Middleweight John Duddy (27-1) beat Michi Munoz (21-4) by unanimous decision at the WaMu Theater in Madison Square Garden Saturday night.
Duddy, in action for the first time since his first loss as a professional to Billy Lyell on April 24, looked a little ring rusty as he got to terms with the stocky Munoz in front of the noisy Irish fans in attendance.
After a close first round during which the Irishman got a bloody nose, Duddy began to set a pace that Munoz could not match, outworking his opponent over the eight rounds and not getting caught with as many shots as he has been in recent fights.
Duddy was using his reach and jab to control proceedings, and bar a flurry in the fourth from Munoz when he caught Duddy with three or four clean shots, was in control.
In the seventh round Duddy let his hands go and caught Munoz, who was tiring at this stage, on several occasions with fast combinations that highlighted his dominance.
In the last stanza the two fought toe to toe in the middle of the ring to give the crowd some last-minute excitement, but when the final bell rang there was no doubt whose hand would be raised in victory.
All three judges gave the decision to the Irishman, Larry Hazzard and Ron McNair scored it 79-73 and Dick Flaherty gave the shut out to Duddy, 80-72.
After the fight Duddy was asked how it felt to be back with trainer Harry Keitt and he simply said: "it's the best decision I have made in my life."
When asked what the difference between this fight and his last was Duddy added:
"The time out done me a lot of good. I have had a lot in my head with getting married and what not, and I am just glad to get back. It's great to be back in the Garden and back in New York."
Duddy looked a relieved man when the final bell rang, and the 30-year-old could be heading to Mexico on December 19 to fight on a card in Cancun.
Duddy had to get past Munoz before any future assignments could be confirmed, but earlier this week Bob Arum of Top Rank promotions told IrishCentral what he had in mind for the Irishman - namely a 2010 fight with Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
"If Chavez gets by November 14th, the plan is for each of them to fight other opponents December 19th in Cancun, and then to fight back here in New York around St. Patrick's."