Matthew Macklin to face Lamar Russ on December 7th
By Scott Gilfoid: It didn’t take Matthew Macklin (29-5, 20 KO’s) find a replacement opponent to face on December 7th in place of the injured Willie Nelson on the undercard of the Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Joseph Agbeko fight at the Boardwalk Hall, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Macklin will be facing someone named Lamar Russ (14-0, 7 KO’s) in a scheduled 10 round bout, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.
Russ, 26, has wins over Latif Mundy and Russell Jordan, but the other opponents are mostly little known opposition. Russ isn’t ranked in the top 15 in the middleweight division, so it looks like Macklin will be taking it easy for this fight to make sure he gets a guaranteed win. Macklin has the chance to fight the unbeaten Russian puncher Matt Korobov, but he turned down the fight according to Rafael. That’s too bad because that would have actually had been a good fight where you wouldn’t have known who was going to win. With this fight against Russ, it’s painfully obvious that Macklin has this one in the bag. I’m just very surprised that HBO would bless a fight like this, because this isn’t a fight that you would consider to be a competitive one on paper unless Macklin has suddenly gone downhill from his 3rd round knockout loss to WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in his last fight in June.
If Macklin is going to be focusing on 2nd tier opposition to try and build himself back up, then he needs to get these fights out of the way quickly because he’s not young enough to burn up a year or two fighting the guys like this. Macklin would probably be better off going back to the UK and fighting some of the top middleweights on the domestic scene like Billy Joe Saunders then he would be in taking on an unknown, non-top 15 ranked fighter like Russ.
The bad thing about Macklin facing Russ is that if he somehow loses to this guy then it would have to be considered the end for Macklin, because if he can’t even beat a guy of this caliber, then that’s a clear sign that Macklin’s days of being a top contender are pretty much at an end. That’s why you don’t want to get trapped fighting 2nd tier guys because sooner or later one of them is going to beat you, and then you’re going to look bad.
Macklin needs to be a little more clever with the champions he chooses to fight because he’s been beaten by three of them – Felix Sturm, Sergio Martinez and Golovkin – in the past two years, and clearly that’s a sign he’s picking out guys that are too good for him.