Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Will Macklin Have the Luck of the Irish Against King Sergio?

(for more original artwork: www.brettwoodillustration.com)

This Saturday, Sergio Martinez will defend middleweight championship for the fourth time against another tough European challenger as he defends his. This time he faces Matthew Macklin, an England born British-Irish fighter on the eve of St. Patrick's Day.

Martinez is coming off a tough 11th-round stoppage of previously undefeated, English-fighter Darren Barker. Macklin, the European middleweight champion, is coming off a hotly disputed decision loss to hometown winner Felix Sturm. Macklin's refusal to accept Sturm's negotiating tactics have paid off in the form of a title shot against the Argentinian champion. Whether he's the most deserved challenger for the crown is disputed. But he is a marketable fighter for the times in New York City.

In the three-plus years since Martinez raised eyebrows by beating fringe contender Alex Bunema, he has been on a tear.  But the fight that catapulted him to boxing's ceiling was his jaw-dropping one-punch kayo of previously iron-chinned Paul "The Punisher" Williams. Unfortunately for King Sergio, the glass ceiling has proven much thicker than its original appearance. Since he is deemed too big for Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, boxing's power brokers, and too small for the super middleweight division.

Macklin, who is coming down in weight following his close battle with Sturm, proves to be the best money-making opportunity for Martinez in a division not void of tough contenders but void of tough seat sellers. Until Martinez, who moved up to the middleweight division, decides which way he wants to play with his weight, he will have his hands full with Macklin, a straight ahead brawler who will gladly take punches in return for winging his own.

This fight is coming off the heels of a classic slugfest handed in by Juan Manuel Lopez and Orlando Salido in the now-classic rematch. Whether Martinez's herky-jerky, inviting style will produce fireworks is unsure. What is sure is that Macklin will have to produce a Herculean effort to dethrone middleweight's current king.

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