Belfast Telegraph

Duddy’s moment of truth

By David Kelly

There is something about taking on Mexicans that seems to bring out the best in John Duddy and he hopes that trend will continue tomorrow night.

The Alamo Dome in San Antonio is the exciting stage for the biggest fight of Duddy’s career when he tangles with hot prospect Julio Cesar Chavez jnr with the WBC’s silver belt and a world title shot on the line.

Few Irish fighters have topped a bill with a crowd of around 20,000 in attendance. When Eamonn Magee fought Ricky Hatton there was around 18,000 in the MEN Arena and before that Barry McGuigan’s showdown with Eusebio Pedroza drew around 25,000 at Loftus Road in 1985.

Now the Derry man enters the lion’s den against Chavez knowing he is going to need the performance of his career to overcome the 24 year old.

Last time out he outpointed Michael Medina and before that came through a war with another Mexican, former world champion Yory Boy Campas. That was the night a bloody and bruised Duddy truly believed he had what it took to go to the top.

“I remember when I got cracked in the second round against Campas and I said to myself this is great I’m in a real fight and what a fight it was. I showed what I have that night,” said Duddy.

“And then I had the Howard Eastman fight as well and on both nights I rose to the occasion.

“Now we’ll see if Chavez can do the same.

“This is a big stage, it’s the type of fight that I have always wanted. All the pressure is on him, all the eyes are on him. I’m behind on the scorecards before it starts but as long as I have my destiny in my two hands I’m happy because I’m going to kick his ass.

“He’s going to be asked a lot of questions that haven’t been asked before. I’ve done around 70 rounds of sparring, four minute rounds and 30 seconds break which has been fantastic because when you get back to doing three minutes you think, ‘wow that was short!’”

Duddy, who lives in New York, will also have the opportunity to show the American nation that he is the real deal as the clash will be broadcast on HBO, boxing’s number one paymaster.

Since his defeat to Billy Lyell last year, many have doubted whether or not Duddy could force himself back into world title contention.

Gradually, he has found his form again and manager Craig Hamilton has negotiated him a golden opportunity against Chavez who has campaigned mainly as a light-middleweight.

He has seemingly outgrown the 154lb division and having hooked up with coach Freddie Roach has the belief that he will be the latest in a long line of the trainer’s World champions.

While it was expected that WBC champion Sergio Martinez would vacate the title, promoter Bob Arum has this week indicated that the winner of Duddy-Chavez will face Martinez rather than the WBC’s interim champion Sebastien Zbik.

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