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Macklin can't afford a loss

Matthew Macklin has a job to do in Birmingham tonight.

Anxious to get back in contention for big fights, he's been hard at work with coach Jamie Moore.

But the news earlier this week that his opponent Ferenc Albert had injured a hand in sparing, caused further uncertainty for the MGM fighter.

An exhausted-looking Macklin suffered a crushing 10th round knock-out at the fists of Jorge Sebastian Heiland in Dublin last November. It was his sixth defeat in 37 fights, 20 won by KO.

A two-times European and former Irish champion, Macklin's defeats were all in title fights.

He's been fighting at the highest level and hasn't given up on his ambitions to be world champion. "I think I was jaded," he explains. "But I'll know more after the fight on Saturday."

Macklin's raw courage and lusty appetite for a fight make him a box-office favourite on both sides of the Atlantic. Since his last fight, local rival Andy Lee has become WBO World middleweight champion. The WBA belt is held by Daniel Jacobs (29-1, 26 KO). Both men are potential targets for a rejuvenated Macklin.

But he's a realist. "I can't afford to lose at this stage in my career," he concedes.

The laws of primacy and survival in the pro game, dictate that Macklin must do a proper job tonight on the man who has replaced the injured Albert. The experienced Sandor Micsko (25-8-2, 19 KO) beat Albert last year to claim the vacant Hungary middleweight title.

He's no tomato can. In October, he fought Russia's Artur Akavov for the WBO European title.