BIRMINGHAM-IRISH middleweight boxer Matthew Macklin hopes he’ll be remembered for his fearlessness in the ring having announced his retirement from the sport.
The 34-year-old, whose parents hail from Roscommon and Tipperary, revealed his decision via a heartfelt statement last week after reflecting upon his most recent win, a points victory over Brian Rose on April 9.
Macklin, whose coach from the ages of 10 to 19 was Mayo man Paddy Benson from Ballyhaunis, fought at the highest level in one of the most prestigious divisions, but could never quite win a world title in three challenges against the cream of the crop.
Having taken on the fearsome Gennady Golovkin – the current WBA, IBF, IBO, and WBC middleweight champion – as well as middleweight legends Sergio Martinez and Felix Sturm, no one can question Macklin’s desire to take on the best.
And although he lost to each of the aforementioned trio, the respect he gained in heroic defeat on each occasion has made him content with his achievements.
“I think that’s the lasting impression that people will have of me,” he told The Irish Post. “In terms of laying it all on the line, not shying away from anyone or a challenge, that’s how I think I’ll be remembered by the people who followed me.”
Macklin, a former Warwickshire hurler in his youth, plans to take a short amount of time out of the sport before diving back in with broadcasting work, while he also plans to help his brother train upcoming youngsters in Birmingham.
“I might need a bit of time to myself to deal with the transition, but I will definitely stay involved in the sport, doing bits of commentary for Sky Sports,” he said.
“My brother Seamus, who trained me for my last few fights, has a couple of young lads coming through and it’s quite absorbing for him. But now that my career is over I imagine he’ll take on more fighters and I’ll be in the background giving him a hand. Eventually, I might even go full-time into the training with him.”
Although the decision to retire was announced over a month after his win against Rose at The O2 in London, Macklin insists he knew all along that it was the end of the line.
“I knew half-way through the fight that I just didn’t have it anymore, I wasn’t the same,” he said.
“So many times in my career after I’ve had a good win I’ve been thinking ‘right, what’s next?’ instead of just enjoying the night. But I told myself ahead of the Rose fight that, whatever happens, I’m going to enjoy the night, and thankfully I did. I enjoyed the build-up, the weigh-in and then I won the fight.
“I knew on the night that that was it, but I didn’t want the night to be about me retiring, I wanted it to be about the win.”