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Boxing Roundup: Duddy survives 5-round trial

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Dunnings, an ex-U.S. amateur standout from Cleveland, came into the ring with a 3-0 (2 KOs) record and oozing talent. Light on his feet and quick with his hands, the 20-year-old gave Duddy fits in the first round, and for a while it looked like it would be a long night for the Derry native.
His head was snapped back a couple of times by Dunnings’s pesky left hand and the latter’s lateral movements made it impossible for Duddy, who’s 25, to land more than one shot at a time.
But Duddy, who’d never had to chase any of his opponents while compiling a 6-0 (6 KO) ledger, switched to boxer-puncher mode and began to cut off the ring.
With Dunnings’s head an elusive target, Duddy varied his attack, alternatively digging hooks to the body and switching upstairs whenever he caught his cocky foe on the ropes.
The tactic worked. From the second stanza — a big one for the relentless Duddy — Dunnings’s lateral movements began to slow as he absorbed solid shots to the ribs and the head whenever he was cornered.
He proved adept at fighting going backward, countering with a quick left and not-so-potent right jab. Duddy, however, remained incredibly focused for a man accustomed to ending his fights early.
In the fourth round, referee Joe Cusano docked Duddy a point for hitting Dunnings on the back of the head — this after the corn-rowed southpaw had spat out his gum shield and turned his back on the Irishman.
Still, Duddy ensured that he didn’t lose the round by trapping the tiring youngster on the ropes and rocking him with hooks. It was clear at the bell that Dunnings was ready for the taking.
Indeed, Duddy closed the show at 1:29 minutes of the fifth stanza when he pinned Dunnings on the ropes and unleashed a five-punch combination to keep his KO streak going.
Right uppercut, right hook, left hook, right hook, left hook, went the barrage to the head. After the last punch, Dunnings collapsed to the canvas, and although he beat the 10-count, referee Cusano deemed him to be in no shape to continue and waved it off without a whimper of protest from the fighter.
“I’m really glad that I got through this,” Duddy, slight markings under both eyes, said. “It was an enjoyable fight and long overdue for the fans. I’m glad I had it.”
He praised Dunnings as a very good fighter “fast, slick and southpaw,” and said that Ohio resident had given him his first real test as a professional.
“It was the first time I was really aware that I was in a fight,” Duddy said.
Head trainer Harry Keith agreed. “That was his first fight,” he said. “The guy [Dunnings] came to fight, too. He was undefeated and wanted to win.”
Keith gave Duddy high marks for his performance.
“It showed me a lot of things like what he’s like and what he can do,” he said. “I definitely liked what I saw. He showed his boxing skills.”
Co-trainer Karl LeShore said Duddy had proved that he’s more than a one-round fighter.
“What people must realize is that he’s primarily a boxer,” LaShore said. “He put up a good performance, did a real thorough professional job and got some rounds in. I’m absolutely happy.”
Not surprisingly, there was belated regret in Dunnings’s camp for taking the fight.
Eddie McLoughlin, Duddy’s co-manager, said Dunnings’s cornermen told him that if they’d known his charge was that good, they’d never have signed to fight him.
Dunnings himself offered the ultimate compliment to Duddy in the ring after the bout.
“I was trying to do the Ali-Frazier thing,” he said. “I thought I’d blow you away after three rounds. If I’d known you were this tough, I wouldn’t have fought you.”
According to McLoughlin, Duddy will stay in the gym during the holiday period and probably fight again in January.
Duddy has, meanwhile, been approached to spar with undisputed world middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins in Philadelphia later this month.

Trainer Jim McDonnell saw his top charge, Danny Williams, fail in his attempt to win the World Boxing Council heavyweight crown from Ukrainian giant Vitali Klitscko in Las Vegas last Saturday.
Williams was stopped in the eighth round.
McDonnell, who was born in London of County Mayo parents, is the man who forced Barry McGuigan into retirement in 1988. He scored a fourth-round TKO over the former world featherweight titlist from Clones.

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