By Jonny Stapleton
John Duddy believes Matthew Macklin could replace him as the apple of the Big Apple’s eye after his “heroic” display in Madison Square Garden last weekend.
The Derry middleweight was a massive fan favourite in New York and despite retiring recently is still revered Stateside.
Duddy was so popular he sold out the MSG theatre no fewer than five times, but he believes Macklin can take his mantra after pushing Sergio Martinez so close on St Patricks Day.
The former middleweight contender says loosing to the best 160lbs fighter on the planet won’t harm Macklin’s career in the slightest. Indeed he has encouraged ‘Mack The Knifes’ to take advantage of the new found respect and worldwide notoriety to secure another title.
“Matthew is right there in the mix and he has proved that his fighting – and I mean fighting- style is a hit with the fans, both in person and on television. He can be a hero over here,” Duddy explained.
“The one thing that was proved on Saturday night is that, when you’re talking about middleweights, Matthew Macklin is in the top three in the world. He’s proved that twice now: when he was robbed against Felix Sturm in Germany last year, and again now with his performance against Sergio Martinez in a sold out Madison Square Garden.”
“My suggestion for what he should do now is relatively simple; take a break and enjoy life for a bit, but, boxing-wise, he has to push on from here.”
Duddy was ringside at the Garden on St Patrick’s Day and was extremely impressed with what he saw.
“I thought it was a great performance by Matt, a really heroic performance. I thought his strategy and his gameplan were perfect. Martinez, though, is the real deal.He is the best middleweight in the world today.”