The 31-year-old has a chance to reinvigorate his dream of fighting for a world title should he prevail against his popular Mexican opponent, and when the Irish Voice caught up with him on Sunday, the Derry native sounded eager for the scheduled 12-round fight to arrive.
“I am looking forward to this fight and getting my crack at this boy. It’s been a long build up, and the talk is coming to an end. Now is time for the punches to do the talking for me,” said Duddy.
A tactical boxing match is not expected in this fight. Duddy, who said he had a very solid camp with trainer Harry Keitt and his team, has experimented with becoming a boxer rather than a fighter but has decided that his true calling is the latter, and Chavez is fighter cut from a similar cloth.
“I will use my usual fighting style. Hopefully, the two of us will complement each other because he doesn’t do too much backing up himself,” says Duddy.
“I think it is going to be an out-and-out battle in the middle of the ring, and I am going to try and impress myself mentally and physically on him.”
In his last fight on March 13, Duddy traveled to Dallas to fight Michael Medina, so he has no fear of returning to Texas to fight Chavez, Jr., son of the famous Mexican boxing legend Julio Cesar Chavez, in front of strong local support. Nor does he fear any “hometown” judging in favor of his opponent.
“At the end of the day, I have got the judges in my own two hands. I believe that I can beat him convincingly enough to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind, and the main way of achieving that is to hopefully knock him out, but I am just going to go in and try and win every round as best as I can and whatever happens, happens.”
If Duddy can rattle Chavez in the early going and prevent him from getting a rhythm, then the Irishman’s proven chin and never-questioned heart could be the keys to victory for him.
However, it seems that Chavez, who has teamed up with trainer Freddie Roach in the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles for this fight, is taking things very seriously. Roach recently told the Los Angeles Times how happy he was his charge ahead of the fight.
"When he decided to come here, he knew what he was getting into. Either he's out to impress me, or impress the world that he's a better fighter than he's shown. He does know boxing, and I believe he has one of the best jabs in the world,” commented the busy trainer.
Chavez himself seems to be making all the right noises ahead of the fight.
"I think that Duddy is a strong fighter. I have to prepare myself 100 percent and arrive prepared because if I fight as I have been fighting lately, how I fought in my last fight, I run the risk of John Duddy beating me,” he said.
Chavez, 24, may arrive in San Antonio in top-notch condition, but how much will ring rust be a factor?
The Mexican has not fought since November 14 (he is just coming off a six-month ban for testing positive for a diuretic after his last fight), and Duddy has fought three times since October 10, and three consecutive victories seem to have consigned the disappointment of his only professional loss to Billy Lyell on April 24, 2009 to the past.
Chavez’s inactivity could be a major advantage for Duddy. Fighters can train 24/7, but nothing equals the intensity of the real thing.
Top Rank have patiently groomed and put up with Chavez Jr. and his supposed sometimes less than professional approach to the game.
They have matched him against Duddy to see where his career lies and for the Irishman, it is a huge opportunity to go into the Lion’s Den and beat the fan favorite.
“I think I am going to surprise a lot of Mexicans and beat their kid and hopefully move on to better things,” Duddy says.
“I am looking forward to the intensity of having Chavez’s fans against me when I get down here, because I think that whenever I get finished, I will be converting a few to the Juan Duddy camp.”
The fight can be seen on “Latin Fury 15,” live on Top Rank pay-per-view.