ANDY LEE and John Duddy could touch gloves sooner rather than later if the Derryman rises to the challenge thrown out by the Limerick southpaw yesterday.
The possibility of a mouth-watering all-Irish clash between Lee and Duddy has been doing the rounds for some time, amid speculation Brian Peters is willing to put a six-figure sum on the table to entice the Derry man.
Peters will make his feelings known later today. As manager and promoter, he also has the interests of European middleweight champion, Matthew Macklin, to consider.
At the weekend, Lee re-ignited the Duddy debate when he stopped Troy Lowry, a seasoned 40-year-old veteran, in four rounds at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana.
A couple of weeks earlier the 2004 Olympian put on a master-class performance to defeat Michael Walker in his hometown of Chicago, and it was after that victory Peters revealed a renewed interest on getting Lee and Duddy together.
Duddy, whose liking for a punch-up has made him a big hit with the fight fans in the US, has been getting himself together again after losing to Julio Chavez Jr in what was virtually a world title eliminator last June.
Emanuel Steward, Lee’s manager and trainer, said yesterday a Lee-Duddy fight would go down in Irish boxing history as the greatest fight since Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney fought the ‘Battle of the Long Count’ for the world title on September 22, 1927, at Soldier Field, Chicago.
“There is a great appetite and interest among Irish boxing fans and boxing fans in general for a showdown between these two talented fighters,” Steward said.
Steward has been in contact with Craig Hamilton, Duddy’s manager, and both agree this is an attractive fight for boxing fans, promoters and television executives and a fight that should happen sooner rather than later.
After each of his fights Lee has been asked about the possibility of a clash with Duddy but insisted the stakes were so high for each of them and there would be so much to lose that it would have to be for a title. But that has now changed, and he is ready to challenge the Derryman.
Steward admitted it was a fight that would sell out in the US or Ireland but insisted Limerick or Dublin would be the obvious venue.
Meanwhile, Peters admitted yesterday that if Paul McCloskey is going to fight for a world title he is going to have to get himself into a mandatory position.
The Dungiven southpaw challenged Amir Khan for his WBA title after he successfully defended his European light welterweight title against Barry Morrison in Letterkenny on Saturday night.
“It is very difficult to crack that whole circle – Tim Bradley, Amir Khan, David Alexander – and I believe Paul is going have to get into a mandatory position,” he said. “Bradley is due to fight David Alexander at the end of January. Paul McCloskey is going to have to fight a top 10 opponent to get into a mandatory position.”
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