June 26 Jonny Stapleton
Another failed Irish world title attempt and even more unfortunately another controversial loss, as like Paul McCloskey, Matthew Macklin claimed he was ‘cheated and not defeated’ in the biggest fight of his career.
There was a real stench in Cologne, Germany as the Ireland’s fourth world title challenger in just three months somehow lost his WBA middleweight title fight with Felix Sturm via a 116-112, 116-112, 113-115 split decision.
For most observers, including American and German TV, who gave Macklin the bout by four rounds, the Joe Gallagher trained pugilist completely out worked Sturm from start to finish in a classic encounter.
The former law student fought on his terms from the opening bell and the quantity of his work outweighed the fleeting moments of quality displayed but he 32 year old champ.
Macklin, who emerged from ’Leonidas’s’ den unscathed but without the belt he deserved, feels he won the fight clearly and was nothing sort of gutted after the all action clash.
The challenger argued he was robbed and stressed the champion agrees.
The former Irish, British and European belt owner said the result, which paid credence to the belief you have to register a knock out to get a draw in Germany, was so embarrassing for the home town fighter he has agreed to a rematch in November.
“Sturm said he would give me a rematch. He knows I beat him. Do you think he would fight me again if he had really beaten me? Not a chance. He is doing it because he is embarrassed. He said he would fight me again in November,” an emotive Macklin said after his third career loss.
“I am gutted. In my mind there was no doubt I won. I was winning rounds big and clearly. Even when rounds were close I was doing all the work. German TV had me winning by four as did American TV. I strolled the first seven rounds. He could have won two clear rounds and maybe you could have given him one or two of the tight rounds, but there is no way he won that fight by four clear rounds.”
Sturm did finish the bout stronger and battled his was back into contention and in truth some had it a bit closer than Macklin would make out.
However, there certainly wasn’t four clear rounds in the German fighters favour and Macklin certainly didn’t deserve to loose.
And if he does get a second chance to claim the prestigious crown he is adamant the judges won’t be deciding his faith.
“Next time I will smash him to pieces. All due respect to Felix, but I won‘t let them rob me again. I hurt him four or five time. He didn’t hurt me once. I winded three times. Ok he landed a few jabs that snapped my head but nothing to serious. I will stop him next time.”
The disappointing reverse see’s Ireland’s 2011 loosing streak continue, but like Brain Magee and Paul McCloskey, who lost to Lucian Bute and Amir Khan respectfully, Macklin’s career won’t suffer as a result of the loss.
Both Ulster fighters enhanced their reputation and shared their the name with a wider audience. Both look now set to challenge for separate WBA crown’s and after a superb television friendly display and a horrid decision Macklin will certainly get one more chance to become middleweight champion of the world.