19 March 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Bernard Dunne believes that home advantage will prove decisive in Saturdays bout with WBA super-bantamweight champion Ricardo Cordoba.
Dunnes promoter, Brian Peters, has managed to tempt Cordoba to The O2 in Dublin for the eagerly-anticipated clash.
Given that the titleholder has never won outside of his native Panama, Dunne believes that the venue is hugely significant.
This fight is the stuff dreams are made of and to get it in my home town, well, I couldnt have asked for any more, the Dubliner tells setanta.com.
Im very grateful to Brian. He came up with the cash to get it here. He obviously has plenty of belief in me. He put his money where his mouth was because he wouldnt be doing this if he didnt think I was capable of winning the world title and hes given me every opportunity to do that by securing home advantage.
I know that its still going to be just the two of us in the ring at the end of the day. I know hes one of the best fighters in the division and hes already beaten Celestino Caballero, whos supposed to be the number one at super-bantamweight.
Hes clearly top-notch but hes still very young and when he walks into the atmosphere hes going to face at The O2 hes bound to be intimidated. Hell never have fought in anything like it before.
However, the three times that Cordoba has ventured overseas he was on the wrong end of rather contentious decisions. The South American’s only loss was via split-decision to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym in Thailand, while he was twice deemed to have drawn with Hamburg-based Ukrainian Wladimir Sidorenko in Germany.
Dunne admits that it would be unfair to say that Cordoba does not travel well.
Hes a lovely boxer, a lovely mover. He throws great combinations and from all angles. And to be one of the best in the world at just 24 speaks volumes for him, he says.
So even with home advantage, I know that Im up against it. But this is what I want, this is what its all about, fighting for world titles against world-class performers. Im 29 now and I want to step up to the mark. I feel Im ready.
“Its just down to me now to take care of business. Its up to me and Harry [Hawkins, his trainer] to come up with a game plan thats going to prove successful on the night and we think that we have.
Dunne has certainly come a long way since the agony of his first-round stoppage at the hands of Kiko Martinez in August, 2007. After that 90-second demolition, the Irishmans career appeared to be in tatters.
However, he has regrouped superbly and has reeled off three successive wins in the interim.
The Martinez loss, which remains Dunnes only defeat in the paid ranks, was tough to take but it may, he feels, have ultimately been beneficial in terms of his development as a boxer, and a person.
I think it matured me It might be strange to say that I wasnt mature enough at 27, when I fought Kiko, but I do think Ive grown up, he muses.
As much as youd never want the Martinez loss to happen, particularly in the way that it happened, maybe, looking back, it was a positive because I think Ive become a better, smarter fighter because of it.
The mental scars have long since healed, too, and Dunne reveals that he has long felt ready to make the step up to world level.
Indeed, he was willing to move up to featherweight for the first time in his career, such was his desperation to secure a world title fight.
Yeah, I just wanted to fight for a world title, whether it was at super-bantamweight or featherweight,” he explains.
I came very close to moving up to featherweight for a title shot but the cut I suffered against Cristian Faccio in November scuppered that somewhat. We had been looking at January but the cut, which was pretty severe, put paid to that.
But we moved on and thankfully Brian managed to secure another shot for me and at super-bantamweight, which is ideal.
Of course, there had also been the possibility of a shot at his old European title, which is now held by Rendall Munroe.
However, the negotiations between Peters and Frank Maloney broke down. That was disappointing for Dunne at the time but no longer.
I would have liked that fight to happen but weve stepped up another level here, he points out.
Im not even thinking about that anymore. Im just focusing on Cordoba and Im expecting another great night at The O2 and another win.
I had a lot of great nights there when it was known as The Point so Im looking forward to my return.
And Im not entertaining any negative thoughts. Im going to give this my best shot and I think that will be good enough to win this title.