Macklin sets sights for title in 2014

He'd like to have that opportunity back. Middleweight Matthew Macklin didn't particularly care for the lead-in to his June scrap (a KO3 loss) against Gennady Golovkin, which had him trying to shrug off some knuckles busted in camp.

"We did at one point try to put the fight back," he said, as the left-hand woes kept him from doing pads and a lot of sparring. And looking back, he didn't like his gameplan, which called for him to out-box the terminator from Kazakhstan.

"They were the wrong tactics," he admitted to me.

Yes, it's fair to say the Irishman, who fights for New York promoter Lou DiBella and is advised by Anthony Catanzaro, who also is part of Team Malignaggi, would like a re-do against Triple GGG. But first, there's a comeback to attend to. Macklin, age 31, fights Saturday night in AC, on a Top Rank-HBO card topped by Guillermo Rigondeaux-Joseph Agbeko. The 29-5 hitter, who splits his time between England and Spain, is in against a dangerous foe, a man with little to lose. The 14-0 Russ took the fight on short notice, after Willie "Not That Willie" Nelson fell out with injury. If Russ loses, no big deal, he's young and had short notice.

So, it's fair to say Macklin is aware that he can't assume Russ will be an easy out. "Russ has a great jab, big amateur pedigree, tall, rangy, an undefeated's confidence but I'm going to drag him into deep waters and drown him," Macklin said. "I'm going to be back to winning ways."

When he gets the W in N.J., he said he'd love to fight Golovkin again. Or Peter Quillin, or the Daniel Geale-Felix Sturm winner. Some title, really, any title is in his sights for 2014.

An aside: Catanzaro will have a busy night; he'll be in Brooklyn to watch Malignaggi headline at Barclays, and will have to hustle to find a TV showing the HBO -- the enemy of Showtime! -- card in AC which features Macklin.