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Macklin will be watching tonight’s Barker-Martinez fight closely, wants to fight winner

Darren Barker Matthew Macklin Sergio MartinezBy Scott Gilfoid: Having failed in his last fight against WBA Super World middleweight champion Felix Sturm last June, middleweight contender Matthew Macklin (28-3, 19 KO’s) is hoping to take on the winner of tonight’s fight between the fighter considered to be the best of the middleweights, WBC Diamond middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, in his bout against Darren Barker (23-0, 14 KO’s) at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Macklin would like nothing better than to get a second shot at a title if he entice the Barker vs. Martinez winner to fight him. Macklin’s chances of getting Martinez to fight him probably aren’t good. Martinez wants to fight better opposition than Macklin and there’s little interest in the United States between Martinez and another little known UK fighter, especially one that just got beat by Sturm.

But Macklin does have an excellent chance of landing a fight against Barker if he wins tonight. But the problem is Barker doesn’t have a ghost of a chance at winning. Macklin would be better off not teasing himself by hoping and praying he’ll get to take on the winner when the reality is he doesn’t have hardly any chance of fighting the winner because it won’t be Barker.

Martinez wants to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao next. If he can’t get a fight against any of them, Martinez will likely settle for the winner of tonight’s undercard fight between contender Andy Lee and slugger Brian Verga. Fighting one of those guys is still a better fight for Martinez than it would be for him to fight Macklin, who isn’t even ranked in the top 15 by the World Boxing Council at this time.

But more important than the rankings, which often don’t mean a whole lot, is the fact that Macklin isn’t recognizable to the casual boxing fan in the U.S. As such, there’s no gain for Martinez if he takes on another Brit like Macklin and whips him like he’ll be whipping Barker tonight. The fans don’t know these guys, so there’s no upside for Martinez to waste time fighting them other than for hardcore fans to enjoy. But we already know Macklin is beatable because he just got beat when he ran out of gas against Sturm.

There’s no real interest here when a guy just got beat and out-punched by Sturm, who I don’t see as a big puncher. Martinez needs the big fights right now if he wants to maximize the time he has left in his career. He can’t be fiddling around facing obscure guys that boxing fans don’t know and don’t care about like Macklin in the United States.

There’s talk of Martinez being co-promoted by Top Rank. If so, this could help Martinez get bigger fights, although not against Top Rank’s number #1 fighter Manny Pacquiao. That won’t happen because Martinez hits too hard and is too dangerous for the smaller Pacquiao.

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