Now we know why Matthew Macklin wasn't signing that rematch deal with Felix Sturm: The middleweight contender has signed a contract with DiBella Entertainment, and will be coming to the United States to fight in November. From ESPN.com:
"I viewed signing him as a no-brainer," DiBella said. "I have Sergio, the real middleweight champ, the best in the world. But clearly Matthew handled Sturm with ease and he has a claim at being the second-best middleweight in the world. He's going to want a shot at Sergio and eventually that will make sense."
I would vigorously debate the false idea that "Matthew handled Sturm with ease," but we've been down that road enough. The story here is that DiBella now has a fighter who can make for good fights, as well as a potential next challenger to Sergio Martinez should Martinez retain his belt on October 1 against Darren Barker, as he's expected to do. Martinez wants the big fights like Pacquiao or Maywether or Cotto, but isn't likely to get them, and probably won't get a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr either, no matter how many times the WBC promises they'll make it happen.
So DiBella is doing the right thing by taking charge and making sure he's got someone on deck in case big fights can't be made for Martinez. Macklin (28-3, 19 KO) was actually scheduled to fight in the U.S. on April 9 against Winky Wright, but Wright bailed on that fight and left Macklin hanging. Instead, he went to Germany to face WBA titlist Sturm, and lost in a really good fight that some felt he clearly won, but in my mind has been vastly overstated as a robbery.
DiBella says that a rematch with Sturm "will always be there," but he doesn't think going back to Germany immediately makes sense. Sturm recently said that his team had made an offer to Macklin, but that the Birmingham native hadn't responded. Macklin has responded now, and says that the offer wasn't quite as good as Sturm wants people to believe:
"I would love the rematch with Felix Sturm, but I don't think he's too keen on it," Macklin said. "They haven't offered me anything to make me think they want the rematch. The offer was more or less the same as the first fight with three options. It was a ridiculous offer. It seems he doesn't want the rematch but wants to be seen as wanting the rematch. So we did this deal with Lou and eventually I hope I'll get a rematch with Sturm and also a shot with Martinez."
Last Friday, we noted that this was one of the possible reasons that Macklin hadn't signed a rematch. It definitely won't be happening this year.
Macklin has fought in the States in the past, but never in a significant fight. He had two bouts in 2005 in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.