Preview: St. Patrick’s Day boxing, Martinez vs. Macklin

A rich tradition of Irish boxing writes a new chapter in New York City on St. Patrick's Day. Photo: Damien Acevedo

SAN DIEGOMarch 16, 2012Irish and Irish-American boxing is rich in tradition, from the bare-knuckle days of “Boston Strong Boy” John L. Sullivan to Jack Dempsey, who knocked out George Foreman; Irish champions Wayne McCullough and Seamus McDonagh; and Irish-American boxers James Braddock and Mickey Ward, whose stories were celebrated in the movies “Cinderella Man” and “The Fighter.”


Boxers with Irish roots are known for grit and determination, sometimes in the face of overwhelming odds. Matthew Macklin (28-3, 19 KOs) will need all of it and more in his fight against Argentinean middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KOs) in their St. Patrick’s Day bout in New York at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden.

Macklin is the clear underdog in this fight, coming off a loss to Felix Sturm. But he will be the overwhelming sentimental favorite in New York, which will feel like a hometown crowd. Macklin has good technique, solid defense, decent skills and an excellent work ethic and attitude. Whatever we see on Saturday, it will be everything Macklin has got. Give him credit, he never backs off from taking on a tough opponent and this wins him much respect.

Martinez is a juggernaut, a relentless puncher who relies on overwhelming his opponents with sheer punching power. Sometimes his wins aren’t pretty, but they are wins where an opponent is often laying on the canvas and the fans love it. Martinez has won his last four fights, the last three by knockout.

Fighting in front of a New York crowd on St. Patrick’s Day will feel more like Dublin Ireland. Courtesy HBO.

In the pre-fight news conference in January, Macklin declared himself ready for the challenge.  

“Usually, when I fought the best guys they brought the best out of me. Sergio Martinez is certainly going to bring the best out of me. I’ll need to be at my best to win this fight,” Macklin said. “I’m very confident. The fact that it’s March 17th, St. Patty’s Day night here in New York, I’m going to feel like I’m fighting in Dublin. I’m going to be the home fighter with the home crowd. I’m coming forward; I’m coming to go to war.”

Martinez is one of the true gentlemen of the Sweet Science, an extremely well liked fighter admired for his work both in the ring, and in the community. He has dedicated this fight “to everyone who dedicates their time to fight against domestic violence.” Martinez also works on anti-bullying initiatives. He ranks among the top pound for pound boxers in the world, but he’s not as well known as he should be.

With an impressive win, Martinez hopes to secure a fight with a big name, big money fighter like Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao. Martinez has also indicated interest in fighting Julio Caesar Chavez Jr., but promoters will never let Martinez have his way with a fighter being carefully groomed for greatness. Martinez’ only disadvantage is Father Time. He is 37 years old and it’s unclear how many years of prime fighting time he has left in his career.

Sergio Martinez with his belts following his victory over Kelly Pavlik in 2010.

The undercard features a 10-round super middleweight contest between Edwin Rodriguez (20-0, 14 KOs) and Donovan George (22-1-1, 19 KOs) in what should be an action-packed, crowd-pleasing warm-up. 

Also part of the evening’s action is a bout between Japanese champion Charlie Ota (19-1, 13 KOs) and veteran Gundrick King (16-6-7, 11 KOs) in an eight round junior middleweight fight. Ota is an American who was born Charles Bellamy in Harlem. He moved to Japan when he served in the U.S.Navy in 2000 and decided to stay and fight out of his adopted home country. This will be his first fight back in his hometown.

Join us on Communities @Washington Times for a live boxing chat starting at 9:45 p.m. Eastern Time (6:45 p.m. Pacific Time) as we “Get Our Irish Up.” You won’t have to crowd your way into your favorite Irish pub and drink warm green beer for St. Patrick’s Day action. Stock up on the Bushmills and Guinness and join us here. Our bouncers promise to go easy on you.

The action from New York airs on HBO and HBO Latino live starting at 10 p.m. EDT / 7:00 p.m PDT.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at” when quoting from or linking to this story.   

Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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