By Jonny Stapleton
MATTHEW Macklin claims the only people who can prevent him challenging WBC World Diamond champion Sergio Martinez on St Patricks Day are pound for pound chart toppers Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
Macklin believes he is the best equipped and the most worthy challenger to the king of the middleweight’s thrown and is confident he will fight for his second world title on March 17.
Indeed his promoter Lou DiBella, who also looks after the career of Martinez and Andy Lee, said last week that the Irish fighter was in Martinez pole and he had told TV companies he wanted to pit the Argentine with the Irish middleweight.
The Brian Peter’s managed fighter now seems destined to finish the New York St Patrick’s Day festivities off with a world title fight, but there are still two potential stumbling blocks.
With ‘Maravilla’ ranked just place one behind boxing’s mega two in the greatest fighter on the planet rankings there has been talk off pound for pound dust ups.
The Argentine sensation has been linked with Pacquiao and Mayweather, but both fights seem unlikely meaning Ireland should get it sixth world title adventure in just over a year.
“It not a done deal, but I think the only way it doesn’t happen is if Martinez fights Pacquiao or Mayweather. As far as middleweights go, I think I’m definitely the leading contender. It is not 100 percent confirmed but I am excited at the thought of it. I proved against Sturm where I belong, which is with the best at 160lbs,” Macklin told Mirror Sport.
‘Mack The Knife’ certainly proved he could cut it at world level when he was robbed in German against Felix Sturm, but Martinez has been deemed a class above the rest in the 160lbs division.
At 36 he is ageing and the Argentine didn’t look to impressive in his last outing against a fighter the Irish middleweight holds no affection toward, Darren Barker.
The former British Champion reads little into Martinez’s last innings claiming he was looking beyond the English man, but does think he has seen chinks in the armour of the fighter that wears a crown.
After watching his potentail foe from ringside last month Macklin came to the conclusion he could bully and beat the veteran.
“I thought Barker did well in that fight, but I do believe Martinez was looking past him and is a better fighter than he showed on that night. What stood out to me was that although he’s middleweight champ and a great fighter, he’s not a big middleweight. He is probably more of a 154lb fighter. Barker isn’t a physical fighter where as I am. I’m also a bigger puncher and I have a better chin. I don’t think motivation is a problem when your fighting for world titles and he’s obviously one the best in the world so I’ll have to be on top of my game.”
The Birmingham born Irishman’s gain seems to be fellow Irish middleweight Andy Lee’s loss. Lee believed he was on course to challenge Martinez for his world strap on Paddy’s Day, but Macklin has offered him a consolation prize and says he will make his first defence against the Limerick man if emerges victorious.
“After I beat Martinez, Andy can be my first defence in Ireland!”