By Jake Donovan
Matthew Macklin and Jorge Sebastian Heiland showed up in supreme condition at the official weigh-in for their middleweight clash Saturday evening at 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
Macklin tipped the scales at a ripped 159.5 lb., while Heiland was trim and ready at 158.5 lb. for their 12-round bout, which airs live on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.
Aspirations of winning a world title remain very much in Macklin's sights. The Birmingham (England)-based boxer of Irish descent came up short in three separate bids at a major crown, losing in a variety of ways.
A June '11 split decision loss to Felix Sturm was viewed by most as a questionable decision at best. Macklin (31-5, 20KOs) was given a fighting chance versus then-World lineal middleweight king Sergio Martinez nine months later, fighting on level terms for much of the night in their St. Patrick's Day clash at Madison Square Garden Theatre in New York City. However, Martinez rallied from a mid-rounds knockdown to drop and eventually stop Macklin in 11 rounds.
The one definitive title fight loss on his ledger came last June, as Macklin was starched in three rounds by Gennady Golovkin. The longtime contender had fought just one round in 15 months prior to that point, although a pair of comeback wins haven't suggested the night would've turned out much different.
Still, Macklin remains in the thick of things in a middleweight division that remains wide open once you get past Golovkin and World lineal champion Miguel Cotto.
Standing in his way is Heiland (24-4-2, 12KOs), who enters riding a three-fight win streak. Working against the 27-year old is his track record in road fights; Heiland is 0-2 in fights outside of his native Argentina, dropping a 12-round decision to Sebastian Zbik in July '10 interim title fight in Germany, followed by a decisive loss versus fringe contender Nilson Tapia just over two months later in Panama.
Heiland is 8-2-2 since then, though having avenged both of his losses over that stretch. His most recent appearance came in September, stopping longtime rival Mateo Damian Veron in five rounds, avenging a loss and a draw in their prior two bouts.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox