Chavez Beats Brave Duddy Over 12 Brutal Rounds
By Michael Norby: Undefeated middleweight contender Julio Cesar Chavez Jr may be only 24-years-old but for much of his career he has heard the voices and read the words of commentators and fans, urging the legend’s son to step up his competition level.
On Saturday night, in San Antonio’s Alamodome, Chavez 41-0-1 (30) met John Duddy 29-2 (18) a tough, battle-hardened Irish fighter brimming with ambition and licking his chops at the prospect of a world title shot awaiting tonight’s winner.
The New York-based battler was most certainly a step-up for the Mexican but, after 12 rounds, Chavez proved that, under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, Chavez is ready for the next level. He fought beautifully from distance and on the inside, thumping Duddy with both hands throughout the contest en route to an impressive points victory.
The fight began quietly with both guys trading single left hooks but, a minute into the first round, however, Duddy began pressuring the Mexican searching for openings behind his jab. Chavez coped well and, with the Irishman failing to move his head, he tagged Duddy with several right hands although the European scored with a nice sequence to close out the round.
Duddy’s work-rate was commendable in the second and third rounds and he was successful in closing the distance – rattling off scoring combinations to the body and head. Even so, the cleaner, more eye-catching punches were coming from the fists of Chavez whose cracking right hand was finding a home on the dial of his opponent with increasing frequency.
Indeed, Chavez’ right began to damage Duddy in the fourth and fifth, causing swelling to the left eye of the cut-prone Irishman. The undefeated fighter caught his man early in the fourth with a pair of those shots, prompting a back-and-forth battering match but Chavez remained focused, not allowing the tough Duddy to get the better of him. He found his opponent in the fifth steady slew of well placed, sapping punches that, although answered, was clearly having an effect on the 31-year-old.
Duddy’s ability to chew on Chavez’ artillery and keep firing back was astounding. In the sixth round, the Irishman buckled his opponent with a beautiful right hand counter punch and followed up with an aggressive combination in what was his best moment of the contest thus far. After that, Chavez was a little less willing to throw and, when he did, Duddy shot back, not allowing the Mexican to regain the momentum that he had built throughout the first half of the fight.
The seventh round locked the style of fight in place. Both fighters met each other in the center of the ring and hurled punches at each other. Gone was Chavez’ style and distance-keeping strategy – in its place the actions of a Mexican warrior, ready to catch whatever came at him and throw back with interest.
It was a style that should have favored Duddy but Chavez was the shinier of the two in what was a grueling battle. He scored heavily in the seventh and thumped Duddy in the eighth with a series of overhand rights and combinations on the inside – hurting him with a left hook at the end of the round.
Duddy was weary now and, in the ninth, he was a sitting duck for Chavez’ power. The 24-year-old Mexican thumped his opponent from the outset, connecting with stunning punches. A pair of right hands with a minute gone buckled Duddy and sent him retreating to the ropes. He tried to fight back and did so bravely, punching his way out of peril in a weary but heroic fashion.
With little left in the gas tank, the gritty Irishman went for broke in the tenth. He surged forward and clattered punches against the body and head of his opponent in a fiercely brave showing. Chavez covered up and absorbed the shots well and controlled the remainder of the round – each punch seemingly inching him closer to stopping Duddy for the first time in his career.
Every time Chavez thought that he had his man in position, though, the iron-chinned, strong willed Irishman, unwilling to quit, somehow found the strength to blast back. He battered Duddy in the eleventh forcing his fists to power onto the jaw of his opponent but, again, the 31-year-old refused to go down. At the bell, after pummeling his man for a prolonged period with shots that would have felled almost any other fighter, Chavez turned and walked back to the ring with a look of “what do I have to do?” etched on his face.
Even the bravest and strongest of warriors has a breaking point but apparently not John Duddy. He has been brought to the brink by many fighters, none more so than today, but his heart and his pride brought him through to the final bell – still throwing and still receiving, but standing at the end.
Chavez, for the first time in his career, jumped to the ropes after the fight and, with his hands raised in the air, he answered the questions of reporters and fans unanimously. This kid can fight.
Scores: 120-108; 116-112; 117-111
Beginning what he says is a journey towards a sixth world title in a fourth weight class, living legend Marco Antonio Barrera picked up a comfortable ten round junior welterweight victory against Brazilian opponent Adailton DeJesus.
Despite his years, Barrera 66-7 (45) looked crisp from the opening bell, tagging his opponent with hooks to the head and body throughout the first round. DeJesus 26-5 (21) was nervous and tight and his initial reaction to the Mexican’s assaults painted a picture of a fighter completely out of his depth.
The Brazilian was simply unable to deter a measured Barrera. He darted around the ring, unleashing occasional left hooks, but allowed his opponent to score to the body and head at will – the 36-year-old Mexican pocketing rounds two and three easily.
DeJesus finally stepped on the gas pedal in the fourth and forced Barrera on the back foot with digging punches to the body. Barrera responded well, though, and scored with a series of combinations midway through the round before backing off and coasting to the bell.
This fight did not have the excitement that came in the parcel of any Marco Antonio Barrera contest of years past but he was effective and was winning with relative ease. He picked up the middle rounds with accurate punches and avoided most of what DeJesus threw at him, building a comfortable lead as the fight entered the late stages.
Indeed, fighting for the first time since suffering a horrific cut in a loss against Amir Khan last year, Barrera easily controlled the remainder of the contest. Frequently scoring with his trademark double jab/right hand combination and rattling off occasional flurries, Barrera saw out the contest without baring his once formidable teeth, but with a win nonetheless.
Scores: 100-90; 98-92; 99-91
In a battle of hometown junior bantamweights, world ranked former title challenger Raul Martinez thumped an overmatched Gabriel Elizondo - scoring three knockdowns en route to a seventh round stoppage victory.
Martinez 27-1 (16) rattled his man early in the fight – in the opening round with a pair of hooks to the head and in the second with a number of body shots, two of which were deemed low blows by referee Rafael Ramos.
Elizondo 22-4-1 (10) was stung again early in the third by a big straight right hand and again later in the same round by a similar punch. His plight wasn’t helped in the fifth after an accidental head butt opened a cut over his left eye. Although the wound didn’t look too bad, it was clearly bothering Elizondo who winced and pawed at the area as Martinez attacked.
Later in the round, Elizondo met the canvas after a sharp, short right hand caught his chin and, in the sixth, a stunning left hook dropped him as the bell rang to close the round. Although he beat the count, the writing was on the wall and, with one minute remaining in the seventh, Martinez finally stopped his rival with a huge straight right hand, prompting Ramos to wave off the contest just as Elizondo hit the deck.
Time of stoppage: 2:00 RD7
Young featherweight prospect Salvador Sanchez, wearing the same gear that his famous late uncle of the same name wore, found a career doorstop in the form of Thomas Villa, dropping a decision over eight rounds.
Villa 23-7-4 (14) who was knocked out in the first round of his last fight just two months ago, started fast and pressured Sanchez 19-4-2 (9) relentlessly through the first six rounds. The veteran pinned his younger and taller opponent against the ropes for prolonged periods – scoring regularly and hurting Sanchez sporadically with heavy shots.
Villa began to slow in the seventh which prompted a last ditch comeback from his opponent. Although Sanchez did ramp up his efforts, Villa was able to smother his work and held on for a deserved win.
Scores: 77-75; 79-73; 78-74