Duddy beats Bonsante
Young middleweight sensation John Duddy picked apart the courageous challenge of Anthony Bonsante over ten pulsating rounds on his way to a technical decision victory.
On the eve of St. Patrick"s Day, with Mother Nature dumping sleet and snow on the City of New York, 5,000 predominantly Irish fight fans crammed into the Theatre at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, hoping for the perfect start to their weekend-long celebrations.
In the opening round it was Duddy 19-0 (15) who came out the sharper and stronger of the two fighters. He went about establishing his jab, which he did successfully, and clocked Bonsante with crisp power shots – most notably with the left hook, which landed frequently against the challengers jaw. Bonsante 29-9-3 (17) took the shots well and avoided a majority of what was coming his way by using his footwork and planting his own jab in the face of the Irishman.
Round two continued where the first left off with Duddy again landing big power shots, set up perfectly by his jab. The 27-year-old landed a powerful right hand midway through that forced the Minnesota native to cover up and, sensing that his man was in trouble, Duddy went headhunting. The gritty challenger soaked up everything that was thrown at him however, and came out for the third round with a little more gusto.
The Irishman declined to re-employ the jab that had set up so much of his early power attack and instead reverted back to his old habit of slugging needlessly with an opponent that he could surely outbox if he chose to. Although clearly the stronger man, Duddy was caught by numerous combinations and he threw back, wildly at times, as the action went back and forth.
Bonsante was cut on the forehead in the fourth round – the result of an accidental clash of heads and, bothered by the stream of blood rolling down his face; he ate a blistering left hook that wobbled his legs. The Derryman pounced and battered the bloodied 36-year-old for the remainder of the round.
The former &lsquoContender" star showed his grit as he blasted back at Duddy in the fifth round, throwing and landing with his fare share of punches - most of which came as the fight was contested in close quarters. Duddy, seeing blood, and focusing squarely on the head of Bonsante, landed the more telling shots and was never really troubled by his opponent"s power.
In the sixth round, the Irish star decided that he would show his chin quality by dropping his hands and allowing Bonsante to land four of his best shots. Duddy retaliated with a straight right hand of his own and it was clear, at this stage, that Bonsante was being outpowered.
The cut on the forehead of the challenger was becoming more of a problem in the seventh and eight rounds. Blood leaked into the Bonsante"s eye sockets, forcing him to paw at his eyes continuously. Ringside doctors and referee Steve Smoger inspected the wound closely in between rounds and it was obvious that he was on borrowed time.
The courageous Midwesterner came out swinging in the eighth and ninth - a desperate attempt to land something that would chip the granite coating on the Derryman"s chin. Duddy countered well and again had his opponent in trouble in the ninth by a huge left hook that halted Bonsante"s momentum.
With his vision clouded by his own blood, &lsquoThe Bullet" spent the rest of the action trying to hop out of the way of the oncoming Duddy assault. It was no surprise that his game challenge came to an end between the ninth and tenth as he was deemed unfit to continue – sending the fight to the scorecards.
All three judges scored the fight in favor of Duddy who retains his IBA world championship belt by unanimous decision. Scores: 89-82, 88-83 and 90-81.