John Duddy, the popular New York-based Irish middleweight has abruptly announced his retirement.
Duddy, 31, had recently returned to training after agreeing to face fellow Irish fighter Andy Lee on March 12 on an HBO undercard at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Uncasville, had not yet signed a contract for the $100,000 purse fight.
“After a great deal of soul-searching, I have decided to retire from boxing,” Duddy said in a statement. “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.
“I started watching my father train in the gym when I was five years old. I began fighting competitively at age 10. For more than 20 years, I loved being a boxer. I still feel that it’s an enormous honor to be a boxer. But I don’t love it anymore. I no longer have the enthusiasm and willingness to make the sacrifices that are necessary to honor the craft of prizefighting. I used to love going to the gym. Now it’s a chore. I wish I still had the hunger, but I don’t. The fire has burned out. And I know myself well enough to know that it won’t return.”
Duddy’s veteran manager Craig Hamilton said Duddy first broached the idea of retirement to him a couple of months ago.
“We had talked about this at the end of last year,” Hamilton said. “We had a conversation about this and I said, ‘Look, if you want to retire be aware that if you do it, you will be leaving some good fights and money on the table and I don’t want you to do it and then say, ‘I made a mistake.’ I said that to him again [Tuesday]. I said, ‘Before you do anything, I just want you to be certain in your heart and head. Andy Lee is a winnable fight and a victory over Andy Lee would lead you into a title shot and you’d get paid a lot of money.’ I didn’t want him to come back three years down the road and say, ‘what if?’ He made his decision.
“I would hope he never comes back because to leave with opportunities in front of you, they won’t be there when you come back.”