New York-based Irish middleweight contender John Duddy (26-0, 17 KO’s) will return to the ring on April 24 at the Prudential Center against Billy Lyell (18-7, 3 KO’s) of Youngstown, OH. WBO #2 and IBF #7 Duddy took time out on a busy St. Patrick’s Day to talk some boxing, Kelly Pavlik, Arthur Abraham, his next opponent, the Klitschkos, Hatton vs. Pacquiao and more…
BoxingInsider: What stage would you say you are at in your career?
John Duddy: I’m 26-0 with 17 knockouts. I think I’m at a very good stage. I’m positive, healthy and eager to get back into the ring and keep fighting. As long as I stay healthy I’ll be fighting with motivation, just trying to get closer to a world title.
BoxingInsider: What do you know about Billy Lyell?
John Duddy: Well, Billy Lyell is a tough guy. He’s been fighting a long time. I think we’re gonna have an exciting bout. He trains in Youngstown so if he’s anything like Kelly Pavlik, he’s gonna be fun. I’ll be 100% ready for battle and it’s going to be an interesting fight.
BoxingInsider: Were you impressed by Kelly Pavlik’s win against Rubio?
John Duddy: Kelly went out and done the job as usual. People were very critical of him but he is a true professional. He had a tough loss against Hopkins and he came back and showed he’s the champion that he is. And had a good win against a tough opponent.
BoxingInsider: Have you seen Arthur Abraham? What do you think of him?
John Duddy: I’ve seen Arthur Abraham. He’s a world champion, he fights in Germany a lot. He’s making a move to the States as well. Again, you don’t become a world champion and not be a good fighter.
BoxingInsider: Who wins between Pavlik and Abraham, the fight we all want to see?
John Duddy: I’m not sure to be honest. I’m sure if they get it on we’ll all find out.
BoxingInsider: As a TV commentator for ESPN2 you got very positive reviews, was that an enjoyable experience for you?
John Duddy: I thought it was a pleasure, it was a lot easier than getting punched in the head [smiles]. The reason I was able to talk boxing is because I’ve been boxing since I was a kid, I know the sport and I love the sport. Hopefully, if there was a doorway open for me to move into that arena near the end of my career or after my career, I’ll certainly jump on the opportunity.
BoxingInsider: Ricky Hatton vs. Manny Pacquiao – how do you see that fight playing out?
John Duddy: I think that’s gonna be a tough fight. Manny Pacquiao proved to a lot of doubters of he’d done to Oscar De La Hoya. And I know De La Hoya was a lot older and maybe he was a later than what he should have been. The best thing about Hatton-Pacquiao is that the two of them love to fight. I think it’s going to be an exciting fight. Ricky Hatton – I’d like to see take it but Manny Pacquiao is a joy to watch too.
BoxingInsider: Do you think the Klitschko Brothers are the two best heavyweights today?
John Duddy: They’re certainly two of the best. They’re sort of under the shadow a lot because, I don’t know, they’re sort of uniting the belts. I don’t think they’re really dominating in the heavyweight division like people think they can. But there’s a lot of guys out there so hopefully they’ll keep going and improving because the heavyweight champion – as popular and successful – boxing’s popular and successful. You know?
BoxingInsider: How close do you think you are to being ready to challenge one of the middleweight champs?
John Duddy: I feel I’m ready after my next fight. I want the opportunity. My name’s been touted at having opportunities for going for taking title shots over the last year and a half. I just have to keep working hard and control what I can control and that’s who they put in front of me. As long as I keep winning, I’ll get a step closer. And if the opportunity arises, I’ll be ready for it.
BoxingInsider: What do you feel you need to improve upon to be ready for the world title shot?
John Duddy: Everything. I showed in my last fight a lot of different things that I’ve done in the past – moving the head more, using the jab a lot more, thinking more on my speed than trying to knock guys out with punching power. The footwork was a lot better too. So I’m a work in progress. And working with Patrick Burns is a joy and an education every time I go and see him. I’m improving every day that I’ve been there training and just look forward to having the opportunity of putting it on display in my next fight. And adding to what I’ve already learned and hopefully being ready if a world title shot comes a long, working on trying to be the best that I can be to perform on that show.”