IRISH BOXING OPINION: End of the road for Dudey?
As the press gathered in the Oak Bar of the Kings’ Hall last Saturday night there was an air of disappointment sifting around the old building.
Paul McCloskey’s world title ambitions had just gone up in smoke thirty minutes earlier in explosive fashion as he was out boxed and outfoxed by the experienced American DeMarcus Corley.
The wily Corley had every answer in the book for McCloskey’s ‘drunken style’ as he called it, and the 37 year old everyone had presumed was a washed up former champion had stunned the Belfast crowd into silence.
As Eddie Hearn said unreservedly at the post-fight press conference, which was without Dudey’s presence: “If you can’t beat someone like DeMarcus Corley then you don’t deserve to be fighting for world titles.”
It was a blunt comment from the unfulfilled Hearn, who had seen his stable star Eamonn O’Kane lift the Irish Prizefighter trophy before McCloskey and Corley took to the ring.
Hearn’s comment, whilst delivered in a forlorn manner, left the room ringing with the sound of alarm bells. Or was that death knells? As it looks as if that could be the last time we will see Paul McCloskey in the ring, and perhaps that is a good thing.
As Dudey said in his immediate post fight interview, “I was pretty flat. I will have to figure out what went wrong.”
Maybe figuring out what went wrong is to understand that his time at the top is up. There will be many blinded by bias who will feel this is a premature judgement, but there is a stark truth that came out of Saturday night disappointing defeat.
McCloskey, whilst no spring chicken at 32, was outclassed by the 37-year old from Washington and the Dungiven southpaw was taking big right hands from Corley as if they were doing something good for him.
It is true that ‘Chop Chop’ has been in with the very best, including Mayweather, Cotto and Maidana to name but a few, however this is a man who was presented to McCloskey by Matchroom with the understanding that it would be another notch on the ring post for Dudey.
Get Corley out of the way and use the enticing but perhaps misleading scalp to lure Juan Manuel Marquez into considering that McCloskey is a worthy challenger to his light welterweight Interim WBO crown.
Yes, that was the plan, but it didn’t work. It came unstuck, the wheels fell off, and the McCloskey vehicle went up in flames in front of a presuming public.
It’s very sad that it has gone this way, but Paul McCloskey just didn’t turn up for whatever reason on Saturday night and it looks as if the end is near. As Eddie Hearn said, Dudey will have to go backwards to move forwards but would Paul want that?
He has been touted as a test to Juan Manuel Marquez’ crown, but his next fight will be quite some way away from the glitz and glamour of a world title fight in Las Vegas or The Garden.
Hearn said that McCloskey’s next fight were he to take it will most likely be at European level, and the big question for Dudey is can he motivate himself to drop back to European to climb the ladder again.
An entirely selfish thought here is that it is not worth it; we should appreciate Paul McCloskey for the good he has given to Irish boxing and remember him at his best.
The Derry man has delivered some huge nights at home and abroad for his fans that almost live exclusively in his local parish and such giving to the community is highly credible.
Having seen Dudey get pummelled at times on Saturday night, it would be sad to see him feel that he has to do that another two or three times to get back to the level he was aspiring to with a win over Corley, just to be in with a chance of challenging for a world title.
Paul McCloskey just wasn’t there on Saturday night at the Kings’ Hall; he knew it, John Breen knew it, and the crowd sensed that inevitably Corley was going to get the win by stoppage or points following his competent display.
That would not have been the case though, as somehow all three judges had McCloskey a few rounds ahead, something that surprised even the most biased Dudey fans and not least an angry post fight Chop Chop.
For Corley, perhaps this fight will move him in the direction of his own world title opportunity and he would deserve it for the professionalism and acuity he showed in the ring against Dudey.
For Paul McCloskey, he has to go home, think it over and see what is best for his future. This opinion is of the thought that Dudey should walk away from the game he has excelled at.
Walk with his head held high, knowing that he was a great fighter in his own right, yet he just lacked that something that makes the greatest what they are.