| 8.7°C Dublin

It started with a punch - how Jamie Moore and Matthew Macklin formed a hard hitting double act

Close

Matthew Macklin

Matthew Macklin

Matthew Macklin

When Jamie Moore unleashed a huge left hand to leave Matthew Macklin flat out on the canvas and bring an end to their brutal British light-middleweight title fight in 2007, he could not have imagined how fate would leave their careers intertwined.

Magnanimous in victory, Moore heaped praise on the vanquished Macklin and vowed to visit him in hospital before embarking on a quest to build on the best performance of his fighting life by going in pursuit of the European crown.

Close

Jamie Moore

Jamie Moore

Jamie Moore

The relationship between Moore and Macklin has been one of the most edifying in British boxing in recent years, underscoring the fact that behind so much of the sport's hype and bluster lies a genuine respect for anyone brave enough to lace on gloves.

It was a relationship that took a shocking new twist last month when Moore, now acting as Macklin's trainer for a projected world title eliminator in Dublin, was shot in the legs in an unprovoked attack at the pair's training base on the Costa del Sol.

Macklin had no hesitation in abandoning his scheduled bout while Moore - who was reportedly lucky to survive after one of the bullets missed a main artery by millimetres - was treated in a Spanish hospital before being flown home.

Moore told the Guardian: "I was really calm. It all relates back to boxing and staying calm under pressure. I could have easily panicked and stood up and I would have bled even more then. But I reached for my phone and got lucky."

The respective career trajectories of Moore and Macklin after that seminal night in Manchester underscores the unpredictable and perilous nature of a boxing career, and perhaps why those who engage in it find it easy to dab their cuts and bruises and retain that deep-rooted respect.

Moore took two and a half years to finally get his European title shot, flooring Italy's Michele Piccirillo in three rounds in front of a raucous crowd in Wigan, but his reign lasted just two years before he was surprisingly stopped by Sheffield veteran Ryan Rhodes.

One fight later, Moore retired on his stool in a seemingly routine bout against Sergey Khomitsky and promptly announced his retirement from the sport on the basis of correspondence with the British Boxing Board of Control, which revealed that while he was fit to box, there were indications of minor irregularities in his brain scans.

Understandably, Macklin took time to recover from his mauling at the hands of Moore. Six fights and two and a half years later, he eased back into the title picture by finally winning the British title with a stoppage win over Wayne Elcock.

Seven years after that unforgettable night in Manchester, the victor is retired while the loser has established himself as a genuine world-level contender, having come agonisingly close to claiming the WBA middleweight crown against Felix Sturm in June 2011, bravely coming up short against the then world number one Sergio Martinez in Atlantic City in 2012, and being stopped early by fierce-punching Gennady Golovkin in Connecticut in June last year.

Yet despite their very different career paths, the pair are now closer than ever, and there is a fitting irony about the possibility that once Moore's latest scars have healed, he could be the man to finally lead Macklin to the promised land of a world title belt.

Those in the sport who have had the privilege to meet Moore and Macklin know their partnership is much more than a marriage of convenience. It is one that has proved strong enough to withstand left hand bombs and now bullets.

It is a partnership that has its origins back in the aftermath of that raucous British title night as Moore refrained from joining his supporters in their celebrations out of genuine concern for the temporarily stricken Macklin.

"Matthew was unbelievable," Moore insisted in the fight's immediate aftermath. "I knew that was the sort of performance he would bring and I knew that it would take a lot to get him out of there.

"At the end I congratulated him and told him what a tough man he was, and he said the same about me."

Online Editors