Felix Sturm will be back in the ring on July 2, taking on Matthew Macklin in Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Quick Note: For those who did watch the Amir Khan-Paul McCloskey card live this afternoon and want to talk about the results, go here. Do not talk about the results in any other thread, please, as the fight is airing on tape delay on HBO after Berto-Ortiz this evening. We try to be the boxing web site you can visit in instances like this without being "spoiled." It's not easy, but we give it a shot. Thank you.
Felix Sturm to Face Matthew Macklin on July 2
First, Matthew Macklin was going to fight Winky Wright on April 9. Then he was going to fight Khoren Gevor on April 16. Now he's going to take on alphabet titlist Felix Sturm in Germany on July 2. Or at least that's the plan for now.
Sturm (35-2-1, 15 KO) is coming off of a double-easy win over Ronald Hearns in February, which said more about Hearns' lack of quality than anything positive about Sturm, though in all fairness Hearns did give his very best effort and did what he could. It's just that he was no match for Sturm on paper or in practice. Macklin (28-2, 19 KO) last fought in December, overcoming a surprisingly tough challenge from Ruben Varon.
Without question this will be Macklin's toughest test as a pro. The 28-year-old "Mack the Knife" hasn't lost since a 2006 knockout at the hands of Jamie Moore, which was no shame and a truly great fight. Since then he's been mostly matched wisely, we'll say, and the wins that seemed the best at the time (Wayne Elcock, Amin Asikainen) have not aged well.
But all things considered, I like this fight. You can make a credible argument that Sturm is looking to avoid a tougher challenge yet again, but Macklin is a back-end top 10 guy at middleweight right now, and is a step up from Hearns and, in my opinion, Giovanni Lorenzo as well. And Macklin not only needs to fight someone, but he needs to fight someone good finally. This accomplishes that goal. It's not a fight that is going to get too many folks terribly excited, I suspect, but it's a quality fight, and I'm looking forward to see if Macklin can finally live up to some of his billing, and if Sturm has as much left at 32 as he appears to in easier matchups. As for an early pick, I have to consider Sturm the clear favorite. I've seen Macklin troubled by lesser fighters too often.
Kermit Cintron Signs with Top Rank
The movie is official, as former welterweight and current junior middleweight contender Kermit Cintron has inked a deal with Top Rank, which hopefully will get him off the sidelines and back into the ring soon. Cintron (32-3-1, 28 KO) is 31 years old and hasn't fought since his bizarre May 2010 loss to Paul Williams in California, which is too long a story for me to want to go into. Todd DuBoef says that Cintron's first Top Rank fight will be announced soon, but given his layoff time I wouldn't expect much, and for the time being that's OK. With Top Rank, he's more likely to find himself truly available to land big fights, and the company has plenty of fighters available for him at 147 and/or 154. If you've been here for a few minutes, you probably know that Cintron is not exactly one of my personal favorites, but I'd rather see him fight than sit, so this is good news.
- Ann Wolfe is no longer in James Kirkland's corner, a development that ended one of the most interesting and deepest trainer-fighter relationships in the sport. But she talked to BoxingScene.com's Sean Reed about Kirkland's shocking upset loss last Saturday to Nobuhiro Ishida, and it's a very recommended quick read.
- Giovanni Lorenzo has filed a protest over his fight with Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam, claiming (and rightly so) that his opponent was helped back into the ring when knocked out of it in the fifth round. This one actually has some weight to it.
- A man in Russia was stabbed to death by a friend over a Mike Tyson-Wladimir Klitschko debate. Yes, seriously.
- Promoter Joe DeGuardia is setting up a series of shows at Paradise Theater in the Bronx.