Macklin begins his comeback against Willie Nelson in Atlantic City next month. Work starts in earnest on Monday, when the former British and European light middleweight boss flies out to Spain to join Macklin at his Marbella-based training camp.
Moore is relatively new to being the lead trainer, but in addition to developing Coyle (who fights this weekend), he has been around good coaches most of his working life. Moore learned under like the likes of Ray Farrell and Billy Graham, and even had a session under the late Emanuel Steward.
But it was Oliver Harrison under whom he began to really develop. “Oliver told me to get a corner’s licence, and I have had it for about 10 years now. It gives you a chance to see a fight from all angles,” he said. “Oliver has been a big influence on me. It’s an aspiration of mine to be as good as him.”
Moore certainly has a good understanding of his new role. “I’m not going to try and change Matt too much, because he’s a world class fighter. But I can spot weaknesses, and I always try to allow my fighters to identify their own mistakes, because it’s a lot easier to fix something when a guy knows he’s doing something wrong, rather than have a coach just tell him.
“Matt doesn’t do much wrong, but he doesn’t always use his best attributes at the right times, and that’s what I’ll be there for. He doesn’t need developing or nurturing. I’ll make sure he’s well conditioned, I’ll study his opponents, implement a couple of gameplans, and we’ll just take it from there.
“To be honest with you, we’ve known each other for so long, we’ve worked in the same gyms, we’re already reading off the same page.” It sounds like it has the potential to be a union which could provide a major boost for both parties.
There have been howls of complaint in recent months over some of the decisions awarded to the home fighter in British rings, but barely a word of complaint was heard over the scoring of Brian Rose and Javier Maciel on Saturday night – even though a majority of reporters polled afterwards thought the Argentinian tough guy might have done enough to pinch it.
According to Rose’s trainer, Bobby Rimmer, that assessment was not shared by Maciel’s trainer, the hugely respected Miguel Diaz. “While we were waiting for the decision, I went over to shake his hand, because I’ve got so much respect for him,” said Rimmer. “He just said congratulations to me, as if he’d thought Brian had won. Afterwards, when I saw him backstage, he pointed to Brian and said, your man, two rounds.”
Rose himself feels he did enough, while also acknowledging the fact that this was a fight which could have been scored either way.
“Watching it back, I thought I won it by three or four rounds,” the former British champion said, “and I’m not usually biased towards myself like that. But it really depends on what style you like. If you favour the aggressive, come forward type, its him. But if you lean towards the more technical boxing, then I get the vote. Luckily, two of the judges saw it my way.”
While Rose deserves praise, Rimmer quietly put on a masterclass of how to run a corner in an intense, pressurised situation. Never flustered, always controlled, the veteran coach seemed to say the right things at the exactly the right time. There is a deep bond of trust between the two, and few trainers know their fighter quite like Rimmer.
After 10 draining rounds, the coach dispensed with tactics and technique, and appealed instead to Rose’s deeply-held family values, telling him to go out and win the last two rounds for his young son, Oscar. “Bobby’s work was just unbelievable,” admitted Rose.
“He said things that kept me going, kept me on course, and he never panicked or shouted at me. Without Bobby in the corner, I would not have won that fight. I know that for a fact.
“I knew I was always capable of winning, it was just down to how much I wanted it. And it wasn’t just for me. It was for my family too. I didn’t want to be letting other people down.”
Rose is planning on spending the next few weeks enjoying family time, while allowing a deep gash on the bridge of his nose to heal. The damage had first been caused during a sparring session with Kell Brook, and it didn’t take long for Maciel’s bludgeoning to open up the old wound. “There were two or three times in the fight that the blood was in my eyes so badly, that I just couldn’t see a thing,” said Rose. “But I knew there was every chance it was going to go, so I just had to get through it.
“It’s a deep cut so it’s going to take a while to heal, probably three or four weeks. But once it’s better, I’ll be back in the gym full time.”
Rose will now hope promoter Eddie Hearn can manoeuvre him into a challenge against the winner of the forthcoming WBO light middleweight title fight between Vanes Martirosyan and Demetrius Andrade. The Blackpool man will be an interested observer, and could possibly be at ringside.
“I don’t know a lot about either of them right now,” he admitted. “But a couple of people have told me that Vanes would be more suited to my style. I’ve heard he’s more of a come forward type, so maybe he’s the sort who’d be on the end of my jab. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Two years ago Rose was preparing to defend his English light middleweight title, hoping for a shot at the domestic crown. He’s moved up through the levels, winning the Lonsdale belt outright, and stopping a couple of former world champions in Joachim Alcine and Vivian Harris. Maciel represented his toughest test to date, and he came through a significant gutcheck.
“I’m learning with every fight,” he said. “Next time, for example, you wont see me getting caught with the uppercut like I was against Maciel. I’m improving with every fight and I’ve got a lot, lot more to show people.”
Nick Halling is a commentator for Sky Sports. Tags: Matthew Macklin , Willie Nelson , Brian Rose , Javier Maciel