If Matthew Macklin can beat Felix Sturm and win the World Boxing Association's "super" version of their middleweight title in Cologne tonight, he will be one of seven fighters holding a recognised segment of the world title.
Sturm is the WBA "super" champion because of his seniority, Gennady Golovkin is their regular champion and the exotically-named Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam holds their "interim" title. The World Boxing Council has Sergio Martinez as their "diamond" holder, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr as their regular champion, while the International Boxing Federation, with Daniel Geale, and World Boxing Organisation, with Dmitry Pirog, have just one each.
"It's a crazy situation with the middleweights," admitted Macklin. "Sturm's a proven world champion and I'm fighting him in his home town – that's enough of an obstacle."
Macklin has worked his way to a world title the old-fashioned way, having held the British title, twice winning the European belt and losing only two of his 30 fights.
Sturm, who is just three years older, at 32, than his opponent, first won a version of the middleweight world title in 2003 before losing it the following year to Oscar De La Hoya in what looked like a gift decision. Since that night in Las Vegas he has won, lost and won the belt and taken care of a mixed selection of challengers.
"I've seen him look quality and look bored in world title fights," said Macklin. "I've also seen him stand and really fight when he's been hurt – he's dangerous, but I don't think he considers me a real threat."
Macklin is unbeaten in four years since his sensible move from light-middle to the welcome extra weight at middle, and he is finally looking, and acting, like the star he seemed destined to become when he turned professional 10 years ago.
"It's been an interesting journey. I've trained in LA, Glasgow, Dublin, Birmingham, and Philadelphia, and I've been around some crazy people. It has all helped to make me the fighter I am," Macklin added.
Macklin knows that winning by a slender margin in Sturm's town is not an option and that is why he will keep busy, controlling the fight with body punching, pressure and desire. A win tonight, by about the 10th, would represent one of the finest world title victories away from home by a British fighter.Reuse content