Matthew Macklin has challenged Irish middleweight rival Andy Lee to put up or shut up following Lee's claims over the weekend that Macklin would be one of his "easier" fights. (1 minute 48 seconds into the following interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-z6nHEhXP4 )
Lee made the bizarre claim prior to a points win over Anthony Fitzgerald in Belfast having already called out Macklin in a recent radio interview where he said, "That's definitely the fight I want so now I think it's time for us to get it on. We're fighters so why not fight each other. We're both with the same promoter so there are no obstacles really."
Both men are under contract to US promoter Lou DiBella and Macklin says it's time for Lee's actions to match his words.
"Lou has a HBO television date for May 11th and I know he wants to match myself and Andy on that show," revealed Macklin. "We're both promoted by Lou so as Andy himself said there are no obstacles to making the fight. It could be made in 5 minutes, Lou has a TV date for it and I want the fight so the only question is does Andy really want it or does he just want to be seen to want it?
"I've always said I'm open to fighting Andy but it's only recently that I've heard him talk about a fight between us and now he says it would be an easy fight for him. He obviously didn't think that back in 2010 when he turned down a written offer by Brian Peters to fight me in Ireland for a six figure purse.
"I didn't make a big deal about it at the time out of respect for Andy. It would have been an easy fight to make then and it's even easier now. I was surprised when I saw him say that a fight with me would be one of his easiest fights and I pulled him up on it on Twitter but he's gone very quiet since then. I honestly don't believe he fancies it and never has but he is after digging a hole for himself with his recent comments so it's time for him to put up or shut up.
"Face to face Andy has always been very respectful to me over the years and we got on quite well. I was one of the few that went over to El Paso, Texas last year to support him when he was stopped by Chavez Jr. for the WBC title. He's a decent boxer but privately he and the people around him have always known that I have his number. I've already told Lou that I'm happy to take the fight so if Andy wants it all he has to do is call Lou and we can get it on. Otherwise he needs to stop talking about a fight he's afraid to take and get on with his own career."
Macklin's manager Brian Peters says it's the fight that boxing fans are desperate to see. "I was surprised by Andy's comments," said Peters. "It seemed out of character for him but it was music to Matthew's ears because he has always wanted the fight. It's a fight that boxing fans have wanted for years and it's a fight I tried to make before but with both guys being promoted by Lou there's absolutely no reason why it can't happen now on May 11th."