By Matt Bevan
Matthew Macklin, 32, will look to start his latest charge at the world middleweight title with a win over Argentine's Jorge Sebastian Heiland in Dublin on Saturday, and he believes that a good performance against Heiland will put him in pole position for a fight with WBC champion Miguel Cotto.
The three-time world title challenger believes, as one of the leading names in the division, he will be well and truly back into title contention for a meeting with Cotto.
He said: “This fight with Heiland is a WBC eliminator, but looking at the rankings, a good performance from me puts me right back into contention for a fight with Cotto.
“I’m still one of the most recognisable names in the middleweight division—I was on HBO four times back-to-back—so a good win will make me the most likely to fight him, if the fight with Canelo Alvarez falls through.
“I’ve fought three of the biggest names in the division in Felix Sturm, who I beat [although the official decision went the other way], Sergio Martinez, who I gave plenty of problems and I was stopped by Gennady Golovkin but there is no shame in that. After beating Heiland, I will move further up the rankings and might well be number one, because Martin Murray might lose his rank with the WBC, as he’s fighting Golovkin.”
Macklin, 31-5 (20), is in extremely confident mood for Saturday’s clash, where Heiland’s WBC International title is also on the line. He claims that he has the buzz that had previously been missing back and also credits trainer Joe Gallagher for helping regain his “cutting edge”.
“Joe deserves a lot of credit for getting me in fantastic shape, not just physically, but mentally as well. That cutting edge you need to succeed at the highest level in this sport is well and truly back and I genuinely can’t wait for Saturday.
“He knows me so well and he knows what makes me tick, so he pushes the right buttons to make me train hard. Sometimes if you’ve achieved a lot, it’s difficult to get up for the so-called lesser fights, but that is definitely not the case with Heiland, who brings a real threat.”
“Mack the Knife” also believes the environment and the success in Gallagher’s gym will set him in good stead for future title challenges and now he is back in Dublin, for the first time since 2009, he says he has the perfect recipe for success.
“It’s great to be training with Joe again and also be back in Dublin for the first time since 2009. I’m two fights on from the Golovkin fight and I’m in fantastic shape. I’m switched on for the fight with Heiland, because I can’t afford to lose.
“I go way back with Joe and it’s been brilliant to be back in his gym. It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s absolutely true because success does breed success. It’s true that it rubs off on you and the environment is superb. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since the Sturm fight and I feel that I’ve got the perfect recipe for success.”