There are no two ways about it, Saturday night is crunch time for Matthew Macklin; the night he will fight to secure his future as a professional boxer. The night he finds out what he has left to give and whether it is going to be enough to get him to his fourth world title attempt. The night Matthew Macklin silences his critics and shows that he is still in the running.
“I think it's the perfect fight to tell me what I've got left,” Macklin said. He is under no illusion about his recent performances, “I haven't really boxed well for three or four years. I've had a couple of “ok” performances but we're talking five or six out of ten,” he said.
“Preparations for those fights didn´t really go well though for various reasons or I struggled to get up for the opponent I was fighting. My critics will say these are excuses, but instead I believe they are explanations as to why I haven't performed well.”
But Matthew isn´t ready to rollover just yet, he believes he has more to give and Rose is just the warm-up. He understands that fans may have given up on him following his last few fights but assures them that although he may not be the favourite he is going out to win.
“Brian is a real nice lad and a good fighter,” said Macklin “but three or four years ago, I'd have gone straight through him; in fact, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't even have taken this fight. Brian is the bookies favourite and I can see why. On the surface after recent performances you would have to assume I'm shot or certainly well on the slide. But if I'm honest, my head and heart weren´t in it, this time physically and mentally I feel in a really good place. I actually feel sorry for Brian because I think he's catching me at the worst possible time!”
Macklin has been in LA for six weeks preparing for this fight, to get focused and in the best shape he possibly could be. He has enjoyed some quality sparring and some good old American enthusiasm! He has given it everything he has got this time, taken advice from some of the best in the business and listened to his body. As a result he is focused, fit and chomping at the bit to get in the ring on Saturday night.
“I was over in LA for six weeks which was good,” he said “it has allowed me to focus, analyse a lot of things and get my head completely switched on. I got some quality sparring with the likes of Jason Quigley who's a really sharp kid and is really enthusiastic for everything. It was good to be around and to feed off that. All in all it was a great move.
Training with Seamus has been ideal; he knows boxing beyond his years and most importantly he knows me. I did a lot of strength and conditioning, heavy lifting and I feel my explosive power has improved noticeably!
I had a good chat with Bernard Hopkins at the Cotto vs Canelo fight and asked him his thoughts on my training. He advised me to cut down on the sparring, not to do so many rounds but to keep the quality because I need to stay sharp. But the most important thing he said was to listen to my body and not to be afraid to take a day off. So that´s exactly what I've done. I've trained hard, vomited several times but I've also taken days off when I've felt I needed them.”
And as for what the future holds; only Saturday night can tell. There is nowhere left to hide, Macklin needs to win or it is Game Over. He knows this and has no intention of letting that be the case.
“I haven't even thought about what's next because if I don't win this one then there is no next; I'd retire 100%. So there's no two ways about it, I am fighting on Saturday with my career very much on the line. But I feel super fit, in great shape and nice and fresh. But most importantly, I feel focused and raring to go!! I believe I'm really going to turn the clock back with this one and reignite my career with a spectacular performance!”
Macklin´s fight with Rose is part of The O2 bill on Saturday night when Anthony Joshua challenges Charles Martin for the IBF world heavyweight title. The fight can be seen Live on Sky Sports PPV.