Middleweight Matthew Macklin (28-4, 19 KOs) will fight Joachim Alcine (33-2-1, 19KOs) at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas this Saturday night in a contest scheduled for 10 rounds. The 30-year-old's fight will on the undercard of the Sergio Martinez/Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. showdown and will be televised on HBO pay per view.
Alcine is a former light middleweight world champion from Canada by way of Haiti. The 36-year-old has only been beaten twice in a 13-year professional career, with both losses coming to high caliber opponents (a 2008 loss to then WBA champion Daniel Santos and a 2010 loss to Alfredo Angulo). Macklin is taking nothing for granted against the skillful veteran.
"He might not be the easiest guy to hit. He's got a shoulder roll defense, and he has a decent jab. It will be important in the first few rounds not to get frustrated and overeager and not to load up, just box my way into the fight. It will flow naturally after that," Macklin told the Irish Voice from Las Vegas last week.
"I think I am the stronger fighter. I hit harder and I am more intense. I am expecting a good performance and a good win."
Macklin arrived in Las Vegas on September 1 and finished his camp with trainer Buddy McGirt and his brother Seamus at the HIT Factory Boxing Gym. Before that, he spent 10 weeks preparing for the challenge of Alcine at his own gym, Macklin's Gym Marbella, in Marbella, Spain.
While there he sparred with Ruben Varon and Joe Selkirk to ready himself for the right, which will be Macklin’s first in Las Vegas and which will be fought at a maximum weight of 161 pounds.
Macklin was last in action when he lost to Sergio Martinez by TKO in the 11th round on St. Patrick's Day at the Theater in Madison Square Garden. However, he performed extremely well in that fight and pushed Martinez all the way before the Argentinean found another level late in the fight to end it.
Macklin feels that he is the one of the top contenders in the division without a belt, and that a good win this weekend could open the door to another shot at a world title.
“I know I have a world title in me. It is up to me to win next week and then leave it to Brian Peters (Macklin's manager) and Lou (DiBella, Macklin's promoter) to make the arrangements after that.”
McGirt spent eight weeks in the Costa del Sol getting Macklin ready for this assignment. The former two-weight division world champion knows a thing or two about Alcine as the pair worked together for two fights, which Alcine won, in 2009.
“Training went great. If Matthew listens he will earn victory in an easy way. If he does not listen he will earn victory the hard way,” said McGirt last week.
"These fights are the horrible fights because there is more risk than reward in them,” said Macklin.
"Having said that, it is on HBO PPV, and it is the chief support fight to Chavez/Martinez. It is on the big stage. If I do win and win impressively, I put myself right back in the mix.
I would certainly be very hopeful that the next fight after this would be for a world title."
Macklin admits that one champion he would like to challenge is WBA Super Champion Daniel Geale, who went to Germany and defeated Felix Sturm in on September 1 to add the IBF belt to his collection.
“Stylistically Geale would suit me. Daniel Geale on St. Patrick’s Day in Madison Square Garden would be perfect,” Macklin said.
Before he can dream of another big fight at the Garden, Macklin will have to make sure that he wins this weekend in Vegas.