27th June 2011
I should be champion, not only is there no way I lost that fight by four rounds, there’s no way I didn’t win it. It was a tough, hard fight, I don’t deny that, but I did all the work and threw all the better punches.” – Matthew Macklin. pic by boxingportraits.com
Birmingham’s Matthew Macklin felt he had the fight with Felix Sturm won and the WBA middleweight title secured on Saturday night, as do many respected fight figures and scribes, who saw the Joe Gallagher trained fighter give the performance of his life at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, only to lose a controversial split decision.
Macklin’s quest to relieve the German of his crown, fell agonisingly short, after Sturm retained his belt, when judges scorecards came back 113-115, (Macklin) 116-112, (Sturm) 116-112, (Sturm). Sturm who afterwards acknowledges Macklin’s effort and was said to be embarrassed himself with the judges wide marks, as verbally agreed in principle to give Macklin an immediate rematch, although he believes he did enough to retain.
Macklin had been the more aggressive fighter in the early rounds and took the fight to Sturm, but the champion was always in the fight and fought back in the championship rounds, showing his superior ring experience. But Matthew’s sheer will to win, to pressure and walk the accurate punching Sturm down, won him many admirers and backers, if not the fight.
After a gruelling 12 rounds, the champion was left bleeding from his lip while Macklin had a cut above his right eye, that cut man Mick Williamson had kept under control. Both men raised their arms at the end of the fight, but it was Macklin’s camp and followers who buzzed more triumphant.
However, when the results were read out and the reality sunk in, the celebrations were mooted by disappointment and questions and Macklin adamant that he had done enough to bring the title home with him.
“I lost a couple of rounds, of course, and a few others were close. I know that, but if anyone looks at the fight as a whole, well, there was only one winner, me!” exclaimed Macklin.
“I think there was one round, the 10th, where I guess I knew I had lost it, but I upped my game again in the 11th and in the last round, I really felt I had it won.
“I believe I was the better fighter, but it is not Felix’s fault, he wasn’t a judge.” added Macklin.
Sturm, is without doubt a good and worthy champion, believes he did enough to retain his title in the 10th defence, although he admitted to it being closer than the officials had it. After being on the end of a similar controversial decision himself, when losing his WBO world title to Oscar De La Hoya in 2004 in Las Vegas, he has offered Macklin the chance to set the record straight and a second shot at his world crown.
“It wasn’t a wrong decision, but it was close,” said the 32-year-old German.
“It was not my most outstanding performance, but okay I have had a few clear shots and Matt worked hard. In my view, the decision was absolutely correct.
“We will definitely have a second fight, we have already agreed it.” added Sturm.
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