“It’s all good – all positive,” an upbeat Duddy told the Echo two days after a ten round split points loss to Lyell at the Prudential Center last Friday dropped his record to 26-1 [17 KOs] and put a wrench in his world middleweight title ambitions.
The lively, albeit light-hitting Lyell [now 19-7, 3 KOs] outworked Duddy 97- 93 and 98-92, according to judges Thomas Kaczmarek and John Stewart, respectively. A third official, Lawrence Layton, had Duddy winning 96-94.
Duddy, ranked number two in the world by the WBO and fourth by the WBC going into the bout, had no qualms with the outcome.
“I’ll take my knocks and I’ll take my bruises and move on,” he said.
“I’d have loved to have that one on Friday but it’s only made me more hungry [to succeed]. I’m certainly disappointed but at the end of the day I won’t feel sorry for myself. I’ll study the loss and come back stronger,” he added.
The Derry Destroyer, hardly at his vintage best on the night, hinted at a measure of relief at finally tasting defeat.
“It’s out of the way, the undefeated [record]. I’m just looking forward to relaxing mentally and physically and returning to training in June and maybe fighting in July or August,” Duddy said.
He’s scheduled to fly home to Ireland today. In Miami, trainer Pat Burns said Duddy, who needed nine stitches to close a cut above his left eye, would report for training there on June 1.
On what went wrong at the Prudential Center, Duddy said he had an off-night.
“I just don’t think I was operating on all cylinders,” he observed. “I wasn’t myself for some reason. An off-night…an off-performance.”
Burns said his charge “didn’t fight the smartest fight,” adding: “When he jabbed and used angles, he dominated. When he slugged, he didn’t. He made an easy fight too hard.”
Said Lyell: “The strategy was to fight hard.”
The Ohioan, who shares trainer Jack Loew with WBC-WBO middleweight titlist and hitherto Duddy target Kelly Pavlik, made that point clear from the first round when he came out fast.
Duddy initially did well to control his man in the first stanza, using the jab and hook to keep him honest and when Lyell landed, countering him well. But Lyell’s overall aggression and the three quick punches he connected at the end undoubtedly earned him the round on all three cards.
The judges had Duddy losing the second heat as well after he ate several rights that had the arena gasping.
After four rounds, Kaczmarek and Stewart had the busier Lyell ahead four rounds to nothing, with Layton giving Duddy only the third – a round in which he was cut by a punch.
At any rate, Duddy came back strong in the fifth stanza, probably his best of the night. He turned Lyell into a pi