- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Middleweight contender Matthew Macklin returned to his winning ways on Dec. 7 by scoring a clear 10-round decision against previously undefeated Lamar Russ and now wants a rematch (one he deserves) with titleholder Felix Sturm.
Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs) beat Russ to rebound from a knockout loss in a title fight to Gennady Golovkin in June and has his eye on Sturm, with whom he has unfinished business. In 2011, Macklin, an Irishman from England, went to Sturm’s native Germany and appeared to handily beat him only to lose by split decision in one of the worst decisions of the year.
Sturm would later lose his title, but he won a 160-pound belt for the fourth time on Dec. 7 in Germany by stopping Darren Barker, who was hampered by a hip injury, in the second round. Sturm (39-3-2, 18 KOs) owes Barker a contractually obligated rematch, but Barker may have to retire because of the injury. If he does, Macklin wants the next shot.
"I punched Felix around the ring for 12 rounds in our fight in 2011, only to be robbed in what was described by many as one of the worst, if not the worst, decisions they have ever seen -- 78 percent of German viewers voting online had me winning the fight,” Macklin said. “German TV had me winning the fight by four rounds.
“He knows that I beat him and the boxing world knows that I beat him. He has done well to win back the world title for a record fourth time for a German fighter, so for that I congratulate him. But he knows that we have unfinished business and if he's a real man then he will give me a rematch like he promised. Actually, if he's a real man then he should want the rematch for himself.”
Lou DiBella, Macklin’s promoter, hopes to put the fight together, even though one of his other clients, middleweight contender Andy Lee, is calling out Macklin.
"Matthew was deprived of a world title belt the first time that they fought in their great but controversial battle in 2011," DiBella said. "Sturm is a proud champion and I am confident that he will give Matthew his much deserved rematch."
In the 2011 fight, CompuBox had Macklin averaging 92 punches thrown per round, doubling Sturm's output. Macklin also landed 127 more punches and outlanded Sturm in 11 of the 12 rounds.