Duddy Defeats Campas in Thriller

30.09.06 - By KIRK LANG: The thousands of fans - mostly Irish - that filled the Theater at Madison Square Garden Friday night got their money’s worth when rising star "Ireland's" John Duddy and former junior middleweight champion Luis Ramon "Yory Boy" Campas engaged in a 12-round war that rarely saw a punch not being thrown.

Both men showed a tremendous will to win, but early on, it looked like Duddy, 18-0 (15), may have bitten off more than he could chew against the former IBF junior middleweight champion with nearly 100 fights of professional ring experience on his ledger. However, he would go on to win a 12-round unanimous decision in a fight that was much closer than the scorecards indicated. The three judges had it 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113. Duddy picked up the vacant IBA middleweight championship with his effort.

After a good opening round from Duddy, Campas, 88-9 (72), seemed to deserve most of the next six stanzas. In the second round, Campas opened up a cut under Duddy’s left eye and buckled Duddy with a big right hand near round’s end. Duddy’s knees gave way but his heart kept him upright.

Throughout the fight, both men swapped power punches like trading cards. Duddy came out aggressive for the third, and finished strong in the closing seconds of the frame, but Campas seemed to do the more effective work throughout the three minutes, including landing a beautiful right uppercut with a minute left in the round.

While both men traded shots chest to chest for much of the fight, Campas attacked the body on a regular basis while Duddy only made sporadic visits to Campas’ stomach and ribs. It might have been an easier fight for Duddy had he remembered to go to the body more, because when he did elect to go downstairs, it seemed to have more of an effect on "Yory Boy" than tagging his chin.

While Duddy is known for his power, Campas walked through countless solid connects. In numerous rounds, Duddy was spurred on by Irish football (soccer) chants while Campas had his Mexican fans, including a Mariachi band, rooting for him. Although Campas appeared to win most of the first seven rounds, Duddy always fired right back and made it a highly entertaining affair. Many in press row were wondering if Duddy - who was fighting in his first 12-round bout and had never faced this level of opposition before - would last the distance when Campas was getting the better of him. He looked tired midway through the fight and if one could have made a bet with someone at that point as to who emerge victorious, the smart bet would have been Campas.

However, Duddy showed his heart is bigger than his punch. He began to turn the tide in the eighth round. It was a round Campas appeared to be winning before Duddy hurt him with a big right hand with 15 seconds to go. The 27-year-old with the matinee idol looks continued to fire away as the clock wound down and connected with an impressive straight right-left hook burst just as the bell for the end of the round sounded.

Duddy came out fired up for the ninth and his aggression prompted another Irish football (soccer) chant from the pro-Duddy crowd. Throughout the round, het let loose with rapid-fire combinations, showing more speed than he earlier in the fight. Each offensive burst sent Duddy’s fans into a frenzy. The ninth would prove to be the start of three consecutive good rounds for Duddy.

Soon after the tenth round began, Campas went down as Duddy connected with a shot, but referee Hubert Earl ruled the trip to the canvas a slip rather than a knockdown. Needless to say, Earl did not make any friends with Duddy’s fans. After trading body shots with Campas mid-way through the stanza, Duddy dominated the final minute of the round with his superior hand speed and closed the frame with a huge straight right.

Whereas Campas was the one marching forward for much of the fight, Duddy, at the start of the 11th, was now the one doing the stalking. He ripped off a body-head-body left hook combination and when Campas got a shot in, Duddy returned fire with three big shots to the head.

He continued to look impressive and towards the end of the round, targeted Campas’ body with three consecutive left hooks.
Just before the 12th and final round began, the crowd gave both fighters a standing ovation for the great fight they were witnessing. It appeared that Duddy might finish the fight in impressive fashion. A number of left hooks forced Campas to grab him. Duddy and Campas then traded punches back and forth with Duddy getting the better of his 35-year-old opponent. However, Campas, showing tremendous heart himself, drew up every ounce of energy left in him to dominate the last half of the round with heavy artillery. One straight right in particular sent Duddy a few feet back and into the ropes.

Yory Boy Campas gave me the greatest experience of my life," said Duddy. "I thoroughly enjoyed it." When he and Campas embraced after the fight, top-notch publicist John Cirillo said Duddy told Campas: "You’re a legend.You’re a legend."

In a super middleweight bout, former amateur star "Mean" Joe Greene, of Jamaica Queens, NY, dominated Luis Hodge, 5-2 (3), of Santo Domingo, PR, en route to scoring a sixth-round TKO. Referee Michael Ortega called a halt to the bout at the 1:27 when Greene was firing punches in bunches to both the body and the head as Hodge was against the ropes.

Greene, visited in his dressing room by rap star 50 Cent prior to the bout, hurt Hodge early in the first round and then dropped him with a straight left hand. The southpaw looked calm and poised inside the ring. He never rushed for the knockout and kept a high guard when he wasn’t letting leather fly.

A minute into the second round, he stunned Hodge with a right hook and then immediately followed it up with a hook downstairs. Throughout the bout, Hodge was usually in retreat mode and rarely throwing punches, perhaps hoping his movement and unwillingness to trade would allow him to see the final bell of the scheduled eight-rounder. It didn’t happen. Greene, 12-0 (9), continued applying steady pressure, did a lot of damage to the body in the fifth and sixth rounds, and eventually scored the stoppage.

"He was someone you had to break down over time," said Greene. "He wasn’t going out with one shot. When I started going to the body, he started slowing down."

Julio "Baby Face" Garcia, a mere 19 years old, notched the 38th win of his career with a third-round knockout of Ernesto Zepeda. The official time was 2:41. Despite being dropped in the opening round, it looked like Zepeda, who sports an unimpressive-looking record of 37-11-4 (30), was going to give Garcia a solid test. Zepeda got the better of Garcia in the second stanza with quick-fisted bursts. The third round started off well for Zepeda as well. He was throwing four and five punch combinations as Garcia was showing little in the offensive department.

However, Garcia began showing his firepower in the second half of the round and a body-head left hook combination sent Zepeda to the canvas. Zepeda made it to his feet, but when the action resumed, Garcia continued to fire away. With Zepeda against the ropes, Garcia landed two hooks to the body that caused Zepeda to visit the canvas a third and final time.
Garcia, of Lagos de Moreno, Mexico, raised his record to 38-2 (30) with the victory.

Bald-headed and heavily muscled Yukence Andino, of Rio Piedras, PR, kept his undefeated record intact win a unanimous six-round decision over Carlos Aballe, of Holguin, Cuba. Andino set up his power punches behind a good jab and displayed superior ring generalship. He wobbled Aballe in the final round but couldn’t take him out. Andino is now 7-0 (2) while Aballe dips to 5-3 (3).

"The Pride of Ireland" James Moore kept things short and sweet against Willie Cruz, of Fajardo, PR. Moore scored a second-round TKO at the 2:41 mark. He pounded Cruz to the body in the first stanza, hurting him on numerous occasions, and didn’t let up in the second frame. Just after a multi-punch assault to the head and body, referee Michael Ortega took a point away from Moore, apparently for a low blow. This prompted a chant of "Bull-sh*t, Bull-sh*t," from the Irish fans. The point that was taken away would become immaterial. Later in the round, with 30 second to go, Moore landed two consecutive right hands. A follow-up right stunned Cruz and had him on wobbly legs. Ortega had seen enough and called a halt to the massacre. Moore raised his ledger to 9-0 (7). Cruz falls to 3-7 (2).

Super middleweight Simon O’Donnell, of Galway, Ireland, got the win against Terrance Miller, of Philadelphia, PA, to raise his record to 2-0, but it wasn’t exactly the type of victory he was looking for fighting at Madison Square Garden. O’Donnell won by disqualification when the bout was stopped because of Miller’s refusal to fight. He did more holding and clowning than punching, and kept O’Donnell from putting on a good show.

I feel I’m a better boxer than how I performed," said O’Donnell. "If he wasn’t holding me, it wouldn’t have gone the distance." Miller is now 2-2 after the DQ loss.

Friday night’s card at Madison Square Garden was billed as "Shamrocks and Sombreros" and was presented by Irish Ropes and DRL Promotions (of which ring legend Roberto Duran is a partner).


Article posted on 01.10.2006

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