19 January 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Less than a week after agreeing to fight fellow Irish middleweight Andy Lee, John Duddy has retired from boxing.
The Derry Destroyer, who was set to fight his compatriot in one of the most eagerly anticipated domestic clashes of all time on March 12, cited a lack of love for the game as the reason behind his decision to hang up his gloves.
The all action New York based Irish star has enjoyed a successful and entertainment packed 31 fight career, but feels he no longer has the heart for prize fighting and claims he didnt want to disrespect the game by continuing.
Duddy did admit he didn’t fulfil his fight dreams but stressed he enjoyed high profile boxing innings which have seen him fight in Madison Square Garden, The Dallas Cowboys Stadium and The Kings Hall.
The much supported puncher also stressed he has no intention of reversing his decision.
After a great deal of soul-searching, I have decided to retire from boxing, Duddy said in a statement. I no longer have the enthusiasm and willingness to make the sacrifices that are necessary to honour the craft of prize-fighting. I used to love going to the gym. Now its a chore. I wish I still had the hunger, but I dont. The fire has burned out. And I know myself well enough to know that it wont return.
For more than twenty years, I loved being a boxer. I still feel that its an enormous honour to be a boxer. But I dont love it anymore. Ive always given one hundred percent in the gym and in my fights. I have too much respect for boxing and the people around me to continue fighting when I know I cant do that anymore.
Duddys decision to retire comes at the strangest time. The Derry star had just agreed a six figure pay day to fight Limerick southpaw Lee in a bout that gave him the perfect chance to redeem his latest loss to Julio Chavez jr.
Not to mention if Duddy would have emerged victorious from the all Irish clash that had fans salivating he would have put himself back into world title contention.
Duddy, who is a renowned name both sides of the Atlantic, however has followed the advice of his hero and former featherweight champion of the world, Barry McGuigan calling time on his career before another fighter put him into retirement.
In many ways, continuing to fight would be the easy course of action. I have been offered the opportunity to fight Andy Lee on HBO for a purse in excess of $100,000. A win would put me in position to fight for a world championship. This is not an opportunity that I cast aside lightly, he added.
Barry McGuigan was one of my childhood heroes. His photograph was one of the first things that visitors saw when entering our home in Derry. He had great influence on me when I was a boy. Barry McGuigan once said, Fighters are the first people to know when they should retire and the last to admit it. I know that its time for me to retire from boxing, and Im admitting it. I give you my word; I will not come back.