On Friday May 18, IBA World middleweight champion “Ireland’s” John Duddy will fight his last bout in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. After the card at New York’s Beacon Theatre Duddy will once again be (Northern) Ireland’s.

In the main event Duddy (19-0, 15 KO’s) will take on southpaw Dupre “Total Package” Strickland (18-1-1, 7 KO’s). It represents a big step up in class for Dupre, and Duddy is expected to return to Europe undefeated.

Obviously, Duddy’s success would be a positive for boxing. He has been dubbed an Irish De La Hoya due to his combination of boxing savvy, marketability, and looks. It would have been nice for his send-away to have been a sexier match-up, but with any luck, his next rumble on U.S. soil will be one of import.

According to Irish Ropes promotions, they would like to test Duddy’s drawing potential in Europe. Though Duddy originally ended up in Queens due to little opportunity back home, there has been much clamoring for his return. Irish Ropes is hoping he can pack some big-time venues. Once that kind of market is established, the door is opened to the big fights.

That unfortunate reality drills home the point that Oscar/Floyd did indeed display high-level boxing’s greatest truism: Money talks.

But taking care of business inside the ring still counts as well. Duddy has been studying film of Strickland.

“He’s very cagey,” said Duddy at a Wednesday presser, “I don’t know but we think he’s a righty turned [lefty].”

“He’ll be doing a lot of body-work and head movement,” added Duddy.

For Strickland, the bout places him in the spoiler role.

“It’s a challenge and something I’ve been waiting for. It’s my time to prevail,” said the 37-year-old Strickland.

He’s not the biggest name out there, but anyone with 18 wins in 20 professional bouts is formidable at a minimum, even if this is his first 10-rounder at 37.

But clearly, the main attraction of this card is the going-away party aspect of the event. There could be a KO, but the draw is the fighter moreso than the fight. If Duddy is what he appears to be, this should have Duddy emerging unbeaten. The intention here appears to be for Duddy to head back to Europe at 20-0 with the chance to prove his drawing-power in Europe as an undefeated contender. And undefeated is the key word there. The key aspect of the equation. Why jeopardize “the plan?”

Becoming a champ is as much calculation as it is perspiration.

So, remember, Friday at the Beacon Theatre a tremendous up-and-coming boxer will be on display. A fighter who “matters.” Perhaps next time his opponent will as well.

For any readers in the NY area, this fight will be shown on Saturday, one day after the fight, on MSG.

Card Details:

Name: “Tomorrow's Champions”

Date & Venue: May 18 @ The Beacon Theatre in New York, NY

Promoter: Irish Ropes Promotions

Main Event: IBA World middleweight champion “Ireland's” John Duddy (19-0, 15 KOs), Queens, NY via Derry, N. Ireland vs. Dupre “Total Package” Strickland (18-1-1, 7 KOs), Slidell, LA, 10 rounds, non-title. Co-Feature: New York State middleweight champion Pawel “Raging Bull” Wolak (14-0, 9 KOs), Brooklyn, NY via Poland vs. Anthony Little (7-6, 1 KO), Akron, OH, 6 rounds.

Undercard Fighters: Middleweight Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (11-0, 10 KOs), Brooklyn, NY vs. Victor Paz (9-3-1, 1 KO), Brooklyn, NY, 6 rounds; Super welterweight Henry Coyle (1-0, 1 KO), Chicago via Mayo, Ireland vs. Samuel Ortiz Gomez (0-2), Orlando, FL, 6 rounds; Super flyweight Eileen Olszewski (2-0, 0 KOs), New York, NY vs. Kimberly Tomes (0-2), Brooklyn, NY, 6 rounds; Light heavyweight Denys Lozado (4-1, 2 KOs), Nanuet, NY vs. Steve Marcantonio (2-3, 1 KO), Rahway, NH, 4 rounds; Cruiserweight Thomas Kurzylowski (1-0, 0 KOs), Chicago, Il vs. Robert Evans (0-2), Philadelphia, PA, 4 rounds; Heavyweight Vaughn Parham (1-0, 1 KO), Bronx, NY vs. Kenyatte Ravenell (1-1, 1 KO), Harlem, NY, 4 rounds.

Tickets: $75.00 to $300.00 on sale by calling Irish Ropes Promotions at 212.835.1582 or TicketMaster at 212.307.7171. All tickets include a $4.00 facility fee and TicketMaster purchases are subject to TicketMaster service fees.

Information: Irish Ropes Promotions at 212.835.1582 or go on line to www.irishropes.com.