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Matthew Macklin's Retirement Message Is A Lesson To Fighters Everywhere

Matthew Macklin's Retirement Message Is A Lesson To Fighters Everywhere
By Gavan Casey
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After a storied career spanning 15 years, former European champion and three-time world title challenger Matthew Macklin has called time on his boxing journey.

The Brummie-born middleweight, of proud Tipperary and Roscommon origin, draws the curtain with a record of 35-6 (22 KOs), having thrown down in some of the finest contests to grace Irish, British and American shores over the past decade and more.


In a boxing world where the likes of Roy Jones fight on into their 40s, and where even Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn are mooted to be planning a comeback, Macklin's brave decision following a courageous but sluggish outing against Brian Rose should be admired.

And Mack The Knife's retirement statement via his Puerto Banus-based gym, MGM Marbella, is one of such depth, class and entertainment that we've actually decided to take excerpts from it as opposed to quoting it in its entirety:

Last month, at the O2 Arena in London, around the half way point in my fight with Brian Rose, I knew it was time to retire. My face was marking up, I was getting frustrated at not being able to land my shots and I knew that physically, after a long career my body was telling me that enough was enough. I also knew that I didn’t want to go out like that so with the help of my brother Seamus I decided to end my career on my terms and pulled the win out of the bag in the last few rounds. Deep down I came to the realisation on the night that it was probably going to be my last fight. I turn 34 in two days time and, after much reflection I have decided that following 24 years in the sport, over 80 amateur fights and 41 professional fights, it is time to hang up my gloves.

15 years is a long time in professional boxing and, for me, it has been a real rollercoaster journey! I’ve had a great career but I know that now is the right time to bow out. I’m not the fighter I once was; Father Time catches up with us all eventually. I never wanted to do things the easy way or to be a big fish in a small pond. I wanted to know how good I was and test myself against the very best the sport had to offer and I can proudly say I did that. I fought Sturm, Sergio Martinez and the best of them all Gennady Golovkin. Most importantly, I fought them all in their primes.

I’m happy with how I finished the Rose fight and conducted myself throughout my career. I’m proud of what I achieved from winning National titles and a Senior ABA title as an 18 year old in the amateurs to winning Irish and British titles and becoming a two time European Champion as a professional. Sadly, I never managed to get my hands on that elusive World title but I should have done that night in Cologne in 2011. I believe I was very unlucky to be on the wrong side of a bad decision to Felix Sturm.

I want to thank all my trainers down through the years starting from when I was just 10 years old and my father took me to the Small Heath Amateur Boxing Club in Birmingham where I was trained by a Mayo man, Paddy Benson. I trained with Paddy and Tommy Lynch in the early days of my professional career before moving to Manchester and working with Billy Graham and Joe Gallagher and with Buddy McGirt in the U.S. I also had the pleasure of working with Jamie Moore, Richie Woodhall, Freddie Roach and Peter Harrison.

One man who has always been in my corner is my brother Seamus who has shared my journey with me. From a young age he has witnessed all that boxing entails and I have no doubt that he will go on to become a great trainer of champions. He has been with me every step of the way from Manchester to Vero Beach, back to Manchester, to New York, Los Angeles, Marbella, Birmingham and everywhere in between! He ended up being my head coach for my last few fights and was brilliant in the Rose fight talking me through a fight that was slipping away from me as the realisation that it wasn’t there any more was coming over me. I only wish it was Seamus who was approaching 35 and me 25, we would have been a great combo!

There have be so many great nights but I think the Sturm fight in 2011 (leaving aside the judge’s decision!) was probably the best. I had announced myself on the world scene in a great fight against one of the longest serving World Champions in the sport and although we didn’t get the decision we celebrated anyway because we knew who won the fight and so did they! Over 300 fans had travelled over from Ireland and England and easily out sang the 19,000 Germans in the Lanxess Arena. The next day we ascended upon the Corkonian, a lovely little Irish pub in the city and drank it dry! Literally. They ran out of Guinness, beer and cider and in the end they even ran out of lemonade!

Strange as it may seem, my defeat to Jamie Moore in 2006 was a massive night for me (despite the fact that I lost and needed to stay in hospital on a drip following the fight!). It’s possibly “the” fight. It’s certainly the one people still watch and talk about. I left it all in the ring that night, and many thought I’d never be the same again but, if anything it was the making of me. To this day, Jamie remains a good friend and will be a friend for the rest of my life.

Another night that will always stick in my memory was headlining at the 3Arena in Dublin against Jorge Sebastian Heiland. In the ring it was a bad night for me but standing there before my ring walk as a second generation Irishman, soaking up an electric atmosphere while the crowd blasted out ‘ole, ole, ole’ is a moment that filled me with great pride and will stay with me forever.

You can read Macklin's full statement on his career here.



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