When Lou DiBella signed British middleweight Matthew Macklin earlier this year, talk quickly began about matching Macklin with middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez in New York on St. Patrick's Day 2012. Macklin is talking about the fight as if it's all but done, and this quote did come from a DiBella press release:
"Being in a massive world title fight at Madison Square Garden is the stuff every boxer dreams of and it's close to becoming a reality for me now. The fact that it will be on St. Patrick's Day is just the icing on the cake."
Macklin (28-3, 19 KO) hasn't fought since a narrow June 25 loss in Germany to Felix Sturm, a fight many felt he deserved to win. It was after that, and a fruitless bout of rematch negotiations with Sturm, that Macklin signed with DiBella and moved to New York. He had hoped to get another fight in before the end of the year, but now appears ready to go from Sturm to Martinez with a nine-month layoff.
Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KO) is coming off of an 11th round knockout of another British standout, Darren Barker, on October 1. Barker did better than many expected in the fight, and Macklin believes that if he'd been in the ring with Sergio that evening, he would have knocked out the champion.
"I have a lot of respect for Martinez. What he's done after taking up boxing so late is remarkable, but he's really a natural light middleweight and I'm a big, strong middleweight. I believe that my size, strength and power will be too much for him. I think Darren Barker did better than people expected but I also think that Sergio underperformed that night. Maybe subconsciously he thought he was in for an easy night against Barker and wasn't at his best because of that. On that performance, he was lucky he wasn't in the ring with me because I would have knocked him out. "
Martinez vs Macklin would be, of course, an easy fight for DiBella to make, and an attractive bout. If you're one of those people who thinks Macklin beat Sturm, you could form the argument that he's really the top middleweight contender out there.
Martinez will still, according to the press release, try to make a bigger money fight with Manny Pacquiao (not happening) or Floyd Mayweather Jr (might be more realistic than some expect), but if that can't be done, it sounds like Martinez vs Macklin is what we'll get.