MATTHEW Macklin came out on top in his crossroads middleweight clash with Brian Rose at London's O2 Arena on Saturday night.
The Birmingham-Irish boxer had a point deducted in the 10th round for a second low blow in a war of attrition between the pair, but his busy approach and fast start handed him the win against the Blackpool man by majority decision – 113-113, 115-111 and 115-111.
Prior to the fight, Macklin had claimed he was “fighting for his career” and would retire from the sport if he failed to beat Rose, whose own career is now in a precarious state after his fourth defeat in the pro ranks.
'Mack the Knife' picked up the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title with the win, though he's already eyeing the bigger picture as he moves a step closer to what would be his fourth world title shot.
“I think I was the one that wanted it more,” said Macklin. “I need to think now, I didn’t win in the convincing fashion I thought I would but I am not going to take any meaningless fights now I will only take big ones.
“Let’s sit tight and see what comes. I started OK but I got sloppy. He was a lot tougher than I expected and I wasted some energy going for the body.”
Rose, who also had a point deducted for excessive holding, felt he had done enough to at least earn a draw, pointing to Macklin's stronger finish as a key factor in the judges favouring the Irishman.
“I’m not going to make excuses.” Rose said. “I expected him to fade and he did but that last charge won him the fight. I had it a draw or maybe me nicking it. I felt it could’ve gone either way. I didn’t see what the judges did.”
The win was Macklin’s fourth in row since suffering a shock loss to Jorge Sebastian Heiland in Dublin in 2014.