Despondency slowly began to creep into the veins of Maciej Sulecki. His first defeat, a lopsided decision against Daniel Jacobs in 2018, forced the Polish native to readjust his game and work out the kinks in his overall armor. His second, however, was a bitter pill to swallow.
At no point was the 34-year-old competitive when he took on Demetrius Andrade for his WBO middleweight crown in 2019. Considering the severity of his defeat, losing every single round on all three judge’s scorecards, his pathway to another world title crack appeared to be both arduous and mind-numbingly long. Yet, like he always does, Sulecki threw on his hard hat and began putting in the work. The results, you may ask, were consecutive victories against fringe contenders.
Believing that he had finally peaked, Sulecki couldn’t stop himself from smiling when he was given the call in 2021. On the other line, representatives of Jermall Charlo, the reigning WBC 160-pound champion, offered the suddenly surging contender a shot at his middleweight throne.
Happily and quickly, Sulecki (30-2, 11 KOs) accepted Charlo’s brazen challenge. Ultimately, while he began putting himself through a strenuous training camp, the 34-year-old was disappointed when Charlo abruptly pulled out of their showdown, citing a nagging back injury and later, mental health issues.
Dismay aside, Sulecki recently praised the current title holder as not only a one-of-a-kind fighter but after carefully surveying the rest of the middleweight landscape, Sulecki can’t be convinced otherwise that Charlo isn’t the division’s top dog.
“He’s a very good boxer,” said Sulecki to BoxingScene.com. “He’s very strong, he’s world champion. He’s the best at 160.”
Soliloquy out of the way, Sulecki is now focusing on his own career. On June 9th, at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, the 34-year-old will return in a lower-profiled matchup against Victor Hugo Exner. As for Charlo, his future, despite being away for a protracted amount of time, isn’t very clear.
His back injury, nevertheless, is a thing of the past. More importantly, the mental issues that once plagued him, at least according to Charlo, are officially behind him. With the truculent champion now eyeing a return, Sulecki is hoping that Charlo will eventually circle back and give him a ring.
At one point during his middleweight reign, Sulecki was dubious that anyone had what it took to knock Charlo off his high horse. However, after his latest outing, a complicated and brutal war against Juan Macias Montiel, Sulecki is now singing a different tune.
“He’s a good fighter but in his last fight, he showed me that he’s not a monster. He’s just a regular guy.”