Tuesday, October 30, 2007

John Duddy Versus Kelly Pavlik? Not Yet, Anyway

Middleweight John Duddy racked up another victory in Dublin on October 20. Inasmuch as they’re both middleweights, there has been considerable talk in boxing circles of a matchup with Kelly Pavlik, fresh from his win over Jermain Taylor.

Opinion regarding such a matchup hasn’t been gentle. I’ve lifted a couple of quotes of fight fans who commented in the Google Videos.

“Duddy is tough and exciting but not in Pavlik’s league”….

“Duddy hasn’t beaten anyone with a name, and he probably never will.”

“I like duddy_ but I feel bad for him. Pavlik is gonna’ kill him in the ring probably…”

There were some other less gentle comments, too, and some confusion about weight classes as one passionate Duddy fan argued that his man would “…kill Judah, Cotto, and Mayweather…etc.”….. That touched off a flaming internet hissy fit and the offender was verbally battered to the ropes by more savvy boxing aficionados.

Back in the world, boxing is a business and Duddy’s business managers are Eddie Loughlin of Queens, NY and Brian Peters, the promoter. It won’t be any time soon they’ll risk their guy against Pavlik. Pavlik has a rematch clause with Taylor at 168 pounds, for one thing. Another factor concerns the business interests of John Duddy and the people who support him. Loughlin and Peters understandably wish to build up fan interest among the wildly passionate Irish in Duddy’s home country as well as in the U.S. That’s the reason they’re trying to put him into another match outside the U.S., this time in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for December 8. The strangeness of that date is that the rest of the world will be watching the Floyd Mayweather- Ricky Hatton bout scheduled for the same date. Perhaps that’s not so weird considering the enflamed passions of Northern Ireland where the Duddy name is well-known. Duddy’s uncle (also named John Duddy) was a victim of the infamous Bloody Sunday shootings in which he, among 17 others, were shot to death by British paratroopers.

Duddy’s got an appealing personality and a throwback style that appeals to many fans, myself included. American trainers have been working on brushing up his defense, as Duddy tends to get hit more than he should if he expects to last.

My own interest in Duddy is piqued from talking to him a bit when he visited the Jesse Harris Boxing Gym about a year ago, along with the undefeated James Moore. Duddy gets great leverage on his punches if the opponent is inclined to stand in front of him. The humble, self-deprecating style is amusing as he runs through a litany of boxers and trainers whom he admires. Duddy enjoys the support of his fans while keeping in check the neon-flashing ambitions of rising to the top of the world’s middleweight division.

His managers and trainers are wise to work on the defense and to build up the gate by a date in Northern Ireland before sending him into the ring with the bigger and taller Kelly Pavlik.

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