Andy Lee and Matthew Macklin explain why they never fought

It’s always been deemed the one that got away.

Irish fight fans still lament the fact world class middleweights Andy Lee and Matther Macklin never fought.

There were call outs, head to heads in rings, constant rumours of deals being struck and even some tension between the pair, but two of the biggest names in Irish boxing at either side of 2010 never shared the ring.

Both have since revealed they agreed to the clash on more one occasion, but again we never got that Irish derby with an International feel.

John Duddy was also in the mix and another middleweight linked with both the two time world title challenger and the former WBO middleweight world champion.

On more than one occasion there was talk of a three way tournament involving the fighters who had American standing. Still there was always a feeling that Lee and Macklin had ‘first ever all Irish world title fight potential’ – and if held in Ireland the fight had enough about it to help kick start something of a southern revival.

None of the above came to pass and we never got what would have been a unique Limerick Tipperary meeting.

Speaking as to why it didn’t happen on the Boxing Show on Sky Sports this week, Macklin claimed the timing wasn’t right.

The show also shows a clips from ‘The Gloves are Off’ back in 2013 and if don’t regret the fight not happening now you are 20 seconds away from heartbreak.

The tension between the pair at that time would have lead to a memorable build up and possibly an all time Irish classic.

Watch below:

Lee and Macklin were also continually linked to the likes of Darren Barker and Martin Murray at the time.

Speaking since Limerick’s Lee, now a trainer of Paddy Donovan and Jason Quigley has stated he’s happy the fights didn’t happen.

The influential member of Tyson Fury’s backroom team believes defeat in a fight of such magnitude would rankle for life and has more than once said he is happy neither have to live with that.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com