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Macklin's destiny lies in HBO hands

Two explosive left hooks from Sergio Martinez that left brave Matthew Macklin (pictured) floundering, and forced the Birmingham-born Irishman's corner to stop the brutal beating before the final round in Madison Square Garden on Saturday, posed a series of intriguing questions.

Where do both fighters go from here?

Martinez, 37, one of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet, is anxious to reclaim the WBC middleweight belt that was taken from him. But Mexican holder Julio Chavez Jr seems reluctant to tangle.

Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs) is also gunning for a super-fight with Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao but, again, neither man is anxious to meet him.

Because he's a relatively new property in the US, Macklin, 29, has more options.

American promoter Lou DiBella won't be slow to exploit Macklin's Irish connections.

But will agent Brian Peters target another world title shot or focus on a British belt for Macklin?

Rest assured, when it comes to maximising the Macklin purse, it's HBO that calls the shots.

Fury-Rogan scrap an Irish heavyweight tie

The Tyson Fury-Martin Rogan fight on April 14 is now officially an Irish heavyweight title bout.

Michael Sweeney (11-2-1), bitterly disappointed when his planned Irish title bout with John Waldron was scuppered a few months ago, is champing at the bit ahead of his cruiserweight clash with Belfast man Darren Corbett (29-6-1) in the Odyssey on the night.

The rest of the undercard is looking promising, with middleweight Chris Eubank Jr and bantamweight Jamie Conlan also on the list.

The event also sees the return to the ring of former Commonwealth champion and London-based Galwayman John O'Donnell (24-2), who hasn't boxed since his defeat in a British welterweight title bout at the fists of Craig Watson in February of last year after it had taken O'Donnell three attempts to make the weight.

"It's been a frustrating year out but I have my appetite back," said O'Donnell. "I can look to start challenging for titles again but this time at my correct weight, light-middleweight."

Corbett dismissed concerns that he's past his best at 39, saying: "I know I can do damage."