Middleweight contender Matthew Macklin, who lost a highly controversial decision to titleholder Felix Sturm on June 25, signed a multiyear promotional contract with Lou DiBella on Wednesday and intends to fight in the United States.
"I am really happy to be signing with DiBella Entertainment. I've known Lou for many years. I met him in Manchester (England) when Paulie Malignaggi fought Lovemore N'Dou in 2008," Macklin said. "We spoke about doing something together last year, but the timing wasn't right. I feel that we're now on the same wavelength. I'm excited about the future and I feel that I am in very good hands with Lou."
By signing with DiBella, who also promotes lineal middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez, Macklin, an Irishman born in England, put himself in good position to get that eventual fight.
"I viewed signing him as a no-brainer," DiBella said. "I have Sergio, the real middleweight champ, the best in the world. But clearly Matthew handled Sturm with ease and he has a claim at being the second-best middleweight in the world. He's going to want a shot at Sergio and eventually that will make sense.
"One thing is for sure: You'll never see Matthew Macklin in a bad fight ever," he said. "He's already proved he's one of the guys at the top of the middleweight division."
Macklin (28-3, 19 KOs) went to Sturm's home country of Germany and outpunched and outlanded Sturm overwhelmingly. However, while one judge gave Macklin the fight 115-113, the two other judges scored it 116-112 for Sturm. Most observers had Macklin clearly winning.
DiBella said he has always liked Macklin's fighting style and he also brokered the deal for American premium network Epix to buy the rights to Sturm-Macklin. Now Macklin will get the opportunity to fight in the United States besides just being on television here.
"I want to be fighting the big fights on American television," Macklin said. "I want to get my name out there. I proved myself against Sturm and I've always been willing to fight anyone."
"Lou is the right guy at the right time to take us where we want to be and help us achieve what we want to achieve," Brian Peters, Macklin's manager since 2005, said. "I think Lou is the man to deliver."
DiBella said the plan for Macklin is to have him fight in November the United States, likely in New York, where there is a large Irish fanbase that usually shows Irish fighters great support. After that, the plan is for a big fight, perhaps on St. Patrick's Day weekend against Martinez, DiBella said.
Besides Martinez or Sturm, DiBella said he could see Macklin facing the winner of the Oct. 1 fight between Brian Vera and Ireland's Andy Lee. They fight on the undercard of Martinez's defense against England's Darren Barker in Atlantic City, N.J.
"Could you imagine Macklin against Lee in Ireland or New York," DiBella said. "A Sturm fight will always be there. But to go back to Germany now, to the scene of the robbery, doesn't make a lot of sense right now when that fight will always be there. Matthew is a very friendly TV fighter. With a couple of fights in the U.S., he has a chance to cross the pond and become a star here.
"I'm very, very happy with the deal," he continued. "I happen to like the kid very much and that is part of it. There are certain guys who have very pleasing styles for TV. This guy rumbles but he also has skills. He's fun to watch and made a case that he stands near the top of the middleweight division with the way he fought Sturm."
Said Macklin: "I'm looking forward to November. We'll see who's available and get the ball rolling and then look for a Martinez fight or a Sturm rematch."
After the Sturm fight, Macklin was offered a rematch but said the terms were nearly identical as the first fight.
"I would love the rematch with Felix Sturm, but I don't think he's too keen on it," Macklin said. "They haven't offered me anything to make me think they want the rematch. The offer was more or less the same as the first fight with three options. It was a ridiculous offer. It seems he doesn't want the rematch but wants to be seen as wanting the rematch. So we did this deal with Lou and eventually I hope I'll get a rematch with Sturm and also a shot with Martinez."
The 29-year-old Macklin said he has wanted to fight in the United States since even before he turned pro in 2001. He almost came here to fight Winky Wright on a Golden Boy Promotions HBO PPV card in April. However, Wright withdrew because of an injury and Macklin eventually landed the shot with Sturm.
Macklin first got the idea he'd like to fight in America when he was still an amateur. He came to trainer Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Calif., in 2001 to spar with junior middleweight contender Roman Karmazin, who was getting ready for a mandatory shot against titleholder Oscar De La Hoya. The fight was eventually canceled because of a De La Hoya hand injury, but Macklin got in work with Karmazin and enjoyed the experience he had in the U.S.
"I was 19 and a welterweight, but I thought America, which was where all the big fights were, would be a great place to fight," said Macklin, the former European middleweight champion. "But I wound up signing with (British promoter) Frank Warren and was boxing in the U.K."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.