Head trainer James "Buddy" McGirt & Mathew Macklin
(Photo By: Teddy Blackburn)
NEW YORK (March 2, 2012) - Irish eyes will really be smilin' on St. Patty's evening if Matthew "Mack the Knife" Macklin upsets World Middleweight Champion Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KOs) and the other five members of Team Gang Green also have their hands raised in victory.
"THE REAL Middleweight Championship - Get Your Irish Up," presented by DiBella Entertainment, promises to feature bag pipes, step dancers, and passionate fans singing "Ole Ole" and proudly waving Irish flags, on March 17 (St. Patrick's Day) in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
The 12-round main event showcases Martinez, Ring Magazine's No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter, defending against former European champion Macklin (28-3, 19 KOs). In the 10-round "Bombs Away" co-feature, super middleweight Edwin "La Bomba" Rodriguez (20-0, 14 KOs) faces Don "Da Bomb" George (22-1-1, 19 KOs), who is half-Irish, in fan-friendly brawl with possible future world title shot implications. Martinez-Macklin and Rodriguez-George will both air live on HBO's "World Championship Boxing," starting at 10 PM/ET 7 PM/PT.
Tickets, priced at $505, $355, $205, $125 and $65, are available to purchase through the Madison Square Garden Box Office, through Ticketmaster at Ticketmaster.com or by calling (866) 858-0008. Call DiBella Entertainment at (212) 947-2577, visit www.dbe1.com and @loudibella on Twitter for more information.
The Irish and boxing go together like corned beef and cabbage. Macklin, rated No. 3 by Ring Magazine and No. 2 by the World Boxing Council ("WBC"), embodies some of the same qualities as great fighters of Irish blood such as Jack Dempsey, Jimmy McLarnin, Terry McGovern, Barry McGuigan, Wayne McCullough and Packy McFarland.
Born and raised in Birmingham, England, Macklin was outright robbed in his last fight, dropping a highly-contested 12-round unanimous decision last June to World Boxing Association ("WBA") Super Middleweight Champion Felix Sturm in Germany. Matthew's father is from Four Roads in County Roscommon, his mother hails from County Tipperary. Macklin learned how to play hurling, Ireland's national sport, in Ireland and played for an elite youth team from County Tipperary. Matthew is close friends with Irish hurling stars Eoin Kelly and Lars Corbett, who supported Macklin at his recent open workout in New York City.
Macklin is trained by James "Buddy" McGirt, a two-time world champion and 2002 BWAA Trainer of the Year, who has trained the likes of Antonio Tarver, the late Vernon Forrest and the late Arturo Gatti.
If Macklin knocks off Martinez, Matthew and McGirt may break out into an Irish jig right in the ring.
Also fighting on the Irish-accented card is popular Irish-American light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (12-0, 8 KOs), a bricklayer from Long Beach (NY) whose parents are from Nevan and County Meath in Ireland. Monaghan takes on Eric Watkins (6-1) in an eight-rounder.
Also fighting on the undercard is a pair of undefeated heavyweights, WBA No. 15-rated Magomed "Mago" Abdusalamov (13-0, 13 KOs) and Jason Pettaway (11-0, 8 KOs), in a 10/12 round fight for the vacant World Boxing Council ("WBC") Silver Championship.
The "Fighting Publicist," Catskills middleweight Kevin Rooney Jr. (3-1, 1 KO), returns in a four-round bout, prior to going back to work for DiBella Entertainment later that night. His father is former pro fighter and Mike Tyson's trainer, Kevin Rooney Sr., and their Irish ancestors are from County Clare.
Kevin Rooney, Jr. & Kevin Rooney
Junior welterweight Danny "Little Mac" McDermott (9-3-2, 4 KOs), whose grandparents lived in Donegal and Foxford, County Mayo, faces Carl "Chi-Town Assassin" McNichols (7-3, 6 KOs) in an eight-round fight.
Dublin-born heavyweight Thomas Hardwick, fighting out of Yonkers, is a bricklayer for Irish-owned H. F. Construction. He spars with Monaghan and another DiBella heavyweight prospect, Tor Hamer. Hardwick meets Blu Delong (0-3) in a four-round bout.
OPBF and Japanese junior middleweight champion Charlie Ota (19-1-1, 13 KOs), presently rated No. 6 by the WBA, fights for the first time outside of Japan, ironically, in the city in which he was born.
Former world title challenger and Ring Magazine No. 7 rated junior lightweight, dangerous Dominican Argenis Mendez (19-2, 10 KOs), will be fighting close to his Brooklyn home in an eight-round bout.