Dave Woodhall reports on the weekend’s boxing action.
There were mixed fortunes for Birmingham’s two best-known boxers over the weekend as Frankie Gavin continued to progress with an impressive defence of his British welterweight title while Matthew Macklin suffered the heartbreak of seeing his third attempt to become a world champion end in crushing defeat.
Gavin gave the best performance of his career by destroying Manchester’s Denton Vassell in seven rounds, in the process also winning the Mancunian boxer’s Commonwealth belt. Frankie was in control from the first bell, breaking down his opponent’s defences with a fearsome range of shots to which the previously unbeaten Vassell had little response.
Gavin’s only moment of concern came when he was backed onto the ropes in the fifth but he came back strongly over the next two rounds and at the end of the seventh a doctor’s inspection led to the fight being called off with Vassell suffering from a suspected broken jaw.
This was Gavin’s second defence of the title he took from veteran Junior Witter last year and although his holding, spoiling style may not impress boxing purists he has shown enough quality in recent bouts to indicate that the domestic problems which threatened his career are behind him. With a 100% winning record after 16 pro fights (12 inside the distance), Gavin is no longer ’just’ the former world amateur champion but a top-flight pro who should be challenging for a world title by the end of 2014.
Sadly, Matthew Macklin’s time at the top may now be over. Previous world title tilts have seen the Irish- Brummie lose a contentious decision to Felix Sturm of Germany and give the formidable Argentinian Sergio Gabriel Martinez a fright, but at the MGM Grand in Connecticut in the early hours of Sunday morning his third attempt to win the WBA middleweight crown ended when he was stopped by Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin midway through round three.
Macklin had hoped to make his superior experience count in the later stages of the fight, with the champion only once having gone as far as the tenth round. However, this is due more to an awesome punching power which had stopped 23 of his previous 26 victims, than a lack of ringcraft and Macklin was soon under fire from a man who has now won all ten of his world title fights inside the distance. A cut opened up underneath Macklin’s right eye during the second round and sensing that he was on borrowed time, the challenger attempted to force the pace in the third. This left him open for some wicked counters from Golovkin and a vicious hook to the body saw the fight being waved off after 1 minutes 22 seconds of round three.
Macklin still has the possibility of a long-heralded domestic clash with Darren Barker but with Barker due to challenge for the IBF title in August this fight would almost certainly have to wait until 2014. The 31 year old veteran may therefore decide that a 34 fight pro career that has seen him take the British and European titles during his 12 years in the paid ranks is enough.