In 2011, England’s Matthew Macklin got plain ripped off in a split-decision loss challenging Felix Sturm for his middleweight title in Germany.
I was part of the American broadcast team for the fight on Epix, and I, along with the rest of our the team, thought Macklin clearly won the fight.
A rematch has been discussed on and off since, and, now, those talks are on again as Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs) is coming off a strong performance in a decision win against Lamar Russ in December and Sturm (39-3-2, 18 KOs) regained a title in December by stopping Darren Barker in the second round.
The time has come for Sturm to line up his first defense, and Macklin and England’s Martin Murray (26-1-1, 11 KOs), who has a 2011 draw with Sturm, are on top of the list to challenge. Macklin, of course, hopes he gets the fight. After all, Sturm told him that night in Germany in the ring after the fight he would give him a rematch down the road.
The sides have been in discussions, but Sturm has been slow to agree to the fight, according to Macklin.
"We met all of his demands, yet he still won't move forward with the fight," Macklin said. “We agreed to fight him in his backyard for not much money at all. In fact, the purse was less than what I received against Lamar Russ. The money isn't what matters, though. I just want the opportunity to show the world who the better fighter is. I know that I beat him in our first fight, and I know that I will beat him again.
"I believed Sturm to be a great champion and a great warrior, and, with everything that was said after our first fight, we felt that he would want this challenge. We are absolutely shocked that he continues to delay and not just come out and accept the fight. We accepted all of his terms, so what is his excuse? We realize that he has made an offer to fight Murray, but I want to publicly come out and say that if Murray doesn't accept the offer then we are ready, willing and able to make this fight happen right now."
Macklin said he will even agree to give Sturm an immediate rematch should he lose.
"I know that I won the first fight, but I will assure him that if he gives me the opportunity for this second bout, which I know that I will win again, I will promise to give him an immediate rematch," Macklin said.
Promoter Lou DiBella, who said the target date for the fight is May 31, is doing what he can to get the fight done for Macklin.
"Matthew and Felix have history," DiBella said. "Matthew is willing to take the short end of the stick and extremely low money for the opportunity. He wants that fight desperately, and he believes it’s the right fight for boxing. We know there’s an offer out there also to Murray, but if that fight doesn’t happen, we want this fight. Now is the perfect time for Felix and Matthew to have the rematch. These two men have unfinished business."