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MATTHEW Macklin outpointed Uruguay's Rafa Sosa Pintos at the National Stadium in Dublin on Saturday night to retain his European middleweight title.

Macklin, who won his European belt with a first round knockout of Amin Asikainen in September, was handed a wide 99-88 decision from Irish referee Emile Tiedt after having Pintos on the canvas on four occasions.

"It'll do me good to get ten rounds under my belt because my last two wins only took four rounds so that's good for me," said Macklin.

"He was a tough guy and I actually damaged my hand in the second round. He was a good fighter and showed a lot of heart. I think this sets me up for the new year."

Macklin made a patient start, working behind his jab as the Pintos boxed on the back foot and he easily controlled the opening exchanges. The second round took on a similar pattern as Macklin dominated with his jab but then just as the bell sounded he got through with a right hook to the ribs which saw Pintos crumple to the canvas.

He managed to get back to his feet relatively quickly and trudged back to his corner.


Macklin remained on top in the third and then in the fourth moved up a gear as he worked over Pintos with a succession of hooks to body and head. In the last 30 seconds Pintos was visibly wincing from the solid blows to the body and at the bell he looked totally dispirited.

It didn't get any better for the Uruguayan champion when within 20 seconds of the fifth he was on the canvas from a clubbing right hook.

A further left hand to the ribs had Pintos covering up but to his credit he fought back and despite being under pressure made it to the end of the round.

Macklin's dominance continued in the sixth with Pintos offering very little offensively as the 27-year-old European champion worked well to the body and head with his crisp blows, though Pintos did manage to finally get through with a decent right hand.

In the seventh Pintos continued to soak up punishment at close range, though he seemed to be warming to the task and Macklin's work became a little more ragged. Pintos was now absorbing Macklin's best shots with greater resolve even though he never troubled the Birmingham man, whose roots are in Roscommon.

But once more the 29-yearold South American hit the canvas, from a right hand to the body which he complained was low, though referee Tiedt still took up the count.


Macklin drove forward and maintained a steady pressure and a further barrage of blows had Pintos on the deck 40 seconds before the end of the round.

It seemed that a stoppage was only a matter of time but despite looking very weary he made it into the final round.

Macklin continued to press forward, looking for the body shots that had troubled Pintos throughout and to the Uruguayan's credit he fired back with his own combinations, though they had little effect.

Macklin was happy to get the job done but considering the limitations of the Uruguayan, he may reflect that it should have been done inside the ten rounds.


BIG HIT Ricky Hatton was present in Dublin Mathew Macklin had Rafa Sosa Pintos on the canvas on four occasions on Saturday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Dec 7, 2009
Previous Article:NO SIGHT OF SOUND.

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