Jim Watt says Matthew Macklin's skills-and-thrills approach mean he is destined for the world stage.
Last Updated: 17/09/10 9:24am
It's a pity Matthew Macklin's fight with Darren Barker is not happening, because it's the one we all wanted to see.
But this is still a great chance for him to get that European title back and with it, recognition on the world stage, especially from the WBC.
If he can beat Shalva Jomardashvili you'd have to think.
For a start he will become European champion and because his style is so exciting, you would imagine it will be easy for him to take a step up and get some much higher-profile fights. People will always want him on their bill, simply because of that.
Also you have to applaud the fact that he's taken himself off to the States to train with Freddie Roach. That is a great move, both inside and outside the ring.
My one concern with Matthew was always the way he lived his life outside the ring. He's good mates with Ricky Hatton and I do think at times he lived life to the full between fights - and that is never good for a fighter coming up through the ranks.
By taking himself off to the Wild Card, he will have brought that to an end; Freddie will instil professionalism and preparation into him and although it was only at the start of the year he made the move, he is now giving the sport his full attention. I am sure he is seeing the benefits already.
What's more he will get excellent sparring out there with Freddie, the best in the world - just ask Amir Khan what those sessions are like at the Wild Card and what they have done for him.
I can't imagine for a minute Roach is going to complete re-invent Macklin, so we should always look forward to his fights because you know they are going to be exciting. We all remember the fight with his good mate Jamie Moore a while back when he lost a brutal encounter and we wondered whether that was it for him.
A fight like that can have one of two effects on a fighter: it leave him knowing he can go into the trenches, dig deep and still be in there fighting, or leave him thinking 'I'm not doing that again'! Thankfully the former applies to Matthew and he still has that spirit, enthusiasm and drive.
I do expect him to beat Jomardashvili, although the Georgian looks a bit of a tough nut. He gave Martin Murray a real run for his money and although you have to say Macklin is far classier and this is over the full championship distance, I have the feeling he will not tire easily.
From what I have seen he looks solid, not exceptional in any department. I am expecting Macklin - who has sold plenty of tickets for this - to look good and put on a show on his way to a stoppage. And then it's all about making an impact in America.
He is ready for a rated American, or a big name in the top 10; there has been plenty of talk about a fight with John Duddy. Duddy is not the fighter some people thought he was going to be, but he is big box office over in New York and would represent a great chance for Matthew to make a name for himself in the States.