I can take Martinez on March 17: Macklin

[caption id="attachment_69175" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Matthew Macklin celebrates after beating Rafa Sosa Pintos in 2009."]


Matt Macklin is predicting an victory over world middleweight champ Sergio Martinez on St. Patrick's Day in New York after which he vows to make his first title defense against Irish rival Andy Lee in Dublin.

"I'll beat Sergio, no doubt in my mind and then Andy Lee will definitely be my first defense," Macklin told the Echo at last week's Madison Square Garden press conference to announce his March 17 clash with Martinez.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

"Me and Andy are well known in Ireland so that's a humongous fight [there]," Macklin added.

The confident challenger of Tipperary stock said although he was the underdog against Martinez, a 48-2-2 [27 KOs] Argentine native, in the main event of the show billed "THE REAL Middleweight Championship - Get Your Irish Up," he was still confident of victory.

"I need to be at my best to win. I don't think that I can box with him," Macklin, who's 29 and 28-3 [19 KOs] as a pro, pointed out. "He's a counter punch, faster than me and a warrior."

However, both Macklin and trainer James "Buddy" McGirt stressed that styles make fights. And the challenger in this case has the style to beat Martinez, who when they enter the ring in the Theater at the Garden on March 17, will be 12 years older than Macklin.

"Matthew Macklin is a warrior - he comes to fight, throws a lot of punches, pressures and is one of the most exciting fighters in the world," said promoter Lou DiBella. "The great thing about this fight is that both of these guys are such exciting fighters with so much heart and pride, stylistically it is a can't-miss."

Macklin said his key to victory would be to drag Martinez into a brawl.

"I'll make him fight my fight, it will be a battle of styles [but] I'm the stronger and naturally bigger [man]."

The Irishman is coming off a disputed split points loss to German World Boxing Association [WBA] holder Felix Sturm last June and rued that this wasn't a unification bout.

Now living and training in Manhattan, Macklin is a former two-time European, Commonwealth and Irish middleweight titlist.


Even with a world title shot against the Macklin-Martinez winner beckoning, don't expect an easy tune up for Andy Lee on March 17.

"I want to fight someone highly rated, someone world rated," said the 27-1 Lee, who's ranked number one by the World Boxing Organization [WBO] and third by the World Boxing Council [WBC].

Promising his unnamed foe a "St. Patrick's Day beating," the Limerick southpaw, added: "I'm hoping to put on a good show and be in line for the title."

DiBella, meanwhile, will oblige Lee by matching him against a world class opponent.


Tickets for the St. Patrick's Day show are priced at $505, $355, $205, $125 and $65. They are available from the Madison Square Garden Box Office, online at ticketmaster.com, or by calling (800) 745-3000. Call DiBella Entertainment at (212) 947-2577, or visit www.dbe1. com and @loudibella on Twitter for more information.

Cable network HBO will broadcast live the Macklin-Martinez and Lee fights starting at 10 pm [EST].


Brothers Paul and Eddie Hyland have arrived in the country to join their other sibling, Patrick "Pajo" on the January 28 "Irish Invasion" card co-promoted by reality TV star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi of "Jersey Shore" fame in Atlantic City.

The reigning Irish and WBF world featherweight champion, Patrick [24-0, 11 KOs] will meet Mexican Emanuel Lucero [26-8-1, 14 KOs] in the eight-round main event at Resorts Casino Hotel.

Paul [20-2, 6 KOs] is matched against Puerto Rican Arturo Santiago [7-4-1] in a super bantamweight contest, while Eddie [16-1, 6 KOs], the eldest of the Dublin-born brothers, collides with Brooklyn banger Franklin Gonzalez [14-9, 10 KOs].

Tickets for "The Irish Invasion" show are available online from www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1(800)745-3000, or the Super Star Theater Box Office at (609)340-6311 or (609) 340-6000.

The card will be broadcast live on pay per view. For more information on the broadcast, visit www.behindthering.com.