Duddy threw everything including the proverbial kitchen sink at Medina before 51,000 spectators in the massive stadium. The split nod saw the Derry Destroyer continue his dominance over Mexican fighters.
After ten often compelling rounds, judges Mike Mitchell and Charles Phillips both scored the non-title fight 96-93 for Duddy, who upped his record to 29-1 [18 KOs]. Oddly, the third official, Arturo Velasquez, gave Duddy just three rounds and had the 23 year-old Medina winning 96-93.
There were no knockdowns but Medina, whose ledger fell to 22-2-2 [18 KOs], had a point deducted in the eighth stanza for one low blow too many.
Duddy, spotting a small mouse under his left eye at the end of the bout, said it wasn’t easy and gave props to Medina, who could well be the next Mexican superstar.
“It was a tough fight – the kid took a lot of good shots,” he said. “I didn’t feel as sharp as I should have been but I think that I won the fight more than a split decision.”
Trainer Harry Keitt wasn’t surprised at all by the hard night’s work against the resilient Medina.
“I [knew] the guy was a tough guy, so we worked hard for this fight,” he said. “Some spots were kind of lackadaisical for John; he hasn’t been ten rounds a long time. He was in great shape but he hasn’t been the distance in a while.”
Eleven months to be exact – since the split points loss to Billy Lyell at Newark’s Prudential Center last April.
That Duddy would have certainly lost to Medina, nick-named “The Murder Man” in his native Mexico where he’s reigned as champion at 154 pounds. This Duddy, however, is a cut above and still learning new things at age 30. For example, it took three rounds for the quick punching Medina to land a combination on Duddy, indication of the improvement in the Irish favorite’s much maligned defense.
Duddy was also aggressive enough from the opening bell to keep Medina on his back-foot with left hooks and lead rights. He had the first two rounds in the bag before Medina swept the third on the back of his three-punch salvo.
Fireworks exploded in the sixth round when Medina caught Duddy off the ropes again with a three-punch combo. Duddy rallied back, ending his offense with a big right and left hook to the ear that earned him the round on two of the three cards.
There was more back and forth drama in the seventh. Duddy hurt Medina with a left hook then appeared to be wobble after catching a right to the temple from the young Mexican just before the bell.
The punch left no lingering effects as Duddy rocked his man in the eighth and ninth rounds – the latter with a straight right that Medina walked into – before he faded in the final stanza.
“I hurt him a couple of times [but] I never made him pay for it,” Duddy later observed. “”I’m going to be working on that when I get back in the gym, but it’s all good. Everything’s great. Amazing stadium, amazing outcome.”