The Cream of the Crop: The New Irish Murderer's Row
|With the bitterly cold days of February behind us, we look forward to the hopefully warmer days of March, and ultimately spring. But before the spring season is upon us we must get through the St. Patrick's Day festivities. Boxing fans around the globe can rejoice that now there is a new talented crop of prospects that come from the shores of Ireland. The man leading this|
Irish charge through the boxing ranks is star middleweight prospect John Duddy, 15-0 (13). Duddy is coming off a unanimous decision over Julio Jean on February 4th in Boston, his fifteenth straight pro win.
Now Duddy is headlining the "Shamrock Express" at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick's Day eve. "Amazing", Duddy commented when asked about his thoughts on headlining a fight at the hallowed New York arena. "I am a believer that things happen for a reason, I feel like a kid, but I still have a long way to go yet," he said.
It is truly refreshing to hear a prospect on the verge of becoming a star being so humble. Maybe it is possible that Duddy has heard some of his critics say that "he gets hit too much" or "he needs a big time promoter to guide him to the championship level." But to answer his critics, Duddy simply acknowledges that "I am by no means where I want to be." Duddy also went on to squash the rumors that he has had offers from big time promoters. "Its all talk; why should I jeopardize my future when I am very happy with the McLoughlin Brothers?"
Duddy is also famous for not looking too far ahead in his young career. When asked about the plan for Yori Boy Campas being a future opponent Duddy replied, "Its not my plan, but he would be a credible opponent. Campas has more fights than myself, he's a legend." So what is Duddy's plan for 2006? "As long as I am healthy, I am happy," says the Irishman.
But 2006 does seem to be the year of the return of the Irish fighter. Sharing the bill with Duddy on the "Shamrock Express" bill is Irish Middleweight Champion Matt Macklin and Duddy's Irish Ropes Gym stable mate, James Moore. Macklin has already built up an impressive record of 16-1 and is now locating himself out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On March 16th, Macklin is scheduled to take on former Duddy victim Pat Coleman, who Duddy knocked out in the eighth round back in July. Macklin is also a possible future opponent for Duddy and you could bet that if Macklin stops Coleman earlier than Duddy, the Macklin camp will be boasting.
James Moore, who hails from Ireland, is ready to start 2006 off with a win. The light middleweight has already put up four straight wins, two of which have come by way of knockout. Moore has just overcome a rib injury from his last fight which took place in November. Now having just been granted a work visa for the US on March 16th Moore will be facing Jose Felix, who is bringing a record of 9-2-2 with him to New York.
Bernard Dunne is another talented Irish fighter who started his career out in the United States but now has been mainly fighting in Ireland. Dunne's record stands at an impressive 19-0 (12). Dunne is now certainly looking for bigger fights to catapult him into the mix as a top contender in the super bantamweight division.
Another bright prospect coming out of Cavan, Ireland is Andy Murray. Murray has already got the stamp of approval from former featherweight champion of the world "The Clones Cyclone", Barry McGuigan. McGuigan has stated that "â€¦ (Murray) is going to go a long way as a professional." Based on his solid amateur career, the lightweight was voted the best prospect from Ireland in 2005. Murray has also rolled up four straight wins and I’m sure boxing fans in America are hoping Murray makes a stop stateside in the near future.
From Limerick, Ireland hails another Irish prospect, Andy Lee. Lee has just hooked up with world champion trainer Emanuel Steward and has now been training at the famous Kronk Gym for months. If you were watching closely on the February 3rd broadcast of Friday Night Fights on ESPN2, Lee was the one in the ring with Manny Steward throwing combos at the target mitts during the profile on the Kronk Gym. Lee will be making his pro debut by headlining as the main event in the Joe Louis Arena on March 10th. The last fighter to train under Emmanuel Steward to headline is his pro debut? Tommy Hearns.
"They're the cream of the crop from Ireland," Duddy remarked when asked about his fellow countrymen turned boxing prospects. Duddy went on to say, "America is the place to be right now, its the logical move to come here, its too hard to be a star back home."
But a star is what Duddy is fast becoming and he looks to prove it come March 16th. On the heals of his last fight, which went to a unanimous decision, Duddy wanted to assure his fans that "By no means am I going soft; on March 16th, you can expect the same John Duddy â€“ all action. Its going to be a victory, but I am not taking my opponent lightly, I’m ready. My opponent, Shelby Pudwill, came up to me and said that he is 110 percent ready for me; I just told him that he was going to need all that 110 percent."
In closing, Duddy wanted to thank all his fans in Boston who came out to see him in his last fight and to all his fans that are coming out to watch him on March 16th in New York. But it is we who should be thanking John Duddy for his truly exciting fighting style in the ring and the class he exudes for himself and the sport of boxing outside the ring.
Saddoboxing.com wishes to thank John Scully and Bob Treiger for helping to make this article possible.