Matthew Macklin’s manager, Brian Peters, is confident that his fighter can rebuild his career after a devastating third round knockout defeat to Gennady Golovkin at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, on Saturday night.
A perfectly executed liver shot from Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs) in the third stanza sent Macklin (29-5, 20 KOs) to the canvas in considerable pain, and try as he might, the Irishman from Birmingham could not beat the count and the fight was over with 1:22 gone in the round.
“Matthew never really got into the fight. He couldn't get over the guy's strength, the way he cut off the ring, his footwork. He was always within punching range and his [Golovkin’s] ring generalship and his power were awesome,” Peters told the Irish Voice after the fight.
“We did expect that. Our plan was to tie him up and hold him, but he never got into the fight. You've got to handle it to Gennady [Golovkin], he never allowed him to and he caught him with a cracking shot. For a warrior like Matthew, it is sickening to go out that way."
Golovkin was a class above Macklin on the night. From the first bell Macklin was tagged with left hooks and straight rights that moved him, and he was badly hurt at the end of the first round, clinging on to the ropes to prevent himself from falling.
That theme continued in the second round when the game Macklin tried to bring the fight to Golovkin, but the 2004 Olympic silver medalist methodically broke him down with clubbing power shots that were beginning to take a toll.
Golovkin set up Macklin beautifully for the knockout punch in the third round. The Kazak moved Macklin on to the ropes and whipped in a couple of uppercuts. When Macklin went to protect himself from another uppercut Golovkin threw a perfect hook to the body, and Macklin’s face contorted with pain from the shot inflicted as he collapsed to the canvas.
After the fight, Macklin’s trainer Buddy McGirt told the Irish Voice that his fighter got flustered after Golovkin’s strong start.
"The problem we had in the corner was getting him to relax, trying to get him to calm down. He said that when Golovkin was putting pressure on him, he felt he [Golovkin] was gaining momentum, but I told him it was still early in the fight," McGirt told the Irish Voice after the fight.
"I told him in the dressing room that when a guy puts pressure on you to relax, get close hold him, spin him, until you find your groove. Don't get out of sync, and that is what happened. He got out of sync."
This was Macklin’s third time losing a world title fight, but despite the nature of this defeat, McGirt feels that there is plenty left in Macklin and that he can come back again.
"For sure, without a doubt. Listen, if he was beat up for 10 or 11 rounds and he got knocked out with a shot on the chin, I would say, ‘Hold up, something is wrong here.' He withstood the headshots, but those liver shots, man, they are motherf***ers, and the guy placed it beautifully,” McGirt said.
Macklin recovered from the shot after a few minutes and would later go to hospital to receive stitches for a cut to his left eye. He took to Twitter on Sunday to tell his followers that the body shot that finished the fight cracked his rib, and that he would take a rest before contemplating his next move.
“Sorry, I didn't do better but GGG didnt [sic] let me into the fight. GGG is by far the best I've ever been in a ring with. It'll be a while before anyone beats him at 160!” said Macklin in one update.
Peters thinks that there are several options available to Macklin.
“Resilience is his middle name, but when you fight at such a level -- I consider this the top tier -- he can always go the middle tier where you have the Darren Barkers, the Martin Murrays and the Andy Lees. Those fights are always there,” Peters said.
“We have fallen down from the top tier, and all these fights are options. I believe I will get him back on HBO. He is very exciting. They know there is more to him than what was seen tonight.
“There is a bit of rebuilding work [to be done]. Matthew had a big reputation going into this one and rightly so, and that is why HBO dug deep into its pockets and got Matthew one of the biggest purses in 20 years.
“There is still a future; we are very downbeat after that, but he [Golovkin} is a great fighter and a great gentleman.”
Earlier in the night, light welterweight Danny O’Connor (21-1, 7 KOs) scored a unanimous decision win over Hector Munoz (21-11-1, 14KOs) in an entertaining action fight. All three judges scored the fight 79-73 in favor of the man from Framingham, Massachusetts.