For nine rounds in the “Erin Go Brawl” main event the Derry middleweight pressured Bonsante, steadily piling up points without any sustained threat from the Minnesota State champion.
Battered and weary, Bonsante was unable to come out for the tenth stanza due to “excessive bleeding and blurred vision” caused by an accidental head butt and the fight went to the score cards.
Duddy won going away on the three judges’ cards. Steve Weisfeld had him sweeping all nine completed rounds by a 90-81 margin; Frank Lombardi saw it 89-82, while Tom Schreck somehow found two rounds to give Bonsante in scoring it 88-83.
It wasn’t that close.
With the 5,000-capacity crowd roaring him on, Duddy pressed the action for most of the contest while Bonsante, dubbed “The Bullet,” proved an elusive and cagey foe, eager to avoid the toe-to-toe exchanges that made Duddy-Campas a Fight of the Year contender. The Derry Destroyer wasn’t surprised.
“That’s the way I thought it was going to be,” Duddy told the Echo after spending St. Patrick’s Day with family and friends. “He was in survival mode from the beginning. I showed on the night that I was bigger and stronger.”
Harry Keitt, Duddy’s trainer, concurred.
“The guy was a survivor. He didn’t come to win, he was here to survive,” asserted Keitt, who saw his charge improve to 19-0 with 15 KOs.
Bonsante (29-9-3, 17 KOs) said his plan was to take Duddy into the tenth round where he’d have presumably stepped it up.
“I sucked it up for a few rounds,” said the 36-year-old, blaming the blood running into his eyes for ending the fight. “Duddy’s a warrior. I’d like to do it again.”
From ringside, though, it seemed as though “Bullet” Bonsante had shot his load in the eighth stanza when he connected with a couple of uppercuts and hooks to no effect.
The desperation was clearly etched on Bonsante’s face once his attack had fizzled out as Duddy, who is 27, resumed the tactical dominance he’d established at the opening bell.
Despite knocking himself for not throwing enough combinations and body shots, the heavy-handed Duddy was still able to pressure and outwork Bonsante behind a steady jab and, straight lefts and rights.
“In the second round I hit him with a couple of good shots — he was durable and took them well,” Duddy observed. “I take my hat off to him. He made it an awkward night for me.”
Both Keitt and assistant trainer Orlando Carrasquillo gave Duddy a B plus for his performance.
“He was doing good in the beginning, but got lackadaisical later in the rounds. Maybe he was trying to impress the crowd,” Keitt pointed out.
Said Carrasquillo: “It was a good fight for John considering that he’d been out for a few months. I’d have liked to have seen a little more body punching.”
At any rate, Duddy stayed on course for what Irish Ropes impresario Eddie McLoughlin hopes will be a world title tilt in the main Garden arena St. Patrick’s Day eve 2008.
McLoughlin will meet this week with the fighter and his manager, Tony McLoughlin, to plan their next fight, with a late May bout in the cards.
McLoughlin confirmed that Washington Heights resident Giovanni Lorenzo (23-0, 15 KOs), a not so overly impressive third round KO winner over Ugandan Robert Kamya in the co-feature, was a possible opponent this year.
Gerry Cooney and Barry McGuigan, working the pay-per-view broadcast of “Erin Go Brawl” had props for Duddy, too.
“He has the heart of a lion, he looked great out there,” said Cooney, the former heavyweight contender.
“He’s a very, very exciting kid who’s knocking on the top ten,” said of the “Clones Cyclone,” seeing himself in Duddy. “He’s got every chance of beating (world champion Jermaine) Taylor given a chance.”
The fastest knockout of the night was scored by debuting welterweight Henry Coyle who flattened Jason Collazo with a hard right 1:34 minutes in the first round.
“I couldn’t have asked for me,” gushed the 24-year-old Chicago-based County Mayo transplant. “I used to dream in Ireland of fighting at the Garden.”
Heavyweight James Clancy, who’s 33, suffered his first professional defeat (9-1, 1 KO) when Brooklyn’s hard hitting Rodney Ray (4-4-1, 4 KOs) came off the canvas in the opening stanza to score a second round KO at 1:30 minutes.
Cruiserweight Mark Clancy (7-0-1, 1 KO), the younger of the Boston-based County Clare brothers, won a four round decision over Andrew Hutchinson (2-9-2).
In other “Erin Go Brawl” action, Bronx bombshell Maureen Shea iced Mexican Eva Lydia Silva (4-7) at 1:06 of the third round to up her record to 10-0 with five KOs.
The sold-out Theater was not short of star power.
Former heavyweight champ “Smoking'” Joe Frazier and his son Mavis; the “Clones Colossus” Kevin McBride, former Ali opponent Jorgen Blink of Germany, Vito Antuofermo, Jake LaMotta and James Moore were among the boxing notables in attendance.
Outside boxing, Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, tennis great John McEnroe, writer Tom Wolfe and Mary Coughlan, Ireland’s minister for agriculture, also took in the action.
“Erin Go Brawl” also included live performances by The Wolfe Tones and Celtic Cross.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo