Irish favourite Matthew Macklin admits his St Patrick's Day shot at middleweight king Sergio Martinez in New York feels like "a fairytale".
The Birmingham-born fighter will take on pound-for-pound superstar Martinez at the legendary Madison Square Garden on March 18 desperate to exorcise the ghosts of last year's controversial defeat by Felix Sturm in Germany.
Macklin was denied victory in his long-awaited title shot when WBA champion Sturm won a split-decision verdict despite being comprehensively out-boxed last summer.
Despite that disappointment, Macklin attempts to go one better when he faces Argentinian Martinez, who has now shunned meaningless 'alphabet' titles but holds the lineal middleweight crown.
The 29-year-old said: "I was very disappointed not to get the decision against Sturm but this is the silver lining.
"Everyone in America saw that and they were way more outraged than we were in England or Ireland. Maybe because they love the aggression side of boxing, which I showed. Most people in America barely had Sturm even winning three rounds.
"Everyone thought I won it, but over here they felt I really dominated him completely.
"It was good to get rewarded with this fight because being at Madison Square Garden, on St Patrick's Day, against Martinez, on HBO, it ticks all the boxes. It's like a fairytale."