By Miguel Assuncao
O2 Arena, London - Matthew Macklin (34-6-0, 22KOs) gives himself a welcome rankings boost by edging Brian Rose (28-3-1, 8KOs) over twelve rounds to pick up the IBF Inter-Continental middleweight title. The scores were 113-113, 115-111, 115-111.
Macklin - a multi-time world title challenger - confirmed in the run up to the fight that he’d retire if he lost, and the Birmingham man started quickly using lateral movement to get inside where he varied his work to the body with short uppercuts while Rose tried to spoil his work and return fire with accurate straight shots.
Rose’s tactics paid off when he landed a clean left that caused light swelling to Macklin’s left eye, but that didn’t deter ‘Mack the Knife’ who continued to press forward to get his combinations off.
Both men are friends away from the ring, but both seemed aware of the repercussions of defeat as they traded leather to try and claim hard to score - and often untidy - rounds with Macklin being rewarded for his persistance when he cut the Blackpool man’s right eye in round six.
Rose - who has himself challenged for world honours against Demetrius Andrade - upped his work rate in the second half of the fight and his cleaner work began to become more noticeable as Macklin began to tire.
Bobby Rimmer - Rose’s trainer - encouraged his man to continue to force the pace and his pupil took it on board as he pressed forward with Macklin seemingly intent on disrupting proceedings with low blows and spitting his mouthpiece out on several occasions.
The final round saw Macklin come out firing as he looked for a stoppage but Rose was able to weather the storm - despite being deducted a point for stray elbow - and fire back himself, but it wasn’t enough for the Blackpool man to recover from his slow start as he lost out on an unanimous decision.