Duddy’s trainer Harry Keitt refused.
“John is no sparring partner. He’s on his way to becoming world champion,” the savvy Keitt retorted ahead of his charge’s ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” clash with Pat Coleman in Chicago this week.
Taylor’s controversial points win over the 40 year-old Hopkins, an hour after Wayne McCullough’s loss to Oscar Larios at the MGM Grand hotel, brought a sly smile to Keitt’s face.
“It’s opened up the door (to the title),” he quipped. “With the performance Jermain Taylor gave it proved that he’s not the heir-apparent (to Hopkins) and he may not keep the title for a long time.”
Keitt said the 160-pound division, in which the 10-0 (9 KOs) Duddy is one of its brightest emerging lights, was now wide open, which should augur well for his Irish prospect.
Duddy, who, at 26 is a year younger than Taylor (24-0, 17 KOs), said he’d be under no pressure to produce another spectacular knockout when he makes his second appearance on national television at the Allstate Arena on Friday.
The Derry fighter’s ESPN2 debut last March was an 83-second blowout of Leonard Pierre but in Coleman, who’s 34 with a 29-11 (20 KOs) ledger, he faces his most experienced and durable foe.
“I’m just going to go out there with the same style and stick to my game plan,” Duddy said.
Also on the Hitz Boxing Promotions show will be Irish-American heavyweight Malachy Farrell (9-0, 7 KOs) who will go up against Giuseppe Kidd (3-0, 2 KOs).
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Like a generation of Irish fighters inspired by the exploits of Wayne McCullough, Duddy was predictably saddened by the manner of the “Pocket Rocket’s” loss to Oscar Larios on the Taylor-Hopkins undercard.
“He’s been a fantastic inspiration to fighters both in Ireland and around the world and this defeat doesn’t diminish his achievements at all,” Duddy said, while acknowledged that it probably marked the end of an era.
ANDY LEE DEBUT
Andy Lee, Ireland’s sole boxing representative at last year’s Olympic Games where he reached the quarterfinals, makes his pro debut in Michigan on August 13.
The 21 year-old middleweight has signed a professional deal with famed trainer Emmanuel Stewart whose Kronk Boxing gym will promote next month’s show at the The Palace in Auburn Hills.
Stewart, who has guided the careers of legends Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya and many others, has high hopes for the 6-feet-2-inch Lee, Ireland’s top amateur the last two years.