Middleweight Matthew Macklin (29-4, 20 KOs) will fight WBA and IBO champion Gennady Golovkin (26-0, 23 KOs) on June 29 at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. The fight will be televised on HBO and the pair will slug it out in a contest scheduled for 12 rounds.
Both men and their representatives were at a press conference at Gallagher's Steak House in Manhattan on Saturday to officially announce the fight. Michael Buffer, who called Golovkin “the middleweight that no one wants to fight,” emceed the event.
Macklin has decided to take up that challenge and will pit his wits against the heavy-handed Kazak, who has an incredible 88 percent knockout rate.
That statistic does not faze Macklin, who will fight for a world title for the third time. He lost a controversial decision to Felix Sturm in June 2011 and retired after 11 rounds against Sergio Martinez on March 17 of last year.
"It is a 12 round fight and I know I am going to get hit. I have confidence in my chin, but I am curious to see how hard he hits, but you know, I hit hard too,” said Macklin.
“I am just so focused on getting myself right and getting my game plan right on the night.”
Macklin admitted that he initially wanted to fight a tune up in June on a card that featured Golovkin in a separate fight, with the two men to meet in September had they both prevailed. However, it soon became clear that the window for him to fight the 2004 Olympic silver medalist was June and June only.
"The opportunity is there now, it may not be there in September. We went back and forward and then I thought 'I haven't been the most active of fighters anyway.’ It was nine months between the Sturm and Martinez fight,” added Macklin, who has only fought less that one round since March 2012 (a first round TKO win over Joachim Alcine last September).
“I didn't want to miss this opportunity, as I want to be the guy who beats this guy.”
Macklin knows that he will have to be at his best to beat Golovkin.
"He is certainly not going to be as awkward as Sergio Martinez. He's not a southpaw for one. He is pretty straight up, a what you see is what you get big puncher, and he's strong. He has good distance, good head movement and he is a good fighter. I am expecting a tough, tough fight."
Golovkin, who is trained by Abel Sanchez, comes across as a very humble and likeable champion and expects that this will be his most difficult test.
"We know that this is a very difficult fight for us, and one of the biggest fights that can be made in boxing right now. Matthew is going to be the toughest challenge I have ever had,” he said.
“He is just as big, fast and strong as me and we are expecting a very tough fight on June 29th."
Macklin's manager, Brian Peters, was also in attendance and said that his fighter "got an extremely good deal," but that is because HBO knows what his fighter brings to the table.
"Most middleweights don't want to walk on the same side of the street as him [Golovkin]. Matthew is a warrior and will put it up to him," said Peters. "Matthew will hit him and hit him regularly and it is going be one hell of a fight."
Macklin will spend his training camp in Marbella, Spain, at his own gym. Trainer Buddy McGirt is expected to join him in two weeks. Serbian Geard Ajetovic, who Macklin defeated in 2008, has been lined up as one sparring partner as he has a style similar to Golovkin.
Since his last fight, Macklin has had a nose operation to fix a breathing issue that has irked him for some time. The procedure was a success and he believes it will help improve his stamina “no end.”
Macklin also believes his experience will be a crucial factor. He cites the fact that Golovkin has only gone 10 rounds once in his career against Kassim Ouma in 2011.
Macklin has gone 10 rounds or more on nine occasions and hopes that he will be able to take the champion into the deep waters of a long and hard fight to test what he is really made of.
“I am at a better starting point for this fight than I was for Martinez. I have been training with Seamus [his brother] for the past two months. I am so excited about this fight. I think this is coming at a perfect time for me,” Macklin says.
Tickets for the fight are available from foxwoods.com.