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Duddy vs. Smichet On February 23rd

Undefeated Irish middleweight John Duddy (23-0, 17 KOs) will be facing Tunisian-born Walid Smichet (17-3-1, 13 KOs) next month on February 23rd at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, New York. The fight will be on the undercard of International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko’s bout with World Boxing Organization champion Sultan Ibragimov, meaning that the fight will be seen by a huge nationwide audience, as well as all over the world. Duddy, 28, ranked # 2 in the World Boxing Organization and #10 in the World Boxing Association, is hoping to get by the tough Smichet so that he can possibly land a huge money fight with Kelly Pavlik in late 2008 or early 2009.

However, it won’t be easy, as Smichet has a lot of power in both hands and generally applies a tremendous amount of pressure against his opponents. Though, like Duddy, Smichet has faced next to no one of note, fighting to a draw with former star from ESPN television reality program “The Contender” Donny McCrary, and beating previously undefeated Canadian middleweight Matt O’Brien on March 19th, 2007. In his most recent bout, Smichet lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Sebastien Demers on September 15th, a fight for the Canadian middleweight title and IBF International middleweight title.

Smichet uses very little defense, preferring to try and slug it with his opponents. In that respect, Smichet is similar to Duddy, who tends to come right at his opponents. Of course, Duddy hasn’t had to experiment with his style much, for he’s fought mostly C and lower B-level fighters in his career and none of them have been the type that would make it necessary for Duddy to alter his style. In his last bout, a 10-round unanimous decision over veteran Howard Eastman on December 8th, Duddy used the strategy of fighting on the inside with Eastman, grabbing and wrestling much of the time.

The tactic worked perfectly against Eastman, as he didn’t have punching room and was unable to get off his huge shots. However, aside from Eastman, Duddy has only faced one marginal talent, a badly faded Luis Ramon Campas, whom Duddy defeated by a grueling 12-round unanimous decision in September 2006. However, it doesn’t matter that Duddy hasn’t been exposed to top 10 talent, he’s still immensely popular with boxing fans.

Duddy won’t likely have too much problems with Smichet, though it won’t be a pretty fight, because Duddy generally prefers to brawl with his opponents rather than fighting defensively. It should be entertaining throughout. Duddy doesn’t have big power, winning usually by decision against his better opponents, but he’s capable of scoring knockouts by clubbing his opponents into submission. I don’t see that happening here, but it will be interesting none the less.

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