Irish middleweight Matthew Macklin failed narrowly in his bid to dethrone World Boxing Association [WBA] titlist Felix Sturm in Cologne last Saturday. He dropped a 12-round split points decision at the sold-out 18,000-capacity Lanxess Arena.
The aggressor in the early rounds and competitive throughout the bout, Macklin won the fight 115-113 on one card. However, the two other officials both scored it 116-112 for the German champion, enabling him to make his tenth successive defense.
There were no knockdowns despite some violent toe-to-toe exchanges down the stretch.
A one-time hurling star out of Ballingary, Tipperary, Macklin, cried foul at the verdict, telling the media that he thought he won comfortably.
"I thought I won it by at least three rounds. German TV had me winning it by four [rounds]," said the former Irish and European champion, whose record fell to 28-3 [19 KOs].
"I thought I strolled the first six, seven. He probably had two clearly and the others you could have given them to me. Some rounds were touch-and-go but you could have given them to me on work rate," Macklin added.
The 29 year-old challenger said Sturm, now 35-2-1, had offered him a rematch, probably out of embarrassment.
"Do you think he'll give me a rematch if he thought he beat me? Not a prayer. He's given me a rematch because he's embarrassed," Macklin insisted.
Macklin went into the Sturm fight ranked second in the WBA, just one spot ahead of the fast climbing Andy Lee now third in line. The Limerick southpaw is also ranked third in the world by the WBO.
Lee's rise presumably puts him in line for a crack at Sturm, but indications are that he's still on course to rematch Bryan Vera this fall.
According to Boxingscene.com Lee's promoter Lou DiBella has lined up an October 1 clash between middleweight king Sergio Martinez [47-2, 26 KOs] and undefeated Englishman Darren Barker [23-0, 14KOs], with Lee vs. Vera as the co-feature, possibly in Las Vegas or New York City.
Vera is the only man to defeat the 26-1 [19 KOs] Lee, having stopped the Irishman in seven rounds back in 2008.
Vera, meanwhile, chalked up another win last Friday. He starched journeyman Eloy Suarez [11-12-1, 5 KOs] with a left hook to the body 30 seconds into the eighth stanza to up his ledger to 19-5 [12 KOs].
The super middleweight contest was at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas.