By Jonny Stapleton in New York
There was no fairy tale ending in New York for Matthew Macklin as he lost out to Sergio Martinez in Madison Square Garden last night.
The Irish middleweight ensured, that like the city that never sleeps, the Mecca of boxing was painted Green on St Patrick’s day, but defeat in his mega world title fight ensured the majority of the capacity 4671 capacity crowd didn’t paint the town red with the same vigour post fight.
However, it seems the loyal and eclectic mix that make up Macklin fans will certainly get more big fight night experience-and going by his display against the best middleweight on the planet could potentially have reason to celebrate next time he enters the ring.
Mack the Knife might have just fallen short of Pound for Pound level, but he proved he can cut it at world level and a world title looks a distinct possibility. He certainly grew his reputation in the Garden . TV, big wigs fans, journalists, Promoters and fight game experts were all complimentary after the exciting bout.
Macklin promised all out war throughout the pre fight week. He lead us to believe he was going to pound his way into the pound for pound rankings, but too Martinez’s surprise he favoured a strategic battle.
The Tipperary and Roscommon fighter was a different animal to the pug that bullied Sturm. He was wary of being lured into Martinez’s counter punch trap and boxed cautiously behind a jab and it initially paid dividends.
He was well in the fight till the champion produced in teh championship rounds. Ironic Macklin’s best moment in the bout proved the ultimate catalyst to his down fall.
A right hook in round seven forced the Argentine to touch the canvas with his glove and once the eight count was administered a disgruntled Martinez went in search of retribution.
The third best fighter on the planet upped his game and showed his elite class. His hand speed and accuracy were second to none. His footwork was worthy of any dancing TV show- and, as one female onlooker suggested he has the looks to prove as popular with female dance show voters as he is with fight fans.
Come the 11th the Brian Peters managed Macklin felt he needed to chase the fight and began to favour brawn over his boxing brain. In fairness a lot of the crowd felt he needed two all action rounds to secure the title and once he became a tad reckless Martinez became clinical.
The 37 year old world champ showed his killer instinct and the fighter renowned for helping people out of the ring yet hurting them in it, sent the Irish star to the canvas twice.
Macklin beat the count on both occasions, but once back on his stool, his corner wouldn’t let him rise to his feet for a third time.
As a result the middleweight ring king retained his crown, but he did have to share some of the adulation and glory with his opponent.
One man not intent on sharing ring glory is Seanie Monaghan. Long Beach’s Navan representative enters the sqaured circle to take his opponent out. The Irish title hopeful registered his 14th consecutive win outing classing and out pointing Eric Watkins in front a loyal and substantial following.
Watkins came out all guns blazing and went on the attack for the first minute, but one solid left hook landed by the Irish American light heavyweight made it look like his previously gun slinging opponent had run out of ammunition.
Monaghan dominated from then on. His aggressive approach ensures he is entertaining to watch and his accuracy means he is successful too. The Long Beach resident worked the body well, if not frequent enough, landed some lovely over hand rights and left hooks and but for some stubborn resistance could have registered a knock out reverse.
The crowd favourite certainly wet the appetite for a potential dust up with one of the Irish based light heavy contingent.
Another fighter that gave the Irish in attendance further excuse to celebrate on St Patrick’s Day was Thomas Hardwick. The likeable heavyweight went five fights without defeat after he brushed aside the challenge of TJ Gibson. Hardwick had his man down in the first and third and the fighter, who temporarily gave up construction work to enable him to build a boxing career, registered a shut out reverse.