James Moore (17-3, 10 KOs) is back in training and thinking about a return to the ring in May if an Irish version of The Prizefighter TV show goes ahead.
Moore was last in action on June 2010 when he lost a unanimous decision to Pawel Wolak at Yankee Stadium, but he never officially retired and has always kept his options open.
“I have always been in the gym, but I hadn’t planned on any fights unless the right one came my way,” he told the Irish Voice on Monday.
“Nothing has been signed and I am still in talks, but my name has been mentioned.”
The proposed Prizefighter features eight middleweights in a winner-takes-all competition that consists of three-round fights.
To win outright, a fighter must win his quarterfinal, semifinal and final bouts all in the same night. At the end of the night, the victor walks away with a check for £32,000 (just over $50,000).
Moore said that Irish-boxing.com contacted him on behalf of English promoter Eddie Hearn, and that he would be open to taking a place in the Irish Prizefighter should it go ahead.
Moore has been working out at Darko Boxing Gym in Queens with Innocent Tuente-Tamo as he takes the early steps of getting back into fighting shape.
“I am still in the process of taking off the rust. I am back training a few weeks and I feel like the conditioning is coming back. I have sparred with a few novices and with one pro,” said Moore, who added that his absence from the ring was not because of lack of options.
“I was offered fights but they never appealed to me.”
Moore went on to say that there were several factors that make the Irish Prizefighter a good option for him.
The first is the middleweight limit. Moore fought all his major fights as a professional as a junior middleweight, but dropping to 154 lbs has always been a challenge.
With Moore turning 34 on Sunday, the 160-limit is something he feels is better for his body at this stage of his career.
Another factor in his decision is the opportunity to fight in Ireland. Moore fought only once at home as a professional (back in 2006 when he knocked Salaheddine Sarhani out in the fourth round at the National Stadium in Dublin), and he would love to fight in front in front of friends and family in Ireland.
Finally, Moore thinks he has a good shot at winning. With over 300 fights as an amateur, Moore is primed for three to four-round fights and feels he could excel in this format.
Other names being mentioned for the Irish Prizefighter are Eamon O’Kane, Joe Rea and Anthony Fitzgerald. Moore knows some of them from his amateur days and feels he could hold his own in such company.
If the Irish Prizefighter goes ahead and Moore signs on, he will continue to train in the U.S. in the run-up to the competition and head home a few weeks beforehand for final preparations with his father Jim.
In other news, middleweight Matthew Macklin (28-3, 19 KOs) is hard at work as he prepares for the biggest fight of his career on March 17 against Sergio Martinez at Madison Square Garden.
The Irish Voice caught up with Tomas Rohan of Brian Peters Promotions to get the latest from camp Macklin.
“Matthew has imported some top quality sparring for this fight. Aside from working with an hungry up-and-coming talent like Denis Douglin, he’s also brought in the likes of current WBA light middleweight champ, Austin Trout, and light middleweight contender Sechew Powell,” said Rohan in an e-mail.
“As a current world title holder, Trout is obviously a hugely capable fighter, but he has also spent time sparring Sergio Martinez previously so that is a help. Powell sparred Floyd Mayweather for his last fight against Victor Ortiz, so again he is also a world-class fighter with vast experience.”
Macklin will hold a media day next week at the Trinity Gym as the fight date draws nearer. Tickets are available for the fight at Ticketmaster.
Macklin was also in the press in England this week for his decision to withdraw his license to fight in the U.K.
The British Boxing Board of Control’s chairman, Charlie Giles, was quoted in the Birmingham Mail as saying the following about that situation, “The letter came as a bit of a bombshell and it was even more disappointing when no explanation was offered.
“As he is now no longer a license holder with the board we shall not be sending a representative to look after his interests over such things as the rules and regulations, which would be the normal practice.”
Rohan said of Macklin’s decision, “Obviously with Matthew now based in the U.S. and having signed a promotional deal with Lou DiBella, it makes sense for him to be licensed there. Boxers generally hold a boxing license from the territory in which they are based and that is what Matthew is doing in this case.
“The decision doesn't prohibit him from fighting either in Ireland or in the U.K. again in the future, so it was simply a logistical decision.”