SERGIO MARTINEZ beat Matthew Macklin by a technical knockout at Madison Square Garden in New York, but Macklin has vowed that he will still become a world champion.
Macklin, 29, took great credit from the fight, providing defending middleweight world champion Martinez, who is the linear world champion at the weight, with the toughest test of his reign so far.
The former Tipperary underage hurler made life continually uncomfortable for the Argentinian, trading heavy blows in what for the most part was an even contest, but he was knocked down twice in the 11th, causing his camp to withdraw their man.
Birmingham-born Macklin explained he had taken a more considered approach to the fight than usual. He said: “Putting reckless pressure on would have been detrimental so I tried to feint, move my head, box, take him out of his rhythm, upset him a little bit and ease my way into the fight, then start putting the pressure on.”
Observers had him level or even ahead once the glove of Martinez, the heavy favourite with bookmakers, touched the canvas in the seventh round.
Thereafter though it was all about the 37-year-old, who upped his game and dominated.
Asked what changed in the later rounds, Macklin said: “I slowed a little bit, stopped moving my head, got a bit heavy on my feet and he caught me square a few times.”
He aims to get back to work as soon as possible to build on the performance.
“Mark my words, I will be a world champion,” he said.