Category: Archive

Duddy wins 24th bout hard way

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Duddy remained undefeated despite the worst performance of his 24-fight career. There were no knockdowns.
One judge, Frank Lombardi, scored the punishing 10-rounder a 95-95 draw, while the other two: John McKate and Don Trella had it 98-92 for the Derry Destroyer.
There were boos from sections of the 14,011 crowd, but the sternest indictment came from Pavlik’s promoter Bob Arum who ruled out the third ranked Duddy as an opponent for the WBC and WBO middleweight champion at the Garden on June 7.
“I don’t think Duddy will be ready for June 7,” said the Top Rank president, adding that Team Pavlik would look elsewhere for a challenger with New York-based Dominican Giovanni Lorenzo, ranked second by the WBC, a possibility.
According to Duddy cutman “Big” George Mitchell, his fighter needed 20 stitches to close both cuts.
Arum, however, did not rule out a Duddy-Pavlik fight happening later this year. “Kelly is looking to fight three more times this year — in June, September and November, so Duddy is still in there.”
As he left the post-fight press conference at the Garden, Arum, who’d described Duddy’s performance as “very disappointing,” said to the fighter’s promoter Eddie McLoughlin:
“Tell John they’ll be better days,” and then added: “I’ll send the contract in a couple of weeks.”
McLoughlin confirmed that Duddy’s summer title shot would not happen. “June is off – absolutely,” he said. “It won’t happen right away. John will take two to three months off and then return to the gym.”
McLoughlin called it a “vintage Duddy” performance in that his charge overcame adversity to eke out a win. “He probably lost the first three rounds but turned it around after that,” he said.
What was frightening, though, was the consistent punishment Duddy took from the opening bell. He came out of his corner cold and unable to defend himself from Smichet’s two-fisted attack.
The crowd gasped as the hitherto unknown Smichet, who’d never fought outside Canada before, turned Duddy into a bobble head with snapping left and right hands after weathering an early body attack.
Smichet, 17-3-3 going into the fight, could not miss with his right hand as he threatened to add the wildly popular Irishman to his list of KO victims. But whereas Duddy’s fragile skin would fail him once again, his granite chin would not.
Duddy survived the first stanza – which he lost on all three cards — but returned to his corner with his reddened face looking like he’d just gone ten rounds.
In the second round, Duddy finally remembered how to box and move his head. He also began to land with some frequency even as the squat Smichet continued to connect solidly with three and sometimes four-punch combinations.
A late salvo in the third earned the round for Smichet on two of the three cards. Dangerous as he’d remain, it would be the last stanza he’d win on the Mckate and Trella cards.
By the fourth heat, conditioning was becoming a factor as Duddy stepped up his work rate while the squat Smichet noticeably tired. Even then, he still could not miss Duddy, particularly with the right hand.
“Your man was catching him with three-four punch combinations, which is a no-no,” McLoughlin later observed.
Duddy’s best round was the fifth. He twice hurt Smichet with rights but at the bell, it was the world title contender looking the worse for wear with blood spouting from the cut above the left eye.
Down the stretch, Duddy outworked the tiring Smichet, who still continued to land power shots whenever he could muster the energy. Duddy, however, swept the last three rounds on all three cards with his movement and persistent jab.
CompuBox credited Duddy with landing 296 punches of 851 thrown against 220 connects for Smichet who threw 767.
Said Duddy, now 24-0 (17 KOs) of his performance: “I trained a lot better than I looked in the ring. I think I was rushing because I was back in New York.”
It was his first bout in the Big Apple in nearly ten months – time spent in Ireland where he fought three times.
The French-speaking Smichet (17-4-3, 13 KOs) wasn’t convinced. “I should have knocked him out in the first or second round,” he said. “Look at my face, look at his – you tell me who won.”
At loss to explain Duddy’s labored effort in the ring, McLoughlin said: “He’s only human at the end of the day.”
McLoughlin echoed Arum who was of the opinion that Duddy had the Pavlik fight on his mind. “It looks like he was looking past Walid,” said the Irish Ropes impresario.

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