Category: Archive

Duddy puts on a show for ESPN

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

For seven and half rounds, the hard punching Duddy threw everything but the proverbial kitchen sink against Coleman in the ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” co-feature at the AllState Arena in Rosemont, Ill.
A double left hook in the third stanza staggered Coleman, and although his left glove touched the canvas, referee Gerald Scott did not call it a knock down as the rules stipulate. Two straight rights also wobbled the 34-year-old in the seventh.
But it wasn’t until Duddy, who was 11 when Coleman turned pro in 1990, heeded trainer Harry Keitt’s advise to relax and revert to his old amateur boxing style in the eighth and final stanza that the one-side assault came to an explosive end.
With his back to the ropes and Coleman battered but still game, the Derry native unleashed a textbook left-right combination to the chin 40 seconds before the final bell.
Coleman, who’d only been stopped once before in 42 fights, crashed flat on his back. Referee Scott waved the fight over without a count, as Duddy pointed a glove of acknowledgement at Keitt in his corner.
“Harry said ‘go out and box like you were in the amateurs. Go on your toes and take him out,'” Duddy, who improved to 11-0 (10 KOs), recounted on his return to New York.
Ironically, the killer combination came just when the Duddy, an 83-second KO winner over Lenord Pierre in his ESPN debut last March, had given up on halting Coleman.
“It was the first time in the fight that I relaxed and stopped thinking of knocking him out,” he admitted.
Said Keitt: “John was trying to too hard. When you try too hard, you are tight and your best doesn’t come out.”
The savvy trainer gave the now 29-12 Coleman kudos for toughness, even though he was coming off an 18-month layoff induced by drug and other legal problems.
“The guy was tough a durable, durable, guy. Matter of fact, he was tougher than Patrick Thompson,” he noted, alluding to Duddy’s previous opponent and the only man thus far to take his charge the distance.
In addition, Coleman came in with a reputation as a puncher, having scored 20 KOs in his 29 wins. He’d also faced three men who were past or future world champs, two of whom — Jose Antonio Rivera and Saoul Mamby — he beat. He lost to the third, James “Buddy” McGirt.
Duddy confessed that he was winded at the end and attributed the fatigue to both his high punch output and his intense focus on ending the match early.
“I was throwing a lot of punches,” he remarked, a fact borne out by ESPN punch stats that showed him connecting on 166 power punches (any punch other than a jab) against 70 by Coleman through the first seven rounds.
Eddie McLoughlin, one of Duddy’s handlers, said the Queens-based fighter had passed a litmus test with flying colors.
“It was a step up,” he added, while echoing the refrain about Coleman’s durability.

ESPN guest analyst Pernell “Sweetpea” Whitaker’s critique of his style flattered Duddy during the Coleman bout.
“Unbelievable!” Duddy exclaimed. “I told my dad and he couldn’t believe it.”
Whitaker, a world champion in four divisions during his illustrious career, called Duddy an excellent body puncher with good potential.
“He’s got great short punching range. If he can develop a left jab, he would be a complete fighter,” he added, after pointing out that the middleweight sensation ought to work on his defensive posture, as well by bending low and moving side to side.

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