Billy Lyell (19-3) beat Duddy (26-1) in a split decision that went the full ten rounds. A journeyman fighter from Ohio, Lyell came into the bout at the Prudential Center in Newark a heavy underdog against hometown favorite Duddy, who was born in Ireland but lives in Western Queens.
The fight was billed as a tune-up for Duddy, who before the loss was on the shortlist for a middleweight title match against reigning champion Kelly Pavlik. Chances the fight, which was much anticipated, will take place are as yet unclear, but many believe Duddy’s career is essentially over.
Lyell came out hitting hard, with more energy from the start than his opponent. After trading punches over the first three rounds, Lyell opened a deep cut above Duddy’s right eye in the fourth. Duddy never seemed to fully recover, though his trainers stopped the bleeding between rounds.
In the fifth, however, Duddy managed to retaliate by moving closer to fight the shorter Lyell inside, delivering a combination of heavy punches that opened a wide gash on the bridge of Lyell’s nose.
Bleeding heavily for the rest of the fight, which continued for five more rounds, the tough Youngstown fighter went on the offensive, refusing to give Duddy an inch in the ring. Lyell’s career prospects were instantly raised with the upstart win. When it was announced, an ecstatic Lyell jumped into his trainers arms as Duddy looked on in disbelief.
Speaking to the press after the fight, a tired but courteous Duddy promised to train even harder for his next fight, whenever that might be.
“Billy came out with his guns blazing,” said Duddy. “I just wasn’t shooting on all cylinders.”
“I’m looking forward to get back to the gym again,” he added.