If you are interested in seeing New York's latest white hope, and seeing for yourself whether he is great, you will have to watch it on TV, because tickets to see John Duddy fight Anthony Bonsante Friday evening at the Madison Square Garden Theater are sold out. Duddy, the 27-year-old middleweight from Derry in Ireland, has been building buzz and a considerable fan base since turning pro in 2003. He's 18-0, with 15 cracks, and is in line to get a title shot by the end of the year if he wants one.
If you need to get up to speed on Irish John and live in the tri-state area, a documentary about Duddy, entitled “The Contender,” runs on Thursday and Friday evenings (March 14-15) on the MSG cable net. “The Contender” was produced by BBC Northern Ireland. The 36-year-old Bonsante (29-8-3) actually represents a step down from Duddy's last foe, Yory Boy Campas. Campas is more advanced technically, and more of a popsicle-cool customer in the ring, than Bonsante.
The Contender alum, a Minnesotan, is, however, on a three fight winning streak after dropping four straight in 2004-2006. In his last start, he beat the previously overrated Matt Vanda (UD10) on January 12. Duddy, who is from the "I do my talking in the ring" mold," promised fans that they'll get their money's worth come Saturday night (even if they have to trek through some snow to get to MSG, as has been forecast). “I’ve worked very hard -- I’m sure Anthony has too – for this fight," Duddy said. "We’re both hungry and eager to give fans what they want. I’m looking forward to it. My career has come along and, hopefully, this will be my biggest fight. Stay in your seats. There’s going to be a lot of excitement whether it goes one or 12 rounds.” Should Duddy do the expected, and stop Bonsante--who’s been on the short end of stoppages on three occasions—what’s next for the fan-friendly basher? Word on the street is that he could glove up again in June, maybe a week before Miguel Cotto’s Puerto Rican extravaganza against Zab Judah on June 9. But more likely, Duddy will travel to Ireland to tighten up his arsenal before he locks down a title shot against Jermain Taylor in 2008. Bonsante said that he's not planning on crumbling early, like an inexperienced boozer getting overenthused and overserved on St. Patty's day. “I’ve prepared long and hard for this fight,” he said. “John’s a strong fighter. He has age on his side but I’m going to use my experience. I plan to be there in the12th round. Neither one of us is going to be hard to find. I’m excited to be here (NYC). My family’s here but they’re out sightseeing. I’m not Irish but I can still have fun on St. Patrick’s Day.”
The PPV broadcast, available on cable and satellite starting at 9 PM/ET, 6 PM/PT will cost $24.95. Showtime's Al Bernstein, former ring stalwarts Barry McGuigan and Gerry Cooney, and Tony Paige will call the show. Doors open at 7 PM and the first action is slated to start at 7:30 PM.