Matthew Macklin’s career on a knife edge as he faces must-win fight

Matthew Macklin insists his next move will either be retirement or a world title bid, depending on the outcome of his showdown with Brian Rose in London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night.

The middleweight rivals will clash on the undercard of this Saturday’s world heavyweight title fight between Charles Martin and Anthony Joshua, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Former European, Irish, and British champion Macklin is aiming to revive his career as he bids to get another shot at an elusive world title following a run of middling performances over the past year.

The 33-year-old Birmingham-born Tipperary man is undefeated in three bouts but those victories came against average opposition as Macklin looked to rebuild from a crushing 2014 loss to Argentine Jorge Sebastian Heiland at Dublin’s 3 Arena.

‘Mack the Knife’ (34 wins, six losses) now looks to step back up to world level as he takes on fellow world-title challenger Brian ‘The Lion’ Rose (28-3-1) in what looks likely to be a fight to end one man’s elite ambitions, and Macklin has admitted as much in the build-up.

“Rose is a good fight because three or four years ago he probably wouldn’t have taken the fight and now he’s the bookies’ favourite, so that says a lot,” said Macklin, who spent time in LA training alongside Donegal’s world amateur medallist Jason Quigley in preparation for the date.

“It was good being around Jason and feeding off his enthusiasm. This fight against Rose is on the big stage and it suits me,” he explained.

“Saturday night will tell me what I need to know because if I can’t beat Brian Rose and beat him fairly convincingly then there isn’t going to be a world title shot and that’ll be it for me. That’s a very kind of logical way of seeing it,” added the three-time world-title challenger.

The 33-year-old is also the face of Macklin’s Gym Marbella (MGM), the Spanish-based promotional outfit who were forced to cancel a scheduled Dublin show last February after a shock fatal shooting at the pre-fight weigh-in.

Macklin was not present at the time of the incident and he insists his focus is on his own ring challenges. “It was a terrible shame what happened, but hopefully Irish boxing recovers from it,” he said.

“I’ve had a good camp, some quality sparring, the head is in the right place, I’m fit and fresh as well and I haven’t overdone it,” he added.

Macklin had experimented with a move down to light-middleweight (154lbs) but Saturday night’s bout will take place at his regular 160lb weight.

“I’m 34 this year so wherever the big fights are and wherever the world title opportunities come is where I’ll go. I’m looking for a good performance here to reignite my career.

“It’s a good platform on American television, pay per view in the UK and Ireland and a sold-out O2 Arena and if I put on the type of performance I feel I can put on then I think something will come up because I am an established name,” added Macklin, who will have his brother Séamus in his corner.


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