Sergio Martinez Set to Return on March 17, Matthew Macklin Still the Likely Opponent

Hopefully Martinez vs Macklin will have one of our licensed photographers ringside with a camera so we can stop using these stupid crown shots. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Adviser Sampson Lewkowicz tells BoxingScene.com that middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez will fight again on March 17, as expected, and the front-runner to be in the other corner remains Matthew Macklin.

Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KO) and Macklin (28-3, 19 KO) are both promoted by DiBella Entertainment, and the 29-year-old Macklin badly wants the fight. DiBella has discussed doing the fight at New York's Madison Square Garden, where on St. Patrick's Day, the British-born Macklin's Irish roots could help draw in a good crowd from the Irish population in and around the city, not to mention those who might come overseas to see the fight.

Back on June 25, many felt Macklin was robbed when he went to Germany to face Felix Sturm, widely regarded as the No. 2 middleweight in the world. DiBella signed Macklin shortly after that fight, and a Sturm rematch was abandoned to bring "Mack the Knife" to the United States instead.

Unless a big money opportunity comes up -- that is, unless Mayweather, Pacquiao or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr want to fight Martinez -- "Maravilla" will almost surely be facing Macklin on St. Patrick's Day 2012. If Macklin were to drop out of the fight for any other reason (injury, illness, change of heart), then I would expect another DiBella Irishman, Andy Lee, to step in and fight Martinez.

Martinez vs Macklin wouldn't officially be called an HBO fight just yet, as new boss Ken Hershman doesn't take over until January 9 and there's a stand-still in making fights, but the fight will be on HBO barring something very unexpected.

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