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Duddy goes the distance; beats Thompson at MSG

"He's sitting down on his punches more," said his advisor and matchmaker, Jim Borzell. "He's learning more about technique and the knockouts are just happening."One lesson he learned in the amateurs was how to go the distance. On the undercard of the Miguel Cotto/Muhammad Abdullaev bout Saturday at Madison Square Garden, Duddy put that knowledge to use, winning a unanimous decision over Patrick Thompson (9-5-1, 4 KO's) by three scores of 80-72. It was the first time Duddy (10-0, 9 KO's) failed to knockout his opponent in the pros. But it wasn't for a lack of trying.Rushing around the ring as if a strong gust of wind was pushing him, Duddy was throwing punches at such a frantic pace it seemed either Thompson would get knocked out or Duddy, 25, would drop from exhaustion."I was trying to emphasize power in every punch," said Duddy, who moved to Queens in 2003. "I should have been working more on speed. I knew he was a tough guy, very durable because he kept coming forward. I realized that I hurt him a few times when he would hold on to me. In the clinches I would think, 'my- I think he's hurt.'"Duddy is enormously popular in New York. His co-manager, Tony McLoughlin estimates that he sold 1,500 tickets for the show - his first appearance at the Garden - and many of them showed up waving flags and reciting that sing-song chants commonly heard at soccer games. Duddy entered the ring with professional bagpipe player Con Concorbette, who appears to have become a permanent fixture in Duddy's entourage."I'm out there to pump my guy up," he said back in the dressing room after the fight. "It's only for a few seconds, so I have to play hard."Part of Duddy's appeal has to do with his looks and fighting style. Duddy is Rocky with a bit more technique. Against Thompson, there were occasions when he almost ran into punches because he was moving forward so fast. Several times Thompson landed flush shots and Duddy motored right through them without a hitch. Duddy trains at the Irish Ropes Boxing Club in Far Rockaway, which is run by McLoughlin's brother, Eddie, his other manager. Part of his regimen includes walloping a tractor tire with a mallet in an alley next to the gym. Duddy has surprised himself with the power he has shown in the pros."I was as shocked as anyone," he said. "And I'm not even throwing hard punches too. It's all technique and bang! Guys are getting knocked out."Reach reporter Mitch Abramson at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.

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