Kelly Pavlik versus John Duddy?

By Geoffrey Ciani: Rumors have recently surfaced regarding a potential championship boxing fight between Kelly Pavlik and John Duddy. Although nothing has been finalized, the prospects of a match-up between these two undefeated middleweights promises to be an exciting encounter—while it lasts, that is. Which begs the question, would John Duddy have any chance of beating Kelly Pavlik? Of course, in boxing, anything can happen, so Duddy would certainly have a chance, albeit, a very slim one. Although the sport is often defined by the improbable, I’m hard-pressed to realistically envision a scenario—any scenario—wherein Duddy could prevail. In my view, it seems unreasonable to believe he has any shot at dethroning the newly crowned middleweight king.

kelly pavlikJohn Duddy’s offensive-minded nature and warrior-like spirit make him a very exciting fighter. He has an extremely loyal fan base, known for erupting in excitement whenever Duddy lands (or appears to land) a punch. Likewise, they are known to collectively gasp whenever Duddy eats a punch, which is something that occurs quite often.

Kelly Pavlik is also an offensive-minded fighter who possesses tremendous heart and determination. These attributes were put on display in his most recent bout when he rose from the canvas to comeback and stop the previously undefeated Jermain Taylor en route to capturing the middleweight crown. It was a sensational effort that propelled Pavlik into the realm of instant-stardom.

Two things will prevent Duddy from winning this fight. The first is Duddy’s defense. Although it might be unfair to say that Duddy abandons the concept of defense altogether, it is pretty clear to all who have seen him fight that it is not his top priority. Simply put, Duddy eats an awful lot of punches, and worse yet, a lot of them seem to land flush.

The other factor that will prevent Duddy from winning is Pavlik’s extraordinary punching power. Pavlik is also pretty accurate with his punches—using a very efficient jab to set-up his power shots, he never steps back and is relentless when pursuing his opponents. In fact, he often looks cool as an assassin as he methodically closes in for the kill, always moving forward.

If this fight comes off, we can be certain the John Duddy will get hit, and get hit a lot. We can also be certain that an accurate power-puncher like Pavlik is going to have no trouble finding the mark with his punches. This spells almost certain doom for Duddy, who gets hit way too often by monster shots he seemingly never sees coming.

In my view, Duddy has already reached his talent ceiling; he isn’t going to get any better than he already is. As such, it makes perfect sense for him to try and cash in now. Although I think it is almost certain that he will be brutally knocked out by Pavlik, it should bring him a good pay day in addition to giving him an opportunity at the middleweight championship. And who knows? I’ve been wrong before, and I’m certain to be wrong again—maybe Duddy can find someway to pull off one of the most improbable upsets imaginable in the current boxing landscape.

But alas, we are getting too far ahead of ourselves, for not only has nothing been finalized on this, but for it to happen, Duddy first needs to get Prince Arron this Saturday in Dublin, Ireland.

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Article posted on 17.10.2007

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