05 December 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
After a year of sprint finishes, European middleweight champion Matthew Macklin showed he can also go the marathon route with a commanding points victory over Uraguays Rafa Sosa Pintos on Saturday night.
The Birmingham native, of strong Irish stock, boxed a controlled fight against the rugged and competitive South American in front of a full house at the National Stadium earning a 99-88 verdict.
Macklins desire to get rounds under his belt was evident from before the first bell having seen just four rounds of action in the past year despite having won British and European honours in separate fights.
At times it looked as if Macklin could finish proceedings at his bidding particularly in round five when Sosa Pintos was sent heavily to the canvas after seconds of the round with a clubbing right hand to the temple. However, despite following up with a barrage of shots to head and body, Macklin elected not to go in for the kill and took the foot off the pedal for the remainder of the fight, returning to controlled boxing.
The rounds will prove invaluable ahead of a New Year title defence against the dangerous Dimitriy Pirog. The bout, which was originally slated for January, now looks more likely to be contested in late February or even March after Macklin sustained a cut on his left eyelid (ninth round) and swelling to both hands.
Although Macklin has made no secret of his desire to race to a World Title shot, the prospect of a European defence against fellow Irishman Andy Lee is also a realistic possibility. Lee was in attendance at the Stadium, working as a pundit for RTE television and told irish-boxing.com that he is keen to make the fight. What will be equally helpful in making the fight is the ticket selling abilities of both boxers. Saturday, perhaps for the first time, highlighted Macklins potential to be a major Box Office draw on the Emerald Isle and a bout with Lee would appear capable of selling out any arena on the island.
Stay tuned to irish-boxing.com this week for all the post fight reaction from Macklin vs Pintos, including news on Andy Murray, Paulie Hyland and the prospect of an intriguing clash between lightweights Oisin Fagan and Michael Kelly.