Duddy (10-9 KOs) returns just over a month after a superb Madison Square Garden win over Patrick Thompson left one of boxing’s biggest promoters scrambling for his signature.
Team Duddy sat down with Top Rank chief Bob Arum, the man behind the Derry Destroyer’s Garden debut, after the eight-round shutout of Thompson. A week later, the flamboyant Don King flew Duddy, handlers Tony and Eddie McLoughlin, and match-maker Jim Borzell to his palatial Florida residence for talks.
King offered the wildly popular Irish prospect a promotional deal that included a $200,000 signing bonus spread over two years.
“We thanked him very much for the offer and were courteous towards him but told him that we’d get back to him,” said Eddie. “We’ve also talked to Bob Arum, Carl Moretti (Main Events) and Cedric Kushner.”
And that’s not including Luis DeCubas of “Team Freedom,” a promotional outfit out of Florida that made its name by working with Cuban defectors such as Wayne McCullough’s 1992 Olympic Games gold medal conqueror Joel Casamayor.
According to McLoughlin, they’ll maintain Duddy’s free agent status until the end of the year, after which they’ll either sign with one of their suitors or opt to promote the fighter themselves. McLoughlin also has a promoter’s license.
“It was a fantastic experience,” Duddy said of the one-day jaunt to King’s Florida estate in the Everglades. “He’s flamboyant, I couldn’t get over him. Love him or hate him, he’s a legend in boxing.”
Flattered as he may be by the attention he’s getting from the industry’s power brokers, Duddy is unlikely to lose focus on his mission anytime soon.
“It’s a nice feeling,” he conceded. “But at the end, as long as I keep on winning, I’ll be ok.”
He’ll be gunning for his 11th-straight win in the pro ranks against Coleman, a 29-11 (20 KOs) veteran who turned pro when Duddy was only 14 years old.
Coleman is now 34, eight years older than his opponent, and on a three-fight losing streak going back to March 2003. However, no one in Team Duddy is underrating the Illinois native.
“John is moving up,” McLoughlin pointed out. “He’s never fought anybody with that experience. Coleman has fought such names as Saoul Mamby, James McGirt and Derrell Coley.”
Matchmaker Jim Borzell described Coleman as “a good, durable journeyman.”
Duddy said he was in great shape and looking forward to the bout. “There’s a good Irish community in Chicago and I’m hoping to spread my (reputation) a bit there.”
Duddy-Coleman will be held at the Allstate arena. For ticket information, call Hitz Boxing at (312) 505-4489.
Arklow native James Moore is scheduled back in the country this week to join Duddy, a frequent roommate during their amateur days, in McLoughlin’s Irish Ropes stables in Far Rockaway, Queens.
The 27 year-old sparred with Duddy ahead of the Coleman fight but returned home for his sports visa interview. He’ll make his pro debut on Lou DiBella show at the Manhattan Center on August 4.
“We’re very excited to have James on board. He’s one of the most sought after amateurs in Ireland,” said McLoughlin.
Moore won two All-Irish senior titles in an amateur career spanning over 300 fights. He worked out with Duddy’s trainer Harry Keitt earlier this year, while weighing his professional options.
Matt Macklin, the Irish middleweight champion, is also scheduled to make his U.S. debut on August 4, on an HBO Latino Boxing Series card hosted by Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City.
Macklin, who spent two weeks in Philadelphia last month, returns to set up shop near the city of Brotherly Love next Wednesday, handler Tom Moran confirmed.
“I’ve been over to Philadelphia to train before and loved it,” said Macklin. “It’s probably the best city in the world to develop your skills as a boxer. That’s why I decided to come here.”
The 23 year-old from Ballingarry, Tipperary, said he wanted to build an Irish following in the United States on the same lines as Duddy.
“We’ve already got three or four fights scheduled for this fall. I just gotta win them one at a time and build up that Irish following. The Irish in Philly and New Jersey need somebody of their own to support. And I’d love to have some of John Duddy’s people as well. Hopefully they’ll come out and see me,” he added.
Despite relocating States-side, Macklin will still be trained by Manchester’s Billy Graham who recently guided the young Irishman’s friend and stablemate Ricky Hatton to the world light welterweight title. He will be promoted by “Dream on Worldwide,” a venture by promoter Russell Peltz, junior middleweight world champion Kassim Ouma and Moran.
For ticket information on the August 4th Borgata show, contact Peltz Promotions at (215) 765-0922.