How Matthew Macklin’s final fight laid the foundation for the Conlan-Robles link-up

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While he may not have known it at the time, Matthew Macklin went on a scouting mission earlier on in the year.

The Tipperary Tornado based himself in Los Angeles for what would turn out to be his final fight against Brian Rose in April. While on the West Coast, the then-World title chaser spent some time in Manny Robles’s ‘The Rock Gym’ sparring fellow Irish middleweight Jason Quigley.

Macklin would defeat Rose in London on the Anthony Joshua v Charles Martin pay-per-view undercard, however the performance confirmed for him that he could no longer compete at World level an he therefore retired on something of a high, with his pride and faculties intact.

The Birmingham-born man then decided to focus the entirety of his energy on management, and his crown jewel would soon become Mick Conlan. When it came to making a decision on who shall train the Belfast super bantam, there was a Manny Robles-shaped lightbulb moment for Macklin.

Speaking to Red Glove News, the 34 year old explained how “my last fight was in April [v Brian Rose] and for that fight I was based out in Los Angeles and seven or eight of those days I was out in the gym and sparred with Jason.”

“I saw the sparring that was here in and around Michael’s weight. Particularly with Oscar Valdez [WBO featherweight champion] and Jessie Magdaleno [WBO super bantamweight champion] here, You couldn’t dream of better sparring.”

“I know Manny from six years ago when I was training in the Wildcard and he used to bring the Chudinovs, Dmitry and Fedor, up to spar with me.”

While the sparring situation seemed perfect, Macklin knew that this would count for nothing if Robles and Conlan did not gel. Thankfully, they did over the past week whilst Conlan was out in America to get to know the former LA Matadors coach. Former European, British, and Irish champion Macklin outlined how “I believe that with training fighters it’s not about the best trainer or the best fighter, they have to click, they have to gel, it’s a marriage. After the very first day, Mick said to me ‘I like him’, they clicked straight away, they were working well on the mitts together.”

“For me, Manny’s one of the best up-and-coming trainers in the sport, if not the best.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: