John Duddy Looks For A Title Shot

By Matthew Hurley: Ireland’s popular middleweight contender John Duddy, who was scheduled to face Noe Tulio Gonzalez Alcoba on the Hunky Dorys Fight Night at the National Stadium on October 20th,will instead fight a late substitute in England’s Prince Arron who has only twelve bouts on his ledger. Alcoba had to withdraw from the fight because of a detached retina. The injury may prove the end of the 28 year olds career..

Duddy, whose crowd pleasing fighting style has made him something of a national treasure in Ireland and a huge draw in his adopted home of New York City has been fighting marginal opponents while making a name for himself. The handsome slugger from Derry is somewhat reminiscent of the “Clones Cyclone” Barry McGuigan in that his charming personality and go for broke style is conducive to the beer and pretzel crowd. Unfortunately, despite his enthusiasm and improving skills, he is still far removed from the elite of the boxing division. His thrilling unanimous decision victory at Madison Square Garden against an over-the-hill Yori Boy Campas in 2006 proved that he’s still riding the learning curve.

But popularity in boxing means everything and now the young fighter, who seems so easy to hit, is slated to fight murderous punching champion Kelly Pavlick in January. The bout isn’t yet signed but should Duddy beat Arron and a fighter yet to be determined in December a world title shot apparently awaits. The fight which is tentatively being scheduled for the 26th of January at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City will be a huge draw. Pavlik drew nearly 5,000 loyal fans from Youngstown, Ohio to Altantic City for his title winning effort against Jermain Taylor this past September. Duddy’s popularity in neighboring New York guarantees a sellout and that’s not even counting the Irish contingent that will fly over from Derry and the surrounding counties.

It will be a raucous evening before the bell rings but one has the feeling that despite his willingness to get in the ring with the best middleweight in the world and his desire to become a world champion John Duddy just isn’t ready for this leap up in competition. He has never faced a fighter as big and talented as Pavlik and certainly not one who hits as hard.

Still, Pavlik’s people are already promoting the bout, as they should because they certainly must view this is a low risk big reward event. And coming after his knockdown drag out war with Taylor they may even view this bout as a breather between a rematch with Taylor or a possible fight with the winner of the Joe Calzaghe – Mikel Kessler super middleweight unification bout.

“It’s going to be crazier than last time (the Taylor fight),” remarked Pavlik’s co-manager Cameron Dunkin. “Atlantic City will be great.”

Duddy is to be commended for his willingness to step into the ring with a new “Pound-for-Pound” entrant and he may prove to be a surprise. Or he may just realize he’s gone as far as his talents will take him and it’s time to roll the dice. Either way he will be a huge underdog if this fight is finalized. No doubt though, the tough kid from Ireland will give everything he has, but will it be even close to enough?

Article posted on 15.10.2007

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