Birmingham middleweight Matthew Macklin (32-6, 21 KO’s) is considering an immediate return to the global stage following a second-round TKO win over the obscure Sandor Micsko in his hometown on May 9th, a victory much needed after a bad knockout loss six months ago to Jorge Sebastian Heiland.
According to the Daily Mail via Worldboxingnews.net, the proposed opponent is Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (48-2-1, 32 KO’s), the former WBC middleweight champion, who ventured up to the light-heavyweight division in his last fight only to find that his physicality did not count for as much up there with the big boys.
Chavez’s last appearance in April saw him get out-hustled and out-muscled by the Polish pug Andrzej Fonfara, a fight in which he suffered not only the first knockdown of his career, but also the first stoppage loss as he stayed sat on his stool between the ninth and tenth rounds to bring an end to the contest in unexpected fashion.
This performance came on the back of two very unconvincing consecutive wins over Brian Vera in 2013-14, and the nosedive in form seems to have precipitated a move back down the scales.
When he used to make the middleweight limit, he was known for the staggering growth of his body through rehydration between the weigh-in and the fight the next day, something Macklin is well aware of as he ponders taking this fight. Given Chavez’s proven inability to effectively trim the pounds, Macklin would be willing to make a small concession in that area, but not at cost to himself.
“I would consider giving him a few pounds. Listen, if he could meet me halfway, maybe at 164.lb., I would go for it but to go up to 168.lb. I’m giving a lot of an advantage away.”
“That fight would have to be up near 168.lb. and I would only really be 168.lb. on the night of the fight whereas he would put on 20.lb. overnight. At middleweight, I would love that fight but I don’t really want to venture up to super-middleweight so we will see what happens.”
Considering how Chavez has struggled to enter the ring in decent shape in the past three years, this little addendum may be enough to squash the notion of these two meeting entirely. But, if this bout goes ahead Macklin will be the smaller man by far on fight night; that will only benefit Chavez, whose whole approach is to ground his opponents down with his larger frame and ability to absorb punishment if little else.
Macklin himself is aware of how this fight will likely play out.
“I think it would be a physical fight as well but let’s see what happens in the next few days.”
There are upsides and down for Macklin if he takes this fight. The payday and publicity are both huge pluses, but the punishment he will likely take is a big factor to consider. Macklin has always shown his best with a high work rate in toe-to-toe battles like he did against Felix Sturm and Sergio Martinez in 2011 and 2012 respectively, but signs in his more recent outings indicate an erosion of that side of his game. If he can’t stay slick against Chavez and keep out of the way for twelve rounds -which is a big ask for anyone at that weight- he will have to go to war with him. And, in the absence of any one-punch knockout power he may posses, that would be like attacking an oncoming tank with a wiffle ball bat.
However, we also don’t know how Chavez is going to look after taking such a beating against Fonfara. Take Juan Manuel Lopez, for example, he entered his 2011 clash with Orlando Salido 30-0, with 27 knockouts. He was surprisingly stopped inside the eighth round. Lopez just recently retired, going 4-4, with all of his losses coming by way of knockout or stoppage. This could happen to Chavez as well if he doesn’t take the sport more seriously.