John Duddy walked away from the Alamo Dome in San Antonio knowing he had given his best and it simply wasn’t good enough against the sharp-shooting Julio Cesar Chavez jnr.
While the gritty Ulsterman rocked Chavez in the third and sixth rounds of their WBC World title eliminator before 20,000 screaming Mexicans, he was largely outboxed — particularly in the second half of their 12-rounder which left both men with the bruises of battle.
One judge Juergen Langos ridiculously gave every round to Chavez, 120-108, while the other two Julie Lederman and Glen Rick Crocker had it 117-111 and 116-112 respectively.
Duddy’s tenacity can never be doubted and he forced Chavez to produce the best performance of his career and he is now being lined up for a showdown with WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
Duddy knew that he had moments which could have turned the fight his way, particularly in the first half of the fight.
“I knew that I hurt him in the sixth round. Unfortunately, I wasn't good enough to finish him off. He had good pressure, and he hits solidly with both hands,” he said.
“I thought that it was a very good fight. I came here and I tried to do what I thought that I could do. I wish that I could have gone better.
“In the third round I rocked him with a good right and he battled back. That’s the sign of a good fighter.”
While Duddy was potent on the front foot, as so often his defence was wide open and Chavez made him pay — slamming home right hands on a regular basis.
Chavez, now trained by the great Freddie Roach, had a clear game plan which to a large extent worked out as he denied Duddy the opportunity to get up close and unload his short hooks.
Speaking of the sixth round, Chavez said: “He did hit me pretty good. I did feel that punch. But that shows that I can also take a punch. I think that he's a very strong guy and he definitely caught me. The first three rounds were feeling out rounds. We wanted to see what he had. Once I felt sure that I could handle him, I went right after him and I pressured him.”
While Duddy will wonder where he goes from here, he could worse than return home to box for the British or European middleweight title.
Bob Arum, the promoter of the show, knows he can use popular ticket seller Duddy again and has mooted a possible fight with former WBC light-middleweight champion Yuri Foreman but a base on the Emerald Isle would probably have more long term benefits.