When Matthew Macklin challenges Felix Sturm for the WBA middleweight title at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany on Saturday night he will take both encouragement and inspiration from his old mate David Haye.
Macklin, 28-2-(19), and Haye have been friends since their amateur days and he knows he will have go into the lions den and take the fight to Sturm just like Haye did when he unified the world cruiserweight titles and claimed the WBA heavyweight crown.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the biggest fight of his life Macklin said: "I actually draw a lot of inspiration from David
"He’s been to Paris to beat Jean-Marc Mormeck, Germany to beat (Nikolai) Valuev and know he’s going back there to face Klitschko. That’s pretty much what I’ve got to do with Sturm, go into the lion’s den as it were.
Macklin added: "Me, Carl Froch and David were, back in 2001, the three amateurs everyone wanted to sign. They both won medals at the World Championships in Belfast, I actually missed them through injury, but had won the ABA’s that year.
"They were a little bit older than me but because of my amateur style, we were put in the same bracket. They of course, turned pro and won their world titles, but I’ve still got plenty of time left."
That said, Macklin is under no illusion as to the task ahead. He knows he’s going to have to be at his very best to defeat Sturm, who has held the WBA crown for four years and nine successful title defences.
"I do think I am going to need the best performance of my career, but I have certainly done my best work in terms of training, I’m on top of my game and I can definitely put my hand on my heart and say I couldn’t have done any more,” insisted Macklin.
"I know I’m not going to freeze on the night and I know I am ready to give 110 per cent - and I truly believe that will be enough."
June 21, 2011