Matthew Macklin reckons he is better than Darren Barker and Martin Murray
Matthew Macklin says he is the best middleweight in Britain - and gunning for a world title opportunity.
Last Updated: 08/03/13 8:31am
The 30-year-old is sandwiched between first-placed Murray and third-placed Barker in the domestic rankings.
But he says the big names on his record, added to the adaptability he has shown in the ring, makes him the best Brit in his division.
"I think Martin and Darren are good fighters and have proven themselves but I think I have boxed at a higher level for longer than those two," Macklin explained over the phone from Marbella, while Murray and Barker listened intently in the Ringside studio.
"Look at my record - I have had fights against Jamie Moore; Wayne Elcock; Amin Asikainen; Joachim Alcine, who I knocked out in one round; and even Geard Ajetovic, who no-one wanted to face.
"Against Felix Sturm I showed a high-tempo, aggressive style of fighting using body shots and uppercuts, while against Sergio Martinez, I showed I am versatile and a complete fighter who could feint and pick his punches.
"And I gave him his toughest fight since he won his (WBC middleweight) title off Kelly Pavlik."
Macklin lost to Martinez inside Madison Square Garden in March of 2012 and revealed he hopes to be back inside the New York venue for a world title dust-up later this year.
"I had a nose operation just before Christmas, but I am back in training now and am looking for a big world title fight in May - hopefully against (IBF middleweight champion) Daniel Geale in Madison Square Garden," said Macklin, whose record stands at 29-4.
"But if not Geale, then one of the other champions; I have big momentum in America - my last two fights have been there - and HBO said, outside of the champions, I am the leading middleweight contender."
Murray, meanwhile, will follow in the footsteps of Macklin and Barker by locking horns with Argentine middleweight king Martinez in Buenos Aries in April.
Murray told Adam Smith and Johnny Nelson that that he was "nervous" but "confident of beating" the 36-year old, and while Macklin thinks Martinez will defeat the St Helens-born puncher, he refused to completely rule out his British adversary's chances.
"Sergio is the best middleweight in the world," added Macklin. "He looked brilliant against (Julio Cesar) Chavez (in September) and despite breaking his hand in the fourth round, he never lost a round.
"He is a very big favourite as he is awkward, slick and hard to nail- but maybe will get old overnight and Martin will get him at the right time."
Click here to watch Ringside Extra, where Murray and Barker give their thoughts on Macklin, as well as Carl Frampton and Kell Brook.