Jamie Moore says Macklin still has plenty left to offer
As was the case after his defeat to Sergio Martinez, questions are being asked about what Matthew Macklin has left to offer at world level ahead of another opportunity to impress on HBO tonight in Atlantic City.
At the end of June this year, Macklin had one of boxing’s most unenviable tasks in trying to thwart the middleweight division’s top dog and Kazakhstan nightmare Gennady Golovkin. After three rounds the frighteningly effective tactics of stalk, hunt and destroy from “GGG” was wrapped up with a left hook to the body that ended Macklin's third world title attempt.
Since then, stories have emerged that Macklin knew he was parting ways from then trainer Buddy McGirt and that, once again, hand injuries hindered his preparations beforehand.
Jamie Moore, a former opponent turned friend of Macklin’s has picked up the reigns to train the 31-year-old and says that the Golovkin defeat may prove to be a blessing in disguise.
“In a way I'm happy the fight ended the way it did. He’s so fired up and the way the fight with Golovkin panned out I think that will stoke his fire,” Moore told Live Fight.
“I said to Matthew, ‘If you’d been 100% you may have lost to Golovkin in a 12-round grueller that could’ve finished your career.’ Now he’s still got a chance to redeem himself and maybe if he wins a world title he can try and set the record straight and go in there 100%. Then he could go and prove to everyone that the first time wasn’t the real Macklin in there.
“He knows he wasn’t 100%, his pride would have been dented and he wants to make a statement. With the hunger and determination he’s shown in the gym it’s going to be an explosive performance.”
Moore’s script will be looking to be ripped up by Lamar Russ, a 14-0 (7 KOs) 26-year-old from North Carolina who goes into the bout having never been involved in a 12-round scheduled contest and who stood in, at short notice, for Willie Nelson after he pulled out through injury.
There are no fears for the newly appointed trainer about who Macklin will face on the Boardwalk such has been the impression left on him during their first camp together at the MGM (Macklin’s Gym Marbella) in Spain.
“First thing in my mind was when I got to Marbella I wanted to see what his work ethic was like because that would give me a good indication as to how much he still wants it and how much he has left. Since I’ve been working with him I’ve seen something. The look in his eyes, you can tell. And from what I’ve seen the best is yet to come,” he predicted.
On the flip-side of his positivity, LF asked Moore about the questions lingering over Macklin’s future at the highest level.
“It’s a legitimate question, really, and on the surface of it you would have to think that but Matthew’s not made a song and dance about the stuff that happened pre-fight. I know he had a lot problems. And let’s not beat about the bush, Golovkin’s a beast.”
Macklin told LF in this interview: http://www.livefight.com/news.php?news_id=2995 before the Golovkin fight things such as “I feel good, I feel sharp…” and “I’m going to be firing on all cylinders against Golovkin.” The right noises were made but behind the scenes things weren’t what they seemed with knuckle problems once again hampering Macklin as they had done for his fight against Sergio Martinez last year.
Moore says that the hand problems are a thing of the past and he would never contemplate sending his newest charge into a fight of such magnitude with such injuries.
“He hasn’t been given the best advice lately going into these fights with his hands like that,” Moore revealed.
“Listen, every boxer goes into a fight with some sort of niggle. Nearly all boxers go in there 80%. He has had problems with his hands early in his career which he’s blown off. Boxing talk aside, when Matthew told you he was 100% last time, he wasn’t.
“He took off all the skin off his knuckles. It sounds like nothing but punching a bag with that it stings like mad. Now you imagine doing all four knuckles to the bone. You’re not going to spar or do bag work because it’s impossible. That has a knock-on effect. Mentally you’re thinking I can’t train properly, can’t spar so you can’t get your timing and co-ordination right. There was times when he was going to get pulled from the fight but he was talked into doing it. That’s not an ideal situation but Matthew’s his own man, he made the decision to go through with it so he has to live with the consequences. He’s aware of that, he knows he maybe shouldn’t have done it and that experience should’ve told him to save it for another day. He’s a fighter and the gamble never paid off. Hindsight’s a great thing, he understands how much doubt was in his mind going into the fight. Add on the fact you’re fighting Golovkin and it’s not a nice situation to be in.”
After the Martinez loss there was a one-round blast-out of Joachim Alcine six months later. Now, after the Golovkin defeat there comes the unknown in Russ. A similar result would kick off part two of the Macklin and Moore story perfectly and comparisons have been made to the iconic figures of Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward. Two men who pummelled the hell out of each other only to become friends because of it and forged the working relationship of boxer and trainer in what would be Gatti’s final professional contest, against Alfonso Gomez.
Moore hopes that their unique bond born from a British boxing classic over seven years ago will pave the way for Macklin to fulfil his dream of becoming world champion.
“I know our fight has been compared to Gatti-Ward a few times and it makes me so proud. My thing when I turned professional was I never really had ambition to win titles or anything like that. I wasn’t overly confident in my own ability. My thing was if people walked away from my things thinking it was brilliant then I’d be really happy. And as my career progressed, I won the British title and I started having more ambition. It’s okay having a fight at a certain level and it be exciting but to have a fight for a British title against someone who then went on to fight for world titles and is proven world class, and I believe I was world class, and to be compared to an iconic fight like Gatti-Ward is such an honour and a privilege. Going through something like that with someone is hard to explain and if I can go on and help him win a world title then that would be the ultimate for me. I’d feel like I’d won it as well! It’s a great story and it couldn’t happen to a nicer fella coz he’s a great lad.
“He’s going in the right direction, if it has a happy ending for Macklin then I’ll feel like I’ve achieved something as well because we’ve been through something together in boxing which a lot of people don’t get to do. So to go and do it together would be a lovely story.”
Macklin vs. Russ is part of a televised card headlined by Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Joseph Agbeko which will be shown in the UK on Sky Sports 1HD from 2am.