The recent retirement of Matthew Macklin sadly eliminated the possibility of a true all-Irish superfight.
‘The Tipperary Tornado’ made the highly commendable decision to retire following his close win over Brian Rose, knowing he was no longer at the top of his game.
A clash between Macklin and Limerick’s Lee had long been rumoured, and the Brum-born fighter told the Irish Post that “It was put to me a few times, and I accepted it,” but the fight “just never materialised.”
During his career, Macklin claimed British, Irish, and European honours and was denied a World title twice by both disputed decision (v Felix Sturm) and by vicious stoppage (v Gennady Golovkin).
2004 Olympian Lee turned pro in Detroit with the legendary Emanuel Stewart and won an Irish title before failing in a World title big against the much bigger Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Following Stewart’s passing, Lee would link up with Adam Booth and claimed the WBO title with a stunning stoppage over Matt Korobov before losing the belt to Billy Joe Saunders.
Both brilliant boxers in their own right, Macklin admitted that the two were never on top form at the same time, saying that “when I was flying, he wasn’t, and when he was flying, I wasn’t.”
However, if peak versions of the two fighters had met, who would have won?