By Jonny Stapleton
MATTHEW Macklin looks to have beaten fellow Irish middleweight Andy Lee to a St Patrick’s Day New York showdown with WB world champion Sergio Martinez.
Promoter Dibella had created a Mexican stand off between his middleweight trio hinting on numerous occasion that one of the Irish fighters would get a March 17 New York clash with the man deemed the best middleweight in the world.
However, it appears Limerick native Lee has been temporarily moved out of the equation and Birmingham born former Tipperary underage hurler Macklin has stolen world title pole.
The American promoter, who admitted he signed the Irish duo to ensure he good get quality opposition for his champion, thinks Emmanuel Steward trained fighter Lee is a few fights short of the pound for pound number 3 in the worlds level.
However he predicts Macklin and Martinez would produce World War III and would be as big as seller as in New York as green beer on Paddy’s Day.
“Andy Lee makes great television and is a great fighter, but I don’t think he is ready for Martinez yet,” DiBella said. “However, Macklin and Sergio would be World War III. Macklin’s style means he is never going to be in a bad fight. Macklin is like a much stronger version than Darren Barker and he beat the living bejayus out of Sturm and was robbed.”
DiBella claims he was asked to Martinez in with German WBA world champion Sturm by TV companies, but sold them Macklin Martinez instead.
“One TV executive asked me to get Sturm for Martinez? I asked why would I do that when I could get Macklin have a better fight stylistically, sell out an arena and generate massive attention on St Patrick’s Day. If you saw Sturm Macklin, Macklin won nine rounds. Macklin is never in a bad fight he likes to rumble, doesn’t mind being hit and swallows his own blood. I chased Macklin for months because I knew he was meaningful fight for Sergio. He is one of the top three middleweights in the world and is ready for Martinez.”
Lee will be disapointed on hearing the news. The Kronx fighter believed he was ready to challenge after avenging his sole defeat to Brian Vera recently. However despite stressing Lee needs more time DiBella is certain the Limerick southpaw will eventually be able to fight at the highest level.
“I think when Emanuel gets Andy Lee through a few more fights he will be ready for anyone in the World. Still a little bit of a work in progress and maybe should be kept away from Sergio for a fight or two.”