Exclusive Interview: Matt Macklin

By Ray O. Campbell Jr


Exclusive Interview: Matt Macklin

Macklin on a Duddy fight: "Sooner or later people are going to wonder who is the better man?"

Coming off an impressive first round knock out over previously once beaten Russian Champion Alexey Chirkov 17-2(11), England based, Irish Middleweight prospect Matt Macklin 16-1(12) recently took the time out to speak with Boxintalk.com about his first televised showing to U.S. viewers. The bout, which lasted a whole 2:44, was one of the main support bouts on the recent Ricky Hatton–Carlos Maussa WBA/IBF unification bout card. Which took place last Saturday night (11/26/05) “It was nice because it was very good exposure for me” stated Macklin, then added “He is a Russian champion at that, a guy who came to win. He didn’t come to loose or lay down; he came to win, so to knock someone like him out that quickly in a fight, I think that is a statement.” Read on as he talks to us about his next fight which will probably take place on the same card as fellow red hot Irish Jr. Middleweight prospect John Duddy, as well as the much talked about, highly anticipated future match up between the two.

RC: Matt Impressive win the other night for you on the Hatton-Maussa undercard, looks like you are ready to come back the U.S. and start making some noise.
MM: Yes. You know I really thought the kid (Alexey Chirkov) was going to go ten rounds; he had never been put down. He was 17-1(11) going in, and the one he lost to was a real tough fight to a real tough opponent. He had never been put down so I didn’t think I would knock him out in the first round. I thought I was going to have to break his spirit first.

RC: Give us your thoughts on your performance? And how did you feel stopping him so early in impressive fashion, in a fight many Americans got a chance to see you in for the very first time?
MM: It was nice because it was very good exposure for me. It was very good because anyone can knock someone out that has been knocked out ten times out of twelve fights or whatever. But to go out there and knock someone out that was 17-1 is different. He is a Russian champion at that, a guy who came to win. He didn’t come to loose or lay down; he came to win, so to knock someone like him out that quickly in a fight, I think that is a statement.

RC: Many were impressed with your early stoppage over Chirkov and can’t wait to see what else you can do, when can we expect to see you back in the U.S.?
MM: Me and (John) Duddy might be on the same bill in early February, so probably in February.

RC: Are you guys also going to still be on the same card at MSG (The Theater) in March?
MM: Yes, we are definitely going to be on the same card on March 16th, but we might also be on the same card before then as well which might take place in February.

RC: Initially there was a little back and forth between your team and Clan Duddy about facing John Duddy sometime in the near future. In a fight which many would consider between two of the best Irish Prospects in boxing, but now it looks like you guys have agreed to fight on the same cards for a while both showcasing your abilities, which would eventually lead up to the two of you meeting up later on down the road. Give us your thoughts on that entire situation?
MM:  I think it is the best thing to do because it is a big fight, and it is a natural fight somewhere down the line. There is no point fighting now, it would be a bigger fighter later on down the road. So as long as he keeps winning and I keep winning, we will see.

RC: From what I understand you were on hand at his (John Duddy’s) last fight in NYC  (TKO4 victory over Bryon Mackie), what are your thoughts on his recent performance?
MM: I thought he was pretty impressive. He is very intense. He comes at you. He comes out looking to knock you out, and he hits hard with both hands. He is very strong, very aggressive, he has fast hands, a good variety of punches, and he is a good fighter. I met him as well and I was impressed with him as a person. He is a real nice lad, and was very respectful towards me.

RC: after your performance against Chirkov, I have already been hearing from people that are all for the showdown between yourself and John Duddy and I am sure others will start to want the same once you get more exposure. Do you feel any extra pressure to look great now that the world knows that the plan is to meet Duddy later on down the line for an all-Irish mega match?
MM: Not really, as a fighter you just concentrate and focus on your fights, and becoming a better fighter in the gym. You have to leave all of that other stuff up to the managers and promoters. I don’t feel the pressure, if we fight, we fight and I think somewhere down the line we probably will. But until then, we are going to be on the same cards and like I said before he is a real nice lad. I don’t want to say anything disrespectful or derogatory because there is nothing to say anyway, but he is a good fighter and a good person. And I think it will happen, he is Irish, I am Irish we fight at the same weight, he keeps winning and I keep winning, sooner or later people are going to start asking, “Well who is the better man?”

But really, I have nothing but praise and respect for him. I hope he keeps on winning all of his fights until I am the guy in the other corner. Because right now he is flying the flag for Irish boxing

RC: I might be jumping the gun on this question, but how far down the line do you think we would have to wait to see the all Irish Macklin-Duddy showdown?
MM: I don’t know, because……well I will fight anyone tomorrow as I am sure he will. But I guess the answer would be whenever the fight has the most marquee value.

RC: What type of opponent can we expect to see you back in with when your make your U.S. return in February and March. I mean, I guess the ideal thing to do would be to put you in there with someone Duddy’s has already faced to see how you do with that opponent, what arte your thoughts?
MM: That is a possibility, but I really don’t know. I want it to be someone good, I obviously want to win all of my fights but I want every one of my fights to be a step up, and from there I want to keep on stepping up. I don’t want them to be knockover opponents, but rather fights that I can learn from.

RC: Before I let you go, why don’t you give us your thoughts on your stable mate (They share the same training Billy Graham) Ricky Hatton unification bout against Carlos Maussa?
MM: I thought he tried a bit too hard for the knockout, he said to me after that he felt over hyped and that he gave Maussa way to much. He felt that he was giving one to take one but he didn’t care, he had too much disregard and he was looking for the K.O. too much, he got cut very early and he had to deal with that as well. The other guy was so awkward, but I mean I thought the finish was a wicked punch.  It was like when Mike McCallum knocked out Donald Curry that is what it was like. He came down from low, Maussa was leaning back away and he just clipped him right on the chin.

RC: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans in Ireland, England, the U.S. and all over in closing?
MM: It has been a good second half of the year for me, and next year is going to be the year that I step into championship class and really establish myself, and there are going to be some good knockouts along the way. So be sure to keep watching.


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