In Mackie, who’d been fighting professionally for a decade when Duddy joined the paid ranks two years ago, the Queens-based Derryman faces another intriguing test as this breakout year for him winds down.
“He’s not a soft touch. He has more fights than me. I’m going to need all my experience. It’s going to be a really exciting fight,” Duddy (12-0, 11 KOs), said on Sunday.
Team Duddy have studied tapes of Mackie, a 31-year-old out of Orangeville, Ont., who’s on a three-fight winning streak, and are aware of the challenge he’ll pose at the Hammerstein Ballroom.
“He’s a very tough, durable opponent,” Duddy concluded.
“He’s a credible opponent and knows his way around the ring,” said Irish Ropes boss Eddie McLoughlin, while trainer Harry Keitt pointed at Mackie’s 36-fight ledger.
“He’s got 25 wins, 11 losses and eight knockouts, so he’s got experience and been around the block a couple of times,” Keitt added.
Still, Keitt expects both Duddy and light middleweight James Moore, who takes on Swede Manji Conteh, to prevail. The two fighters are in tremendous shape after a great training camp.
“Training’s doing good and they’re more than ready,” Keitt declared.
Duddy will get his first glimpse of Mackie today at a Midtown press luncheon at O’Casey’s Restaurant where the fare will include shepherd’s pie, corned beef and a “Duddy” burger.
The legendary Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran, whose undefeated welterweight prospect Richard Gutierrez appears in Friday’s co-feature, will also attend the noon luncheon.
MASTER vs. EX-PUPIL
Keitt expects few surprises when he sends out James Moore against Manji Conteh in a scheduled six-rounder. That’s because the savvy Brooklyn trainer was Conteh’s first coach.
“I used to train him when he first came here from Sweden about two years ago. Then I turned him over to Bob Jackson.
Keitt believes he has Conteh pegged, which would be a major tactical advantage for the hard-hitting Moore 3-0 (2 KOs).
“He does things religiously like he loads up and telegraphs his punches. But the guy will be in shape. He’s always in shape,” Keitt said.
The Hammerstein Ballroom is located at Eighth Avenue and 34th Street. For ticket Information, call Martin McLoughlin at (917) 682-6525, Mark (917) 660-8353, or the Irish Ropes Gym at (718) 318-5145.
Playing down continued speculation in some quarters that he’s on a collision course with Duddy, Irish middleweight title holder Matt Macklin will get a first hand view of the middleweight sensation’s destructive power at the Hammerstein Ballroom.
“I’ll be at John’s fight next Friday. I’ve never met John and I’m looking forward to seeing him,” said Macklin, after disposing of Anthony Little in two heats in Philadelphia last Friday.
Asked what he’ll say to the classy Duddy, Macklin replied: “I’ll say ‘hello.’ I’m not into trash talking or anything. He’s a good fighter to watch. He’s my kind of fighter.”
Macklin wished Duddy well in his career and backed away from a clash between the two that Dublin impresario Brian Peters is pushing for on St. Patrick’s Day next year at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
He said if they do square off in the ring it would be later rather than sooner.
“I think if the fight happens it will be somewhere down the line,” remarked Macklin.
“It’s only natural if he keeps on winning and I keep on winning. He’s a middleweight; I’m a middleweight. He’s Irish; I’m Irish,” he added.