Matthew Macklin says his career is on the line on Saturday night when he faces WBC International Middleweight champion Jorge Sebastian Heiland at The 3Arena in Dublin, live on Sky Sports.
The 32 year old meets the Argentine in a WBC World title eliminator in his first fight in Ireland since December 2009, and he says the stakes couldn’t be higher for his return to the capital.
“It's the fight I need at this stage and if I cannot beat him, then that's it really,” said Macklin. “I know I will beat him and it will set me up for a big 2015 where a World title shot will definitely come about.
“He knows that beating me is a massive scalp and it throws him into the limelight and he'll probably get a World title shot.
“At this stage of my career having won the European title, Irish Title, British title, boxed in Las Vegas and Madison Square Garden and in World title fights, I wouldn't be putting in what I am putting in and making the sacrifices I am making if I didn't think I could become a World champion. Golovkin is the best Middleweight in the world, but I am confident I could beat any of the other fighters in the division, but I have to get past Heiland who is a serious fighter, he's never been stopped and a couple of losses he has had he has gone on to avenge them.”
If Macklin sees off Heiland on Saturday, he’ll be a keen observer as fellow countryman Andy Lee takes on Matt Korobov for the vacant WBO title in Las Vegas on December 13. Macklin rates Lee’s chances against the Russian and hopes that a pair of wins for the Irish duo could lead to a huge domestic clash, while he still has his eyes on St Helens’ Martin Murray.
“Andy has a good chance against Matt,” said Macklin. “Matt is a counterpunching southpaw and quite technical, Andy is a technical boxer too and I think Matt will give Andy time and I think he's a class act when he has time. It's not out of the question that Andy can win the fight and him having a World title would be that extra ingredient for a fight between us, which would be a massive fight anyway. I'll be rooting for Andy for selfish reasons but also for him too as he's flying the flag for Irish boxing and he's a good lad too.
“There's a bit of needle between Martin and I and it's a fight that has been talked about for a while. We've both boxed Sturm and Martinez, he's proven, well respected and rightly so as am I. I think beating Heiland would put me at number two in the WBC, Martin is number one but he's got Golovkin next. So down the line, it's very likely they would sanction a final eliminator. A World title on the line would be great for that fight but a final eliminator is the next best thing, especially as Cotto is such a marquee name. I am up for the Murray fight, he is and Sky Sports would love it, so I think it's a fight that makes a lot of sense for everyone involved.
“My career doesn't revolve around Andy Lee or Martin Murray though, I have to take the biggest and best fight out there for me, as will they. To be World champion is my ultimate goal, if it means fighting them to get there then so be it.”
Macklin’s World title eliminator against WBC International champion Heiland is part of a huge night of action in Dublin.
Kal Yafai defends his IBF Inter-Continental Super Flyweight title against Everth Briceno, Manchester Lightweight star Anthony Crolla is in action, unbeaten Dubliners Declan Geraghty and Luke Keeler both fight in their seventh fights, Belfast’s unbeaten Cruiserweight Tommy McCarthy fights in his fourth pro contest and exciting Stourbridge Welterweight Sam Eggington and Manchester Light Welterweight Kofi Yates are also in action.
Tickets for the blockbuster night are on sale now priced at €30, €50 and €80 from The 3Arena at www.3arena.ie and on 0818 719 300 (R.O.I) and 0844 8472 455 (UK and NI). VIP tickets priced €150 are exclusively available from Matchroom Boxing at www.MatchroomBoxing.com and on 01277 359900.